How do you restore faith once it’s been lost?
I don’t know about you, but I’m a writer who is full of self-doubt that only gets worse the older I get. Rather cynical for a girl of 24, but there it is.
I’ve known for almost two decades that I was going to be a writer. I’ve always known that I would have to be in a creative or artistic field; my brain isn’t suited for business or anything that deals with a lot of people. (Oddly enough, I can handle being a librarian, mostly because I love books so much. But that’s about the only “normal” job I can hold and not go crazy or totally mess up.) Writing is really my only talent. I know this. And yet, I still have doubts about becoming a successful writer.
When I was younger, I really didn’t have plan about how I was going to become a published author…but I didn’t feel I needed one. I knew what I could do, what I wanted to do, and all I had to do was do it. I didn’t have any doubts about my eventual success. And yet, now I believe that it’s highly unlikely that I will ever achieve publication of any kind. I don’t even know if I’m capable of finishing anything anymore. For at least six months, that thought has paralyzed me. My depression was in full swing and only getting worse. I’d managed to stem the tide with anime, but that wasn’t enough anymore. I was losing my writing, my faith in writing, and I didn’t know how to stop it.
It’s ironic that the three writers I look up to the most are also some of the most prolific. Mercedes Lackey has dozens upon dozens of novels. Many are collaborations, but many are not, and even collaborating takes a great deal of time and effort. Oddly enough, she started off as a writer of fanfiction and was a protegée of Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of the mistresses of sci-fi and fantasy. J. Michael Straczynski writes for 10 hours a day, every day, except on his birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s. He says, “If I don’t have an assignment, I’ll write a short story, I’ll write a spec script, I’ll write a novel. I just enjoy the hell out of it.” Out of the 110 episodes comprising Babylon 5, he wrote the scripts for 92 of them, plus all of the movies. Joss Whedon has created several cult classic television shows with some of the most unique and memorable mythologies and characters. He worked on Buffy, Angel, and Firefly as writer and director during the 2002-2003 television season, and said that he only feels his best when he’s writing:
“You know, I always get cranky when I’m not writing,” Joss admits. “I’ll be mad and I don’t know why. I just feel like I’m angry with everybody and I hate everything and life is a sham. Then I’ll realize I haven’t written anything. And rewriting doesn’t count. It has to be an original script” (Havens, 158).
These are the reasons I love to read and still love the older, archaic pulp fiction stories…and my primary motivations for reading at all. After watching Marvel’s The Avengers this weekend, and seeing all of the comic book characters coming to life on the silver screen recently, I thought this passage from the end of Richard A. Lupoff’s interesting book was rather apt:
Yeah, sorry guys, I’ve got nothing this week. My brain is not in a cooperative writing mood. I was toying with the idea of writing an entry about the wonders of the Mystery genre since I have been watching and reading a lot of detective stories lately. I’m into the fourth season of Castle and I just started Sherlock, a BBC adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s super sleuth that brings Sherlock and Watson into the present day. I’ll admit, I was rather leery of this “modernization” because it usually fails terribly. But somehow…this works. It’s a modern Sherlock Holmes that doesn’t lose the quirky awesomeness of the original, even adapting the original stories such as A Study in Scarlet in a modern fashion. And it works. I’m not sure how, but the level of detail and planning it must have taken is astounding. Benedict Cumberbatch is a wonderful Sherlock Holmes and I really like Martin Freeman as John Watson. The dynamics and chemistry between those two are amazing.
So. Yeah. Mystery. It’s good. Hard genre to pull off well. Go watch Sherlock. And Castle. Lots of Castle. And Nathan Fillion. Yum.