I love identifying paradoxes. Especially in science fiction, sooo much fun. I mean come on, admit, you love it too. In a society filled with contradiction, I’m surrounded by so much material, I’m never bored. The most fascinating paradox to gain my attention however is all internal. The hard part is expressing it and previous posts have shown many attempts to do so. Some have been partially successful, but until today I haven’t been able to pull it off with enough pizzazz to satisfy me.
However, I can’t claim credit for these two perfect explanations of the paradox of a writer. The internal conflict that I believe most (perhaps all) writers have to work with, that makes it possible for us to craft, create, and torment out stories to entertain readers in the past, present and in the far future. I found it in two places which I want to share.
The first comes from Chuck Wendig. I follow his blog, terribleminds, and he’s a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s on the crass side and completely unapologetic about it. He’s blunt, rude, and frank. In some ways I love it and in others I shake my head. I got a bit behind in reading his posts, but managed to catch up recently. I would absolutely suggest any writer to read his blog because his style is so engaging that you can’t help but feel like he’s talking to you. But then that’s my opinion.
Yesterday, he made a blog post titled: An Email About Writing, and My Response
The jist is this, a young man is wanting to write a novel, but he’s trying to be smart about it. He wants to take the road with the least resistance. (Does that exist? Why didn’t someone tell us that????) He’s seeking advice from Chuck. Reading the e-mail made me pause because we’ve been there, writers I mean, because at least once (a day) we wish it was easier. We waiver, “feel lost and scared”, must as this guy clearly admits to Chuck. Writing is lonely and we seek out our own ilk in the hope of finding out that we’re not alone in this. It helps – a little – but not by much.
Still, Chuck’s response hit harder for me and I highly suggest reading it, but I’m going to share one particular part that really nailed it for me:
“Be excited. Love writing. No reason to do this thing if you don’t love it. Don’t just love the result. Love the process. Even when you hate the process.
Learn why satisfaction is more important than happiness. Why long-term bliss means more than short-term dopamine release.
Tell stories about characters, not about plots.
Tell stories about you that nobody knows are really about you.”
Excuse me for a moment as I get that small shake you get when a ghost walks over your grave. Dude! Get out of my head would ya! He had me at love the process even when you hate the process. I wanted to jump up and down screaming “That’s it, that’s it right there. A writer’s paradox, in plain English.” If I could, I’d kiss the man! Writer’s love and hate being a writer. No joke, dare any of you to tell me differently. Talked to a ton of us about this and while they may not verbally say it, they know it.
I have a particular saying. I love writing, but sometimes I don’t like it very much.
This leads me to the second article I found that sums us up rather nicely I think. This is a wide net to include all creative types, and I found it to be especially significant because I’m both a writer and an artist so I get a double whammy. It’s titled: 10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People
I won’t type the whole list as that defeats the point, but read it and see how many you fit into. You’re eyes will probably bulge out of your head in surprise, mine did. I seem to have 8 out of 10 character traits as far as I can tell, I probably need my husband to confirm this (and will probably find out I have all ten if I did so I don’t know if I have the courage to ask).
Creativity is a fickle mistress, really. She requires a lot from those who find themselves bound to her and their personalities must be as fickle and paradoxical as she is. The very contradiction is what makes it work, or so I believe. It may be a bit out there, and I will certainly admit that it has a type of metaphysic flare to it when worded that way, but the point still stands in my opinion.
Quantifying writers will never be easy and in the long run, probably a waste of time. Yet, I believe it’s worthy of an attempt. Thanks to these articles, it’s a bit easier to do, or at least explain to others. At the very least, by understanding the why of what we do, perhaps we can chase away the feelings of being lost and scared as we travel our route through our RPG journey to publishing history of fame and glory as world renowned writers with a bit of peace.