Here’s a four-part interview with Joss Whedon about his upcoming launch of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Season 8 in comic book format. Very cool. PBW also has an interesting post about the importance of diversifying, writing in different genres. Career survival.
One of things I said at the library Q&A in Ohio is that I get bored easily. Or rather, there’s an intellectual nomad inside me, and it likes to range wild into all those undiscovered countries that exist just beyond that gleaming storyteller’s horizon. Put me on a fast horse and get out of my way, because there are places to visit, things to do, people to see! Which isn’t to say that I don’t know how to stick with something—because I do. I’m no quitter. I take all those other series and stories with me. But it’s good to keep pushing oneself, if you are so inclined. And not just for reasons of keeping your career afloat and healthy. It’s just more fun that way.
But it goes deeper than that. There’s something my mom used to say when I was little and inclined to whine about being bored: “Only stupid people get bored, and you’re not stupid. Figure something out.”
My mom has given me a lot of wonderful advice in my life, but that statement has made me jump more times than I can count—and the blunt value of it cannot be overrated. Because boredom takes a lot of different forms, whether it’s boredom with a moment, a life, an individual, a particular action—and the only person who can lift you out of that funk is you. Don’t look to others for help. You have to learn how to entertain yourself. The answer to revitalizing your life is with you.
As a writer, when I begin to feel that itch of stagnation, whether in a story or in my life, I sit down and figure it out. I revitalize. I lift. I write a new kind of story or find the answers for one I’m having trouble with. I don’t search out others for help (with some notable exceptions), because when it comes down to it, the work of a writer comes from within, and whether you like it or not, you have to be that lone rider on your wild little mustang, charging for the hills. Folks talk about support groups and critique groups and little author mafias of like-minded individuals, and while it’s good to have people to talk to when you need to bounce ideas, or proofread, or even just commiserate, there’s a danger in relying too much on other people, on the thoughts of others, in what you do, what you write, even how you feel about your career.
Granted, I’ve never been a team player or much of a collaborator—and I don’t often trust that what I write is worth a handful of dirt and spit—but being a writer means that, ultimately, you are a party of one. If you want to change genres, if you’ve got a great idea, don’t be afraid. Don’t listen to naysayers who say that “foreign locales don’t sell” or “werewolves are so totally yesterday” or that any idea is too wild, too boring, or too…whatever. Good stories prove themselves. If you’re “bored” with what you’re doing, figure something out. Don’t be stupid. Just do it. Make your life. Ride your horse into a new horizon.