Thursday, September 25, 2008


Originality: the ability to think creatively and depart from traditional or previous forms.

Sounds simple don't it?

While people talk about the various forms of writer's block that one can experience, it seems to me that there's one that's been overlooked. Neglected. Seldom seen. Or perhaps its one that has never been thought of, yet people can and do (like myself) suffer from it.

Lack of originality.

If you're involved with the written word, either seriously or semi-seriously, no matter what the format may be (short story, long story, novel, blogging), you can hit this kind of writer's block. I'm currently in the midst of modest sized bout of my writing suffering from lack of originality.

Now I bet you're saying to yourself: Dude, you're doing a blog, oozing with creative freshness. How can you possibly say that about yourself?

Scratch that. What you're really saying is this: WTF are you talking about?

Yeah, I know the blog is simply bursting at the seams with creative writing. However, think about this point: If you compare my posts up until I went on vacation in mid-August with those after I came back, what do you see that separates both phases? That's right, pictures. No offense to anyone out there who posts pictures on their blogs, because usually its preceded or followed with well written text as accompaniment. Me? I throw pictures up when I can't think of single thing to write about.

And if you think that this is simply a single shot rifle problem, think again. It's a serious double barrelled shotgun size problem.

I haven't written any original, short story-wise, since about this time last year, when I wrote a story called "Cedar Mountain". One calendar year since writing an original short story is quite pathetic. I've fared a little better with the second novel I'm writing. The last original thing I wrote on that was around June/July of this year. And that was after putting it away for six months while I concentrated on some last minute editing of my first novel and going through the process of self-publishing it.

So what am I writing now? I'm rewriting a short story from last year, so that I can make it into a viable chapbook for my next publishing adventure (sensing a pattern here?). This story is the basis for my second novel. Problem with the second one now is, besides writing several original chapters for it, I'm currently stuck because I'm now up to where the original short story actually starts.

Truthfully, my original writing output is this blog. Not writing short stories, not even writing long stories. Nada. Zip. Zilch. A big fat goose egg. Right now, I'm like the android Norman in that old Star Trek episode (paraphrasing here, so don't yell at me for it):

Spock: Norman, remember that every thing that he says (pointing to Harry Mudd) is a lie.
Harry Mudd: I lie.

End result is that Norman's brain double shifts and blows out the engine, rendering him non compos mentis.

So have that chuckle you been holding back, thinking that this guy wrote a genuinely funny post. Because if you take a look at the tag, it says "Writing" and nothing else.

Trying to be original and creative can be a bitch. If it sounds like I'm moaning and groaning about my lack of writing, maybe I am a little. Because I'm such a damn perfectionist in no matter what I do, that nugget of self doubt has grown to about the size of a grapefruit, with no real end in sight.

The only way I can knock it back down to size, is to start writing something original again. Doesn't matter if its a short story, or even more chapters to my next novel, it has to be original.

After all, isn't that how you're suppose to win the game?


  1. crap does that mean no more azalea? I love that story! I mean i understand completely. And maybe you'll come back to it again?

  2. Creativity and originality come in cycles for me. Just when I think it is gone forever it seems to resurface and my writing takes off again.

  3. Oh my goodness, I know what your talking about!! That book I am writing really tries to walk the line between "been done" and "fresh look". I keep having to real my lazy characters back over to the fresh side. I think editing is going take a lot of removing and replacing chapters. *sigh* I just hope my Beta readers can give me some honest opinions on the "seen it" take.

    Great post (loved the Star Trek flash back).

  4. @crseum: yes there wil be plenty of Azalea and Walter. When I decided to tweak the blog, one of the changes was to post the story only once a week. I used to post a page every other day, but I belated realized I was running through my stories much to quickly for my liking.

    @travis: definitely understand cycles. I seem to be stuck on the downhill right now. however on the bright side, I am able to come up with some original parts for my rewrite, so that it can flow a little better.

    @terra: what I started to doing with my second novel is that because I'm writing two distinctly different plot lines, I have seperate chapter listings (plot 1 & plot 2), so that when I'm finished with both, I'll be able to match up the chapters so that the plots will merge smoothly at the end. Glad you liked the Star Trek reference, it was the only one I could think of that everyone would get.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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