The Trials & Tribulations of a Plagued Writer

I always thought, perhaps prematurely, that I wouldn’t have an issue with writer’s block. Maybe I tempted fate because now, despite having attempted about 6 different short stories and written the beginnings of 4 different novels, as well as dabbling in other genres, which would actually push the number to around 7 different novels, and mapping three separate high fantasy worlds, I have had zero luck in finding a story or character to sink my teeth into.

My confidence is at an all time low. I never really intended this blog to become the showcase of a writer’s emotional descent, but I fear I might have little else to talk about for the foreseeable future. I’m still plugging away, still looking into different ideas and different characters, but so far I have enjoyed minimal success.

It seems wherever I look, I find something that inevitably leads to me doubting my abilities, which is ludicrous, really, because I’m a good writer. I find myself struggling to come to terms with the ideas I conjure up. Nothing is ever good enough, nor original enough, nor profound enough for what I always hoped to achieve.

Whether I’m reading R. Scott Bakker’s blog on Goodreads or random interviews with Patrick Rothfuss, I find that their level of insight into the nature of fantasy, into the very substance of what it means to be a writer of second-world fiction, that I am decidedly lacking. I know I’m asking too much of myself. Comparing myself to others is also a big, bad mistake, but no matter how hard I try to focus on my strengths, it keeps coming back to those myriad weaknesses that I cannot best. 

All in all though, to the crux and point of the post, these feelings of inadequacy are not unique to me. Nor are they alien. Every writer, I am sure, has feelings like this. I aspire towards a single moment where I can feel about my story the way Patrick Rothfuss did about parts of his Name of the Wind; yes, parts need re-working, some parts are bad, but other parts are brilliant, perfect even. I would consider that a distinct measure of success in my own heart.

I suppose the morale of the tale is this; as I must continue to press on, to find a way to dig myself out of this hole and somehow scale the wall atop it, so must we all if we want to make a success out of our desire to tell stories. 

So much knowledge springs from doubt; doubt in a theory, in a belief, in oneself, in your ability to tell a story, to climb a mountain, to run a marathon, only through doubt can we discover we have what it takes, only through doubt can we discover the answers. Here’s to doubt.