Lately I’ve been feeling a bit of creative fatigue.  This isn’t the same as writer’s block.  I want to do something creative/productive.  I want to finish my outline for Jasper’s Fall.  I want to get back to finishing my edits on Jasper City.  Hell, I even want to take my online class.  But whenever I try my mind draws a blank and I wind up wasting time on social networks.  And lately even Facebook and Twitter give me the same feelings.

I want to blame the stress at work for this.  Office jobs are surprisingly draining, and the morale there has become so tense in recent times that often when I get home all I want to do is curl up in my bed and not see anyone for a few hours, or go on an extended walk.  But I know I can’t blame everything on them.

I’m hoping that the weekend will give me some much-needed rest so I can get back to work on the things I want to do.  It’s already starting to help.

This post on the Office of Letters and Light’s blog made me think about the kind of direction this series is going.  As I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Jasper City started out with a simple idea of playing with the hero and villain dynamic.  I wanted to build up one character as a shining hero and set him against an enemy who would be easily identifiable as the villain and the scum of the earth.  I wanted the reader to cheer for the hero as he overcame obstacles and rose out of the hole his enemy threw him in along with other innocent victims.  That was supposed to change at the very end, when the hero revealed the final phase of his plan and did something so horrible that the reader would realize he was cheering for the wrong character all along.  It was an ambitious idea, but something I was willing to tackle.

I kicked the idea around in my head for much of 2011.  At the time, I was listening to Year Zero on repeat as I tend to do for most of the albums I recently purchase.  The ideas in that album gave me some ideas for the plot, and introduced religion (or the corruption thereof.)  I took more inspiration from the culture of North Korea, more specifically the idea of isolationism, when I read the journal of one American tourist who had the fortune of going there.

My ideas for the plot kept changing even as I wrote the first draft.  One major change was when I decided to add robots to the story.  The other was a twist ending that I’m not prepared to reveal.

I started out with the idea for one novel, and it has since grown into a longer series surrounding a post-apocalyptic attempt at civilization that ultimately collapses upon itself.  But that’s just one story.  After reading that blog post I took a look at what I was writing before the Jasper series and my interests were all over the map.  I wrote a crime drama, two soft-sci fi novels (one about a relatively nonviolent robot takeover, the other about space), a speculative fiction novel about a civilization of humans on another planet, a scifi graphic novel with iron-based aliens, human hibernation, and resettling an abandoned Earth, a comic strip about a restaurant kitchen, and scattered short stories.  In recent times I’m becoming a lot more settled, and willing to work on one project and see it through to its completion.  I think this is a good thing.

How has your writing changed over the years?

4 thoughts on “Burnout

  1. Good post, Kay. It's very easy to waste time on the internet instead of working on your creative writing. Blog posts, messages, emails, comments, it all goes to connecting to people with writing, and we get high from that communication. The important thing is to get one's priorities in order and then act accordingly.

    How has my writing changed over the years?

    In primary school I wrote about Aliens and Dinosaurs. In high school I wrote murder mystery / slashers. They became closer to reality the further I went. I had a fantasy tangent for a while, but I've decided to situate myself in the horror genre and not deviate from that.

    My general rule is to take what people like about my stories, and expand and better that on the next story 🙂

  2. Exactly what Shane said: it's so easy to waste time on the net, we have to stop ourselves and concentrate on what's important–our WIP! 🙂

    I sympathize with your work burnout. I work in a school, and apart from teaching I do all the office tasks, so I know exactly how draining it is. Add to that the fact that I have 93 students in my university courses and AAAAAAAHHH!!!

    How has my writing changed?

    I've become more serious about it. I used to write too much purple prose (back when I didn't even know what purple prose was!), and I was too quirky even for my own good.

    I guess I've learned technique. My stories are still crazy, haha!

    Serving Time began as a short story about two brothers who raided derelict spaceships and ran from the law. How that short story blew into a sci-fantasy series about the meaning of life and the effect our past lives have on the present… WHEW!

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