Category Archives: Writing

Why I had to Completely Rewrite my First Novel

My first foray into creative writing was through screenplays. I always loved movies and thought in moving images, so screenwriting came naturally to me. After about four years of writing roughly ten screenplays, I decided to try shifting to prose. I decided to adapt my best screenplay into a novel. I already had all the plot and characters and world-building done. It should have been easy, right?

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Philip K. Dick on the Loneliness of Being a Writer

In The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writing, PKD wrote about his struggles with loneliness during his career as an author. In the following quotes, he explains how writing and loneliness are and aren’t related.

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Writing with the Pomodoro Technique (For Productivity and Health)

Writing is not the hardest thing in the world to do, but the easiest thing to do is not write. A nice thing about being a writer is the freedom to set your own hours, but that freedom can also be a curse. It’s difficult to stay focused and avoid procrastination and distractions, especially today with the internet, when the tool you write with (a computer) is connected to all the information in the world, including email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, and other applications designed to waste time.

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Good Art and the Posthumous Success of H.P. Lovecraft

When writing fiction, you can either write for now or forever. To become a successful bestseller you need to appeal to the masses, and the masses are, by definition, average. That is average intelligence, average creativity, average originality, average in taste and interests, etcetera. The masses don’t like the most creative, innovative, transgressive, and artistic works of art—and they never will. There’s only ever a small subset of the population with refined enough taste to find and appreciate the diamonds in the rough and discover a truly creative artist—someone like H.P. Lovecraft—during their lifetime.

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Why Are so Many Creative People Anxious and/or Depressed?

Introducing Kafka by R. Crumb

Consciousness, or what makes humans human, is inherently tied to imagination. Imagination allows you to predict possible futures before they happen—be it what a predator such as a tiger will do (harm you), what a rock could turn into (a tool), or what a seed could become if you plant it (food). That type of future-thinking birthed agriculture and civilization, and it all stemmed from imagination—imagining what not yet is but could be. No other species can do that (that we know of).

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Kafka and the Starving Artist

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The Hunger Artist” is one of Franz Kafka’s most well-known short stories. It’s about a man who is a hunger artist—that is, he sits in a cage and fasts for upwards of forty days as crowds walk by to watch and admire his feat. The story is often viewed as an allegory, though interpretations vary. In my opinion, Kafka’s story of the hunger artist is a metaphor for Kafka’s own life as a “starving artist.”

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On Abandoned Drafts

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As a fiction writer I’ve developed the habit of starting first drafts of projects, particularly with short stories, then hitting a wall at some point in the middle, either from boredom or difficulty, then decide to pause and pursue another project. In most cases, I would not start a “new” project, but would go back to work on editing another story, as I have dozens of works in progress that need editing and rewriting. I’ve said in the past that I don’t enjoy rewriting because I find it boring and drudgery, but it’s also much easier and less cognitively intensive than writing a first draft, so it’s a nice respite after facing difficulty in the first draft on another project. Continue reading

Is a Work of Art Ever Finished?

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Whenever I re-read something I wrote, I always find things to edit and change, whether it’s actual mistakes or just rewording sentences to make them more clear and readable. Yet when I last left the work, I thought it was perfect—not actually perfect, as there’s no such thing as “perfect” in art, but as close to perfect as I could make it. However, every time I re-read anything I previously thought was perfect, I always find things to change. Why is that? Did I miss those things before? Or Is my idea of perfection changing? Continue reading

Solitude Inspires Creativity

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Solitude makes people more creative. When isolated from other humans, you become extremely bored. (This includes both in-person interaction and indirect forms of human communication, such as via the internet, watching television, or reading books.) When completely deprived of interaction with other people, you become so craved for some kind of stimulation that you’re forced to fill that need yourself—in your imagination. You create fictional characters and stories in your head to fulfill your innate need for stimulation and social interaction. Continue reading