Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Creative Struggle

Creating is a struggle. The creative muse is often described as inspiring but she is also often elusive and taunting. The artists struggle to put down on canvas, paper, or any particular medium is a serious one and it strikes DM's/GM's as well. For me the failure to communicate what I want to communicate or render can be crippling, the fear of using my skills poorly or perhaps discovering my skills can't meet my vision is as devastating as clinical depression (possibly related).

I have seen things in my mind's eye I have been unable to draw, or even properly describe with words alone. I have discovered emotional spaces while doing research and development  for a game project I didn't suspect were lurking there that have stopped me short and left me embarrassed for leaving the project still-born , cold, and incomplete.

RPG is still just a game and yet it is a channel for creativity bound up in a charade of competition and scaffolding of rules.  I get why some people think of RPG GMs as "story tellers" despite by criticism of the limiting nature of that model. For me RPG is a chance to enable others to tell stories, to share in someone else's creation and to create anew within that space someone else built for them. Building that space can be a surprising challenge when looking to make it something more .

The struggle in expressing that "something more" in a meaningful fashion is real and while similar to self-imposed artistic struggle it need not be a lonely one.  We folks that blog, G+, and visit forums to discuss and share gaming ideas are helping out each other in that struggle even if we don't realize it. I still worry and fret about my own creations (even my occasionally copious notebook style posts) that I am missing something and not communicating what I really mean to.

To everyone out there: Your struggle is real. Your struggle is unique. Your struggle need not be suffered in silence.


  1. Part of the fun of the creative process is seeing just what comes out the other side of "the attempt". Your creation will always fall short of your vision, but an experienced artist knows that the process of creation is the true joy. There are surprises lurking that will be both good and bad. Also, you are constantly (until the day you die) learning your "craft" or the tricks/skills of working in a particular medium. You are no more and no less than a craftsman pursuing the Great Work (in some small way) of humanity. Draw comfort when you recognize the care and effort of your peers and those whom have come before you.

  2. I know how the struggle feels. I'm sitting the pieces of a decade's worth of concepts and excerpts from unfinished stories, about 30 blog posts I started but never finished, and at least three unfinished settings.

    Now that I'm finally to push things out, my overriding goal is to make the best stuff I can. Now my best stuff might not always be good; in fact, it may be utter shit sometimes. But that's okay with me. Maybe someone will see my utter shit and manage to pluck a single idea that he ends up spinning into something great.