MOOD: *ominous pipe organ flourish*
Currently working on: The Lexicon Calopa (Timeline, Glossary, New Maps)
Music: Dethalbum 1, Dethklok
It’s trite. It’s cliché. It’s the fodder for lazy villain writing, and the foundation for an antagonist validating their bad behavior to the protagonist. But now, I get to co-opt the statement for my own positive purposes. Gotta do this right. Okay. Coffee is consumed, and my beard is on point. *ahem*
“We’re not so different, you and I.”
And I mean that sincerely. Let’s say you’re sitting at home, reading these words, and you’ve already put some creative stuff out there in the wild. Or, let’s say you haven’t, but you’ve always wanted to. You’ve wanted to audition. You’ve wanted to write that book. You’ve wanted to create that game, or that song, or that comic, or that TCG, or that new blog, or—
Or maybe you’ve not decided, yet, but the impetus to create still lives within you, and keeps poking you with a sharp stick to get your attention. Sometimes, it’s an airhorn. That little impetus has like, zero concept of personal space and quiet time. Welcome to the rest of your life.
Incoming existential angst. Pucker up.
Whatever the case, or whatever the thing is that you wish to make, my statement holds true. I’m doing it. Yes, you can too.
Because there really is little difference between you and I. Sure, life experiences, situations we live in and whatnot are all tallied on the list of differences, but those are in constant flux. Those are not the benchmark of relation between us. Your “now” is not going to remain fixed in stasis. Your situation will change. Your life experiences will be as myriad as you’re willing to allow them to be. It’s all in your court, player.
Listen, I’ve been blessed over my time to know and have worked with some truly amazing people. Comic creators, musicians, movie makers, podcast creators, voice actors, sound engineers, high-end illustrators, award-winning writers, and more. Their cumulative accomplishments cast a pretty damn long shadow that can be daunting to someone like me who routinely thinks themselves as nothing special.
In short, I’m just me. Just a person.
But, to a one, they’re all just people, too. I’ve seen them fail. I’ve seen them struggle. I’ve seen them falter at their peak, or struggle to grow from humble beginnings. And Lord Gygax knows that they all, in turn, have seen me stumbling along, trying to make good. Hell, I still am. But that’s my baggage to contend with, and not the point I’m hoping to drive home, here.
So what is the point? We’re all just people, no matter the accomplishment or notoriety. We’re not so different, you and I, you and them, we and you. We’re all the same, save for one crucial point which I can only hope will crack through the weird defeatist exoskeleton you’ve erected around yourself. You know the one. It’s that Mobile Suit Suck that you don’t realize you’re forcing yourself to pilot. It’s “Eva-Unit Pessimism”, and you are your own worst Gendo Ikari.
Dick move, Ikari.
Just this once, get out of the fucking robot, Shinji.
Listen up, because this is your wake-up call. You ready? I’m going to assume you are. Or, I’ll just keep tapping away at my keyboard, filling this paragraph with time-consuming fluff because I learned the tactic from every reality gameshow in existence as a way to artificially inflate drama and suspense through the use of filler and dangling a metaphorical carrot in an attempt to keep you on the line for as long as humanly possible while simultaneously covering for an embarrassing lack of quality content to fill the void and my own raging nigh-narcissistic need to appear clever as a show runner so that we will get picked up for another season instead of me having to face the very real prospect of losing my job and being forced to return to writing copy for yogurt commercials because that’s the only work that matches my skillset if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, which incidentally is a skill I lack which got me into this business in the first place and left me in this woeful position where I am so far in over my head that I can even see daylig-*AIRHORN*
Sorry about that. Okay- here it is:
To a one, I, and all of those fantastically creative people I mentioned, all asked ourselves pretty much the same exact question at some point in our lives when it came to the attempt at creating something.
“Why not me?”
The difference here, between us and you, is that all of us eventually reached the point where we realized there was no good answer to that question. We hit that magic moment where we understood that the question itself wasn’t an invitation to belittle ourselves. It was a challenge.
You’re damn right it’s accepted.
And, to a one, we all decided to take a risk. After that, we found that taking those risks became a hell of a lot easier every time it came time to choose. That’s it. That’s literally it.
I’m not going to blow a bunch of platitudes-turned-smoke up your ass and tell you that that alone is the secret to success. It’s just not, plain and simple. You’re in for a world of hard work, setbacks, ups and downs and an absolute slog of uncertainty and self doubt attempting to make a fine pair of cement shoes for your feet. That’s just the gamut you’re going to have to face. We all have. We all still do.
I’m 36. I’ve had my work featured in animations, games, magazines, television, award series, conventions and collections. I’m damn proud of all the stuff I managed to accomplish, even as I struggle with the fact that, right now, I can barely pay one of my bills. I’m just a guy. I’m not a towering paragon of fortune to match the hard hours I’ve put in. But every little win along that road IS a win, and it all stemmed from taking that first risk so long ago to make something and put it out there for others to see.
So, no, knowing that difference between you and I isn’t a cure-all. Them’s the breaks.
But what it is for you is that all important first step. YES. YOU CAN DO WHAT I, OR ANY OF US DO. There is no magic pill or secret chapter locked away in some dusty tome that we somehow managed to find. It was as simple as hitting “fuck it” mode, and rolling those dice. All of us, famous or no, successful or no—we all simply said “If they can do it, so can I.”
And so you can, and will, once you accept that we’re not so different. I can not wait to see what comes out of that, badass. Don’t keep me in suspense.
Until next time, Horns Up.