I don’t know what did it. I had such a streak going on this website as well as contributions to http://www.boundingintocomics.com and then boom, nothing. What happened to me?
Well, fear. Fear of what, I don’t know. Maybe it’s self esteem issues. When you build up something like this, even though this ain’t much, it takes hard work and when you finally get to the point where you get noticed, you realize what you’ve created. You also encounter a fair group of folks who may not agree with your work which can throw a wrench in the works. That’s really made me reflect on how I criticize others. I know when I first started the site I said some rather inflammatory things about some artists and writers that I would not express in the same way today. Not that people shouldn’t be criticized, because at the end of the day two things are true. One, art is subjective. Two, just because you have an opinion of a piece of work doesn’t make that work bad.
But fear. Fear has kept me from writing. And that has to stop. Am I the world’s greatest writer? No. I have never claimed to be. But one common theme among people who make it in the entertainment industry is not necessarily talent but hard work. People that are confident in their skills and plow forward regardless of what others think of their work. Think of Kevin Smith. He got his start by making his first movie when he was working at a convenience store. While his career has been pretty spotty, especially lately, the fact is he put a ton of work into his career and look where it got him. Think of the rock band KISS. Musically, their legacy is spotty. They have some great songs…and some songs that should just dissolve into the ether of time. But the amount of work they put into their stage show and getting their brand out there has to be respected.
Where does this leave me? I let fear take over my common sense and keep me from doing what I love, writing. If there is a lesson for other writers out there it’s this. Don’t stop. Keep writing. Fuck everyone else, pardon my language. With the internet culture we have today, the moment you put any sort of work out there you will find people who will do their best to tear you down. You can’t let them bother you. You can’t let them get to you. You can’t let your own fears get to you. If you truly believe in what you are doing, and as an artist why the hell are you creating something if you don’t truly believe in your work, you will find an audience. You will overcome critics. You will overcome fear. You will even overcome your own brain because I can tell you from experience, there is no worse critic than that little mass that resides in your skull.
This is a time where you can look at heroes in stories and do your best to emulate them. Did Peter Parker become a sullen emo jerk when Uncle Ben was murdered? No, he became Spider-Man. Did Bruce Wayne become a sullen jerk because his parents were murdered? No, he became Batman. There are of course real life heroes as well who’ve overcome major odds to become successes in life so let’s pretend I’m not totally delusional here. The fact is this. For me to call myself a writer, I have to write. Simple as that. As a reviewer, I will be putting out a lot of content. Similar to critiques I’ve had of Brian Bendis, not every review of mine is going to be the gold standard of reviews. But like Mr. Bendis, I have to keep writing. For every negative comment, whether it’s in my head or coming from critics online, I keep plowing on. At the end of the day, if I stop due to those type of comments, then maybe I’m proving them right.