I’m sure that in your years as a living, breathing human being on planet earth you’d have many a time heard sayings along the lines of “nobody can do it alone” and “everyone needs someone” and so forth. Typically though some people (like myself) can identify as lone wolves, stubbornly tackling problems solo because they believe themselves capable and are determined enough to learn and overcome challenges no matter what. However in matters of the arts that can only get you so far, and in reality you truly do need what other human beings call support if you are to thrive.
Honesty is a strange thing in the sense that it’s often far less difficult to practice it with others than yourself. Being truthful is a good quality, there’s no doubt about that, but I would argue that the ability to be self-honest is a great one. I’m of the belief (however idealistic) that true progress in both your ability and personal growth should be grounded in this trait, rather than excuses or cushioning words to soften harsh truths. Reality needs to be faced, and not sent away into a dark corner because it’s not pretty to look at.
Writer’s block is pretty much something everyone has heard about, and every writer at some point has thought that they had. Many a debate has surfaced over whether it’s even real, or just a branded name for an affliction that arises purely from external causes. While I don’t think a debate of that sort is of paramount importance, I certainly believe that like any slump there are usually active causes and active solutions, with the key being that I don’t believe it just magically comes and goes. If you are suffering from a creative slump, which any writer or artist surely does at some point, then it is important to identify probable causes and thus work towards necessary solutions, depending on your unique situation.
We all know that hindsight is a perfect science. But more than that the first time you do anything usually comes with a certain level of reservation, self-doubt or a general lack of full expression, particularly when what you’re doing is creatively inclined. I feel since it’s been some five months since I published my self-published book, and a lot longer since I actually completed writing it, it’s a good time to talk about my thoughts about it in retrospect, and what I have in mind going forward with my second novel, The Black Glass Killer. This isn’t a revisit of the topic I already covered regarding the six months rule of progressing in writing, but rather an honest assessment of my first novel months and months after having written and subsequently published it. After all, I like to believe that I am self-critical and set high standards for myself.
We live in a world that is ripe with hostility, especially when it comes to dealing with different opinions. At least that’s what the internet will have you believe. Don’t get me wrong I love a good debate, even a heated one, because sometimes passion for the subject matter overrules calm and collected banter. And it’s more exciting. But sometimes people do it wrong, and eventually someone gets tired enough of something they love getting criticised that they throw out the clichéd argument of “let’s see you do better if you’re so quick to criticise.” This sadly is a stupid argument.
A number of years ago my brother showed me this one quote. I can’t remember who said it or where it came from, but I never quite forgot the words. It was basically saying that an author only knows they made progress when they look back at what they wrote six months ago and sees how shit it is. Excuse the swear word, but I was trying to quote as closely as possible. At first I always found it quite funny, but once I took up writing more seriously I found that it couldn’t be closer to the truth if it whacked it with a baseball bat. But first, let’s backtrack a little bit.
I started thinking about this topic recently when discussing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with my EGMR friends. If you’re wondering how on earth an unreleased movie could relate to plot holes, let me just say that it’s almost inevitable when talking about the new Spider-Man movies to make a few quips about how bad the infamous Spider-Man 3 was, and naturally when talking about my gripes with it I referred to one of its big plot holes and some of its idea recycling.