Skip to content

The Silence of the Solitary Writer

  • by
A person alone in a dying forest holding a weak light.

I’m not planning on posting links to this anywhere, and if you are here–on this site–and see this, know that there’s not much here other than lamentation and justification.

Why am I writing this? Posting this here? To vent. I can shout into the void and feel the relief of having shouted without offending anyone’s ears. Will someone read this? Maybe. But I’m betting not too many someones.

Because the flow has ended. The story has stopped. There are no new chapters and no new content. That’s all you need to know.

If you are desperate to know why, it’s the lack of feedback. The lack of interest. The lack of motivation.

Except for those few people I have engaged in seeking editorial assistance with my writing, I haven’t heard anything from anyone that has read anything I have posted here. That’s fine, I didn’t ask for payment or praise, but it just amplifies the effect of the second factor.

I get numbers on traffic for my sites, and those are not impressive. They never were great, but back when I publishing regularly and co-hosted a relatively popular podcast (Accidental Survivors regularly had 80 to 100 downloads in its first week, which–to me–were good numbers), traffic to the sight was steady if not massive. I’ve been more often silent than prolific, and I have never been good at marketing myself. A few Tweets on that dying platform. Half-hearted engagement attempts on Mastodon, on which I am not prolific. A single mention on Facebook on which I am otherwise silent.

And so I am unmotivated. I am still working on a re-write of the first novel in the Cyclops Banner series and have begun on the second one–which is plotted out–but the internal drive, the drive that does not depend on outside influence, is a drive based on the need to be creative, and I have slaked that thirst.

Running RPGs has given me a creative outlet, and I have a game with incredibly insightful and invested players that provide drama better than anything I could dream up. The challenge of maintaining that fiction, of giving them the context in which their characters can thrive is incredibly satisfying. It is also providing me the creative outlet that writing used to. GMing has always provided me with satisfaction, but as I get older, and has my accomplishments and achievements outside of the creative genre pile up, I am less driven.

I am incredibly privileged. I have everything I need and most of the things I want. Those things I don’t have that I want are material items, and I don’t need those. Nor am I saddened by their absence. Do I want a nicer home, a newer car, a better TV and sound system? Yup. Do I lay awake at night thinking of these, or feel stress or anger that I do not have them? Nope. A little envy when I see what others have, but then I think about what I would need to sacrifice to get them, and I am satisfied.

And that is also part of the motivation problem. I am satisfied. Would I like to publish more? Sure, but only if there is an audience for it. The main motivation for fiction writing right now is validation, and that is one of those things I want but do not need. I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve stopped pushing. I have what I need, much of what I want, and I’m sitting back and enjoying it.

I’ll continue to write. I’ll continue to create. But I won’t feel guilty if I don’t produce a couple of chapter over a weekend, or if I spend a Saturday morning watching TV or playing a computer game.

Maybe I’ll still feel a little guilty–I was raised Scots Presbyterian–but here’s my justification, and I think it’s a good one.