Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Da Funk

Fellow YAAYNHOian Christine Marciniak recently wrote about loss of muse. I do not knit but I do drink wine and it really hasn't helped. (Sorry Christine!) I have been in a creative funk of late and have been battling to get out. I have tons of ideas, partially started projects, one project that is 98% done. Even reading I cannot focus or stay interested. I  have started a half dozen books and cannot stay excited about any of them.

I just came back from an amazing vacation in the Mediterranean and I had a blast taking photos. It was a fresh creative outlet for me and I ended up with some (if I do say so) stunning shots. I have always enjoyed taking photos and have always treated it as a hobby rather than a career possibility. Writing has  been the art I have always struggled with as trying to be successful artist.

Book 2 of my middle grade fantasy series THE ADVENTURES OF RUPERT STARBRIGHT was just published and sales are, well, ehhhh. Book 1 had better sales and I am trying to boost Book 2 to at least those who enjoyed Book 1. I have Book 3 98% complete but I am not sure I like it. It is hard and frustrating and I think a lack of reward for hard work can take its toll of your motivation to continue.

In my case, I must create. Its my most important nutritional need. I tend to get depressed and unfocused between projects. I recently had an article published in OUR USA Magazine about growing up in a crazy neighborhood in NYC. It has motivated me to get back to one of my unfinished projects: a book filled with the stories of my colorful youth. Trouble is, I have a dozen other ideas poking and prodding me for attention. Also - those dangerous doubts taunt me:

"It won't sell!" "Who is gonna care?" "Make another film!" "Write that guaranteed best seller instead!"

All utter BS. I know. I need to focus. I am enjoying the nostalgic and humorous romp down memory lane. I really need to finish this book no matter what becomes of it. Having these stories - about a lost time and place - has its own intrinsic value. Monetary value? Who knows? One should never write for money. I know. I know.

We live in a time when everybody thinks they are a pro. I blame technology to a large degree. Movie making has become cheap and easy so we get tons of crap films clogging the airwaves and these newbies thing it is all genius. We get dance shows on TV and now every teen wants to be a "celebrity dancer" without the struggle or sweat or failure. Music makers, photographers (who think Instagram makes you a great picture taker) and bloggers have so saturated the world with product it has impacted those who have real talent, who have struggled and worked hard. Maybe this is good?

The cream used to always rise to the top. Not sure if that is the case anymore. The top is now separated out from the "masses" and they are the established names that made their way to the top just prior to the explosion that has hit the internet. So we get stale product on TV and in the movies and Itunes because fresh talent is drowning down below. Few new ideas are invested in or even given a shot.

But I will battle on. What choice do I have? If your were born to create- you create. And once in a while bitch about the struggle. Hey- I earned that right.

Mike is the author of three novels: MILKY WAY MARMALADE, THE DOOR TO FAR-MYST and THE SECRET OF FAR-MYST. He is also a filmmaker and his last feature is called TRIPTOSANE.


  1. Well 2nd books in series do have a slower start, but slow and steady wins the race. And maybe the disappointment of book 2 sales is staggering your enthusiasm for book 3. Take time to remember why you write, that you love it. Get inspired by joining a critique group, beta reading others stuff, or going to some of the twitter chats for writers like #writersroad #litchat #yalitchat #storycraft to name a few.

  2. Thanks for suggestions, LM!

  3. I think that in a little bit, the trip to the Mediterranean will finish infiltrating every last strand of DNA and renew all of your writing muscles and nerves. Then we'll all stand back and watch your creativity explode!