Inspiration and fear

No one has asked me about my inspirations for writing/blogging, but theoretically it is a question that someone could ask.

I think not many people know that I occasionally write write. That’s probably because (a) I historically haven’t done it very often and (b) I don’t talk to many people about it. My cohort did bring it up on Geek Gab, but that’s about the extent of any organizational dissemination.

I was just thinking about this because of a Twitter thread that wandered into my timeline this morning.

“Suckers – I’m not afraid of writing!” I thought glibly to myself at first. But putting aside the fact that I’m not sure I qualify as a real writer, I think actually this “fear” translates differently for different people.

When writing is literally your job and you’re living and eating off book or story sales, there must be some degree of anxiety. What if the Muse starts playing hard to get? What if I just can’t cut it? Well, guess I’m eating wood pulp.

For my part, and I suspect this isn’t an uncommon sentiment, I experience more of a periodic sense of minor hopelessness; especially since hitting gold with the older SFF authors. I read Howard, Vance, Burroughs, now Brackett, and I think to myself – how in the nine circles am I going to write anything even approaching as good as this?

The answer, I suspect, is by reading and writing. A lot. Well, becoming a big name Scientifiction writer has never been a serious life aspiration for me, so I’m not worrying too much about it. Maybe that’s another reason why I don’t “fear” in the same way as others.

Blogging has really been more of a passion, and a more immediately realizable ambition for me. I’ve name-dropped Cirsova’s blog and Jeffro enough times by now that if you’re a regular reader you should be familiar with them as two of my major influences.

(By the way – Jeffro’s Appendix N book is finally out in physical copy. Go have a look!)

Since before that, though, I’ve always appreciated writers who are both technically proficient and mechanically interesting to read. Tycho over at Penny Arcade is one such. He’s obviously a very intelligent individual filled with all kinds of book learnin’. And yet his voice is full of quirk and his writing often drips with a sort of eldritch tang. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but reading his posts makes me want to write.

There’s an old, dead blog called the Sneeze. The Internet has imbued its corpus with a sort of divine incorruptibility. But the guy who ran it – a certain Steve – he was another one who made me want to blog. It’s harder than it looks, being able to write both intelligently and conversationally without coming off as a fucking dunce.

I hope someday to master that skill.

-Bushi

bushi

 

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8 thoughts on “Inspiration and fear

  1. Writing on twitter? No prob.
    Blogging? I have to actually control myself so I don’t take over. Back when I was blogging solo, I put out enough content to keep up with several group blogs. I could probably still do several posts a day. Some would be crap, some would be good, but who cares? It’s just a blog.

    I do *want* to be a writer. I won’t ever depend on it to live, but I could end up depending on it to maintain a level of comfort.

    But more than that, I just *want* to be a writer. I want to leave my thoughts and ideas behind when I leave the earth. I want people I’ve never met to have heard of me, to respect my intellectual property. I want to write novels, and have a body of work.

    Yeah, that puts pressure on me. Most of the time, I thrive under pressure. It’s just that life being busy gives me excuses to let the pressure stop me, so I have to find ways to put pressure on myself to overcome the pressure of trying to succeed as a writer.

    I think I’m pretty much there, balanced on the knife edge, with the hounds of paralysis for opposite reasons on both sides, slavering for my fall.

    I also think getting some breakthrough (either selling a short story or finishing a novel) will be a breakthrough for me, the dismantling of the biggest obstacle in my way.

    Also, thanks for quoting me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get what you’re saying, but see – that’s where thought differs. “It’s just a blog” is all well and good, and I get that…blogs are a dime a dozen and the barriers to entry are low. But then again, how many stories and writers are out there and have there been throughout the ages? The cream rises to the top!

      Like

      1. What I mean is, there’s no pressure in writing for the blog. If I have a bad post, so what? There’s a new one coming along soon.
        But writing a story…lots of self-created pressure.

        Or maybe it’s just that a blog post isn’t much different than sitting down and talking to someone. I’m not worried about foreshadowing or developing a good denouement, or needing to be careful to neither telegraph the surprise twist nor let it be too unexpected.

        Would you say I don’t take blogging seriously enough? That might be true.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nope, I wouldn’t say that. And I wouldn’t say you take writing stories too seriously. However, it does all seem to be about mindset. Especially now in the day of indie publishing, you could say the same thing for writing a bad story – if you do, so what? At worst you’ve spent time on something that doesn’t sell. Of course there’s always the risk that someone will read it and pan it, but…with the amount of blog trolling that goes on around here, meh.

        You said it – self-created pressure. That’s a hurdle you have to overcome.

        Like

  2. “It’s harder than it looks, being able to write both intelligently and conversationally without coming off as a fucking dunce.”
    I don’t even bother trying ;-)

    But then, I don’t want to be an author, my blog is more than enough for me. I don’t want to change the world. I don’t want the world to know who I am or to remember me. I want a small group of people to acknowledge that I am easily in the 1% of book readers and that is it. My accolades would consist of “dude, that’s a lot of books you’ve read” and I’m set.

    So, since I didn’t see the answer, why DO you blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha…well, it’s a matter of taste, of course. There are lots of ways to be a “good” writer and no one preeminent style. I just really appreciate writers/bloggers who can simultaneously be conversation/easy to read *and* articulate/intelligent-sounding. It’s easy to get stuffy and pedantic or just incomprehensible when you’re trying to impress!

      And you know, I think there is certainly something to the blogging you do, so give yourself due credit. You’re chronicling the works of others! The best kinds of historical documents are often just people writing about mundane elements of their daily lives. How else are we to glimpse how things were? Maybe in 300 years if humanity is still thriving and not plunged deep into a regressive dark age, someone will read your blog to see what kinds of books were popular in the 2000’s.

      I guess I blog because I like to write and there are things I want to share and inform other people about. I also enjoy the social opportunities – to connect with other bloggers and commenters and build relationships.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm, I shall have to start thinking about the “Bookstooge Chronicles” now. Maybe throw in some thees and thou’s and maybe a couple of wherefores and verily’s, just to class it up :-D
        Seriously though, I hope things are wrapped up in the next 50 years. Of course, I’m sure the Christians in AD70 thought the same thing, so I’m tempering my hopes :-)

        And thanks for clarifying why you blog. Things like that help in the understanding and “may” temper some of the comments I might be otherwise tempted to leave ;-)

        Liked by 1 person

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