It’s winter here. Cold, blustery, and dark. I love winter — especially snowflakes — but sometimes too much dark gets to me. Had to go on a cleaning meltdown for that reason. Washed the curtains, the rugs, did a little house maintenance, got an architect lamp to add some full spectrum lighting to my office — the whole bit. Also celebrated new phase of my career with a FitBit to keep me on track.
Now that I’m back from the U.K., I’ve been diving back into the pile and loving it. Getting a ton of words written, projects completed, outlines sent… Yesterday, my short fiction for Hunter the Vigil: Mortal Remains had been accepted. It’s interstitial and connected in a series, so each piece builds off of the other. It was a LOT of fun to write and I can wait to see it in print. Tying up the Episode Guide for the Firefly RPG corebook while the other pieces are being edited and proofread. We are very close to calling it a day. Phew!
But in the midst of all that, every once in a while I catch a whiff of the drama. You know the kind I’m talking about. The “You’re not a real writer until…” Or “If you write, it’s not really work.” Kat Richardson recently talked about this on her blog a little bit in the context of NaNoWriMo. And I laughed when I saw the “It’s not really work.” I never STOP working.
To me being a writer is one part craft, one part business and my job is to balance the two by making smart decisions that impact me now and in the future. (Here’s a financial snapshot of this career’s sustainability through the lens of self-publishing, traditional, and hybrid models.)
More to my point, there’s a lot of magical thinking out there about the craft. I get frustrated when the measuring stick gets pulled out. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. The “you’re not a real writer” unless you:
a) publish an original novel that person has heard about
b) publish a series of novels on that first book
c) have a graphic novel/comics based on those novels
d) sell movie/TV writes based on those novels
f) roll in the dough
g) have a million Twitter followers
Gah! So why does the measuring stick exist? Jealousy and insecurity, sure. That’s natural and going to happen. But deeper than that, our personal qualifications for success are putting those tick marks on the ruler. Take 50 Shades of Gray for example. I can’t tell you how many people came to me and said: “This was badly written, but I had to keep reading.” And then I found out how this book came to be published, and well… I know so many erotica/romance writers who write high-quality prose. This runaway hit blew my mind because it broke my rules of what I feel deserves to sell that many copies and get all the licensing, etc.
Obviously, my opinion is just that. Does it have a bearing on the future of that property? Sales, etc? Nope! It’s just “talk.” My point here, is that a stranger’s opinion shouldn’t make you feel bad about what you’ve achieved as a writer. Half the time they’re saying: “I wish I was as success as you.” or in my case “I don’t understand your success.”
To me, the lesson to be learned about measuring sticks is that they’re useless. Success is, to be perfectly hokey, in the eye of the beholder. Measuring sticks are just opinions that can get in the way or attack your confidence as a writer so you freeze up and avoid the blank page. Success is always best viewed in context, anyway. Don’t let anybody take your happiness away from you. If you’re pleased with what you’ve done? Then that’s really all that matters. If you’re not, well… That’s a whole ‘nother conversation.
- Mood: How did it get to be December again?
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: COOOOOFFFEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Meh
In My Ears: Electronical buzzings
Game Last Played: Dragon Age II
Book Last Read: A modernized version of Mallory’s King Arthur
Movie Last Viewed: RED 2
Latest Artistic Project: *Still* *still* *still* need to take pictures… It’s on the list!
Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last
Latest Game Release: Friends in Low Places
What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels.