The Limitations of Words

Everywhere I turn I am faced with my own inadequacy. I don’t particularly let this get me down, as I take joy from the mere act of creation, insomuch as a human can: I enjoy writing, putting my words down on paper, dreaming my dreams and communicating them. But I live immersed in webcomics and anime, mediums that communicate far better than I can hope to do, and I know that those mediums are unattainable for me.

Scene description continues to elude me. Either I feel like I am writing too little, and so the picture in my head completely fails to translate itself to the page and hence to others, or I write too much and it comes across as pompous, overdone, and/or convoluted. The slight cant of a smiling eye, a quizzical squint, or a frowning mouth seems so easy for artists to accomplish, communicating in a second a range of emotions that are somewhat beyond me. Especially in anime, where tone of voice comes in as well… I cannot appeal to either visual or auditory senses, merely to imagination.

I recognize that there are methods to do this, and I am studying and employing those methods. I have not lost hope. But when I am watching anime, I am studying their writing, their dialogue, their character development and interaction, their heroes and villains… I want to know what makes it successful, and how I can translate that into pure written words. I have read a great deal, several thousands of books, looking for these same things.

Now what I really need is practice. To write and write and write, to hone my skills, to train and develop those muscles. It’s just hard to get going.

But similar to any exercise, the more I do it, the easier it will become. I need to persevere, to keep at it every day. I need to write.

The limitations will never disappear, but they can be overcome. Compensation will come by other methods. I may be unable to approach the genius of Nabokov or the levity of Pratchett, but someday I will become good enough to be myself. All it takes is practice.

One thought on “The Limitations of Words

  1. Many people I know have stories to tell, and some of those people have the stylistic talent to write them. What you describe is the same thing that affects me and I believe many people who would write a novel – the mechanical talent of waking up every day and writing another word. Thanks for expressing this so cleanly.


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