Rambling onward

[originally an e-mail to the GemmellFantasy list – I really should stop using them as a shoulder]

Yes, yes, if I annoy you, time to press the delete button. [Which is what that reference is about]

Some people are challenged by the success of others (‘ha! I can do that. ha! I can do better than that’). Others are daunted by it (‘oh my! I’ll never be that good’).

Does this have something to do with how competitive we are? Why are people more or less competitive? Are you more competitive if you grew up as part of a large family or with siblings of a similar age? Are you less competitive as an only child, or with much older/younger siblings?

Is competitiveness something you learn or something you inherit? [I know, I know, too much in that one question].

But competitiveness isn’t the only bit. Take writing. You could look at all the excellent books and take it as a challenge, and give it a go yourself. You could just love writing and be unaffected by the books around you. You could look at all the excellent work and think, jeeze, I’ll never be that good, so why should I even try. i.e. some people don’t feel the need to compete, while others do, but decide they will fail in advance [self-fulfilment?]

You might have spotted a theme here, with a previous rambling about writing or not writing. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve decided that there are a number of reasons why people might not pick up the pen an give it a go, and a number of reasons why I don’t or haven’t.

Am I looking at it too hard? Should I just accept that since I haven’t tried, it must be something I don’t want to try, or should I wonder about why I haven’t yet tried, and ignoring that, just get on with giving it a go?

I’d like to ask anyone still reading, who has written anything of a reasonable length, did you sit down and try writing, or did you have the spark of an idea and end up writing it out? Did you sit and idly speculate on what you would write about?

I’ve tried that – it feels false. I was lying last night in bed, awake, wondering what I could write about if I started writing. Thinking up scenarios and then dumping them, sometimes comparing them to already written works, sometimes because they felt contrived or false. Is the falseness a result of the method, does good writing only come from a spark of inspiration?

Is it actually possible to sit and think about an idea for a book and then just sit down and get on with it – oh it might be terrible, I’m sure the first few times it will be – but is it possible?

I’m not sure. I’ve certainly been thinking about it. I’ve also had to weigh in other factors, like being scared of success, and being comfortable in failure, which always play a part in stuff.

When I rambled last, I said seize the now, but I’m wondering, can you sit and contemplate stuff and then seize the result, or do you really have to wait for a spark to ignite before you can grab it with both hands?