What to write, what to write…

I’m getting off a major case of writer’s block. That’s right, I mentioned my block yet again. If you’re playing the drinking game, take a sip. But anyway, one thing that kept that block going for so long is that I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to write. Well, here’s a secret for you. Come close, I’ll whisper it.

I still don’t know.

I know I want to write fiction. Speculative fiction, most likely fantasy (if I even attempted science fiction, I know science geeks would laugh at me). That’s all I’ve got right now. I’ve never had a strong direction with my art. Probably why I’ve done short stories for my entire career up to this point. Well, except for that one brief fling with a serial story.

How can I not know what I want to write? I blame my brain and all the things it finds fascinating. I imagine most people have minds like a shelf with a few knickknacks. The knickknacks are their interests, and they only have a few to show off, so it’s easier to focus on them.

I, on the other hand, am more like a box filled with random junk. When you shake me, different things rise to the top, and while the contents of the box remain the same, its insides are still altered.

I have many interests, and each can become primary at any time. I could really be into Star Trek at one point, and then a week later be all about Greek mythology. Can’t control it. My brain just shifts gears and I have to go along for the ride. I’m like a jack of all trades, except it’s really a brain of all trades. But remember the rest of the phrase: master of none.

(Which, according to Wikipedia, actually came later.)

Without a strong, lasting interest to focus on, it’s hard to think about long-term projects, and if I ever want to write novels, this is something I must do. So, considering this fact about myself, how do I decide what I want to write?

Write what I know? I don’t know crap. But really, this goes back to the many interests thing. Write what I read? I read a lot of different things, and I wouldn’t write well in some of the genres and subgenres I enjoy. As much as I’d like to claim to be able to write anything and everything, this is not so.

Maybe to figure out the what, I need to think about the why. Just why in the hell do I want to write? Why submit myself to this torture? The power? Fortune? Fame?

Nah, none of that. I’m not talking about the possible results of my writing. I’m talking about what drives the creative urge.

I think I know one non-answer. I don’t write to deal with my own issues or emotions. I’ve tried it, and it works okay, at best. It doesn’t inflame my writer’s passion. Maybe I’m just too good at analyzing my emotions without the need for fiction? Wait, what emotions am I talking about? I’m a freaking Vulcan. Ask my wife.

The primary answer, I think, is that I write to entertain. If you’re reading my stuff, I hope you’re having fun doing it. Even if it’s not something “fun,” I hope it entertains you.

Two other answers which apply:

  • I write to talk about themes that interest me. Heroism, perhaps, or justice.

  • I write to escape. This world sucks. Writing can let me get away from it once in a while.

I suppose I should ponder these three whys to get the answer to the question of what. I like to ponder.


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