I’ve read a number of books on how to write and on the creative process of writing and the one piece of advice I’ve kept with me is that you should cultivate the things that inspire you and avoid the things that demotivate you. The trick is identifying what inspires you and what has the opposite effect. For example, a badly written book can be a great inspiration because after reading it, you think “hey, I can write something ten times better then that.” But for me, I find myself becoming demotivated when I read reviews of roleplaying books and blogs of prominent roleplaying designers and writings. I feel I can’t reach their standards and so it discourages me from writing my own roleplaying game/book.
Last night I finished a large section of Lost Heroes RPG, but I started thinking: “whats the point? I can’t write as well as the guys behind XYZ or that blogger over at that online community”. I literally fell asleep beside the laptop then, my body and mind saying, enough is enough, stopping pushing yourself, you’ve got a cold, you’re tired, life sucks, kids are asleep, give up. But I had to rouse myself and get the kids bags ready for tomorrow. Oddly this activity is even more depressing, my mind wanders as I’m getting everything in order, as if my higher level functions are not really needed for the chore at hand so they are free to evaluate and drift among my memories and feelings and I find myself getting even more down about my writing.
I woke up this morning, physically worse than I went to bed. Nose is clogged up and running, my head is aching and I had to get up twice during the night to take care of the baby so I had a distrubed sleep. But at the back of my mind, I was working through some system-design aspects of Lost Heroes RPG, unrelated to the writing I finished last night. I was getting thoughts and ideas and spent much of my work morning, writing up notes, when I should have been coding.
I finished V for Vandetta last week for the first time. (Not as good as Watchman, but still excellent. I’m spooked by the futuristic vision of Britian that the English government are so deseperatly trying to make happen… like this “for your own protection”). There was an article at the back of the graphic novel by Alan Moore about his creative process for V for Vandetta and he described the experince of knowing that you have something but you need to get at it and work it to get there. Waking up with those thoughts about the system design of Lost Heroes RPG was exactly that, my subconsiousness saying, “hey, you got something here so get off your arse and finished it.” It’s not mind-blowing and my subconsiousness failed to convince that I have something amazing, but at least I’m going to keep working on it.
It seems to be a slow process and the current volume seems gigantic compared to previous revisions. Maybe I should start putting pieces of it up as I go though I had hoped to get someone to read over it before I put it online. The website is certainly sitting there, waiting to be setup.