The Fear

It’s tough writing. At least for me it is. When I sit down and apply myself the words flow onto a page with ease. Getting to that point, well, there is always some resistance. Lacking productivity is one of causes of this resistance. At the end of some days, I am just too burned out to write. Productivity is a subject for another day, though.

Fear is the main reason which prevents me to write when I feel like I have a good idea. Some days my mind is just working against me. Fear that whatever I am about to write has been written before. No, this is not a moment of déjà vu. It’s about your brain.

Ernest Hemingway, 1944. I don’t even like the guy — have you read The Old Man and the Sea? I just like this picture.

Mark Twain once said, “There is no such thing as a new idea…” This is true. We consciously or unconsciously insert ideas into stories that we are writing.

It’s been known for awhile that A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) was loosely based on the War of the Roses. The Lord of the Rings was loosely based on World War I. One of my Anthropology professors had a journal of a Welsh soldier who served with J. R. R. Tolkien. The soldier said that Tolkien would always be telling fantastic and weird stories whenever they weren’t fighting.

Those are more than likely conscious choices. I have never read A Song of Ice and Fire or The Lord of the Rings. I have only seen there visual adaptations. I have never been a fan of obsessively long books. I don’t like being long winded when writing. I am a firm believer that you can get across ideas and concepts with fewer words. This is what has turned me off from reading these series.

My background is in Anthropology and English Literature. The small moments in literature, movies, and television series always stand out to me.

Like the horse sacrifice, involving Khal Drogo and Daenerys in A Song of Ice and Fire. It is oddly reminiscent to an ancient Vedic ritual. In the Vedic one, it is used to usher in or transfer power to a new ruler. It even goes a step further, which I am going to omit. This may have been something George R. R. Martin had read about and forgot he knew. Then again it could have been entirely intentional.

Then there is structure. Fantasy stories and even video games (ex. Bioware games) normally following a generic path. This is nothing new. This narrative structure was used in the Odyssey by Homer. It’s called the hero’s journey. Go read Joseph Campbell if you are bored — or don’t. I sort of hate myself for reading Campbell since it basically boils everything down to a simple narrative formula.

In the back of my head there is this constant notion repeating itself, “It’s been done before. So why bother?”

Here is what I think and why I continue to write on the “good days.” When we write we repackage and morph old ideas. That’s fine. We want to freshen them up and make them “new” again. The ideas in my stories, even though they may be based on something from the past, are inherently mine. That is because each writer is different. Their influences and background are what make their story unique. You can make ideas different enough that they seem new. Some of my favorite writers would do this (ex. Jack Kerouac and H.P. Lovecraft.)

Writing here (on Medium) is sort of a writing exercise for me. It’s here to help me break this resistance down whenever I get the urge to write. Maybe my thoughts and musings will be helpful to others, too.

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