This post is going to be a kind of manifesto in a sense, and just plain catharsis in another, It’s probably also going to be pretty scattered. Mostly, this is about my mindset and the emotional and creative frequency I’m currently on. If you’re not interested – and really, I don’t blame you – maybe you’d like something else?
I’m Going to Suck
First thing you need to know? I’m a shy and insecure person. I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be, but I am. I have never really been able to fully invest myself in anything I’ve done creatively, because I always have the little voice in the back of my head… They’re going to laugh at you. Nobody will like it. Even now, every time I send off a draft to my editors, he’s there… This is it. This is the one. They’re going to read this and you’re going to get an email that says “whoops, we made a huge mistake. I’m not sure why we even hired you in the first place.” I stress out and live in fear of people thinking my work sucks and, by extension, so do I.
Everything I do isn’t going to be gold, and I have to be OK with that. But just because I produce something that sucks once doesn’t invalidate the other things I’ve done or the potential I have to produce something amazing in the future. Honestly, I think getting the suck out now might even raise my chances of producing that amazing thing.
I’m a Writer
Someone asked me what I did the other day, and I told them the truth as I see it.
“I’m a writer, and a web designer,” I said.
“Oh,” he said, “anything I might have read?”
“Probably not,” I shrugged. “All of my actual published work is in tabletop RPGs.”
“Oooh. I thought you meant a real writer.”
Yeah. And again, fuck that. I don’t need validation from anyone to know that I’m a writer. I’d be a writer even if I didn’t have a pretty regular gig doing it. I write. As melodramatic as it sounds, I couldn’t survive without writing. Without it, I wouldn’t be whole. I’m proud of my work for White Wolf. I love role-playing games, and I love that I get to take part in shaping and building a world I’ve been immersed in for over half my life. I will never be ashamed of that.
That guy who basically said I wasn’t a “real” writer? He didn’t mean to insult me. He was surprised that it annoyed me.
Society frowns on the kind of earnest and thoughtful intensity that creates its most enduring, beautiful works. It’s interesting, because it’s almost like a kind of institutionalized discrimination. People who try are weird. Pretentious. Even when you make it, even when you earn society’s “acceptance” of your weirdness, you’re separate. Celebrity is, in a sense, another kind of segregation. It’s still a matter of us and them.
Pretension is such a dirty word. Except all writing is pretense. Everything worth doing is pretentious. You’re damn right I have aspirations “above my station.” You’re damn right I’m going to stretch and reach for things.
And I may miss. I may fall off the ladder I’ve built for myself. But that’s just an opportunity to stabilize the foundations and build it higher before I climb back up.
I’m done apologizing for that.