Fighting Creative Inertia
It's been a while since my last post and I haven't really had a lot to show for it, writing wise. Something I think that has contributed has been the fact that I keep setting myself these lofty goals and high expectations that at the end of the day I don't think I can live up to as a writer, at least not yet. Call it imposter syndrome, call it the fraud police, call it depression, whatever. The point is that I keep getting these really high hopes for my projects, and then either they don't live up to my unreasonable expectations or I becomes too scared that I'm gonna fuck it all up. But maybe all I really need is some time and distance, to come back to a project with fresh eyes.
Take, for example, my shared writing universe. I never really gave it a chance. I tried promoting it, tried getting people interested in the idea, but it never went anywhere. I didn't even finish the first story. I think, though that there was some true merit to the idea. the premise was certainly interesting: here's a dungeon inhabited by the things we typically think of as “monsters” in an RPG setting. What are their lives like? I thought there wasa good amount of interest in the idea. But no one wanted to write it with me, so I gave up. Which was a bad idea. I should've continued to try on my own. So that's what I'm going to do.
I've modified the idea a little bit from the original, of course. There is no longer a fallen dwarven city, and it is not going to have some massive arc about an ancient evil that drove the dwarves out. Instead, this is simply going to be the trails and tribulations of kobolds, undead, and maybe a dragon, in a massive undercity dungeon, as they lead lives that in some strange way echo the lives of those on the surface. Fantasy slice-of-life, from the monster's point of view. Which has been done, but so has everything at this point.
What I really need is something silly and fun that I can write for the pure enjoyment of it, and worry about making my “magnum opus” at a later date. I keep getting caught up in the narrative of “great writers” making their “great work,” and I need to take a step back and realize that there's a reason people push for that: elitism. The idea that creative types are somehow superior, that art can be ranked, that great artists are only appreciated after their time, and all those other cliches that add up to a tall mound of bullshit for the rest of us to climb if we want to be remembered.
Creating art for the sake of creating something great is one thing. Creating art for the sake of art is another. I want to create art to have fun doing it.