Teddy Roosevelt said (allegedly) that “Comparison is the thief of joy”. By comparing ourselves to others, we somehow find our own successes or projects lacking. Another term for this same idea is Imposter Syndrome. This is especially true when dealing with something we’re passionate about or the field we’re in or aspire to be in.
Writing has always been one of my outlets. Whether it’s blogging, fanfic, or original works, putting words on paper or on a screen has been therapeutic for me. I’ve had a Twitter account for a decade, but I’m not a very active Tweeter. I’m more of a lurker. Someone I follow tweeted a link to a fanfic. I let my curiosity get the better of me & went to check it out even though I don’t agree with her ships at all (shorthand for relationships). It had thousands of hits, comments, & likes. I felt inadequate before reading a single word. My story hasn’t even cracked 3000 hits. I immediately started telling myself that I had somehow done something wrong. Let’s do a quick comparison – I have never publicly linked the story via any of my social media EXCEPT here for reasons that are rather long & complicated. Her entire Twitter account is dedicated to marketing her work. I could create an entire Twitter account dedicated to marketing this story, but why? I know I write just as well as she does (I actually did read some of it eventually). I’d have to make connections in a fandom that can be extremely volatile at times & I really don’t have time for that. And by time I mean the emotional energy it takes to deal with people getting their panties in a wad over the smallest, strangest things. I’d get frustrated, abandon the account, & be right back to where I am now. Her story has all that attention because she decided that she wanted to whore herself out on Twitter (and wherever else), deal with any potential (likely) drama, & she saw results.
Everyone wants validation. It’s part of being human. We want to have someone else (or a lot of someone elses) tell us that our work is valuable & meaningful. My fic started out life as something very different than it is now. I have one very loyal fan who is constantly chasing me down for updates. Other people have read it, some even felt strongly enough about it to comment. I am not worth what other people think of me (or what I create) & sometimes I forget that.
Current Jam: “Sound of Silence” Disturbed
Twitter & Instagram: retroindiequeen
Archive of Our Own (AO3): TheHuntsmansBoss
I got stuck with jury duty last week. I’ve been called several times before, but never selected. What day did I get called, you ask? My emotionally abusive rapist’s birthday. I never got to take him to court. Hell, I didn’t realize what he did to me was even classified as rape until 3 years after our relationship ended. Doesn’t change the fact that he never answered for what he did. During the selection the question was asked have you ever been through a traumatic event. I was literally the first person they called from the entire pool of 200+ people AND #1 in my group. I dutifully raised my hand & instead of opting to speak with the judge privately, I said in open court that I was raped by an ex boyfriend.
They chose me anyway.
I proceeded to waste a day & a half of my life listening to a case that was complete bullshit. These people were trash who took their trashy issues to court instead of sorting them out on their own & not wasting my time. Then another juror couldn’t get it through her thick skull that it doesn’t matter if someone says it’s okay to come by the house when a stay away order (a baby TPO) is in place. It was in force at the time, therefore he was guilty of violating the order. Intent wasn’t at play here. She finally caved, but I was getting ready to beat her ass over it. Allegedly, my name will be out of the pool for at least 2 years. I’m not holding my breath.
This past week dug up a lot of unpleasant feelings. For example, feeling like I was being punished for being honest in front of a group about what happened to me. Last Monday would’ve been my very first boyfriend’s 35th birthday. He died in his sleep shortly after he turned 31. I never found out the exact cause. Valentine’s Day reminded me of how my dad would get my mom a bouquet & my sister & I would each get smaller ones. It wasn’t just about his wife. It was about all his girls. Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. (I guess today since this will be posted after midnight) This is the 2nd birthday she’ll have without my dad. If it’s anything like mine was, it’s going to hurt like a bitch. I don’t know what to do for her. I don’t know if there’s anything I even can do.
I check Twitter & see adulation for other fanfic (read: slash) writers & I feel inadequate. Then I remind myself that I have basically no followers on Twitter, don’t whore myself out on there, & only post my username here on a blog that no one reads. Do I want that kind of attention? Do I need that kind of validation? I guess if I did, then I’d put more effort into it. Ultimately, it’s an escape for me & if other people enjoy it then that’s an added bonus. I don’t need 1500 followers on Twitter & 10,000 hits on my story to be worth something.
I think I had more to say, but my head hurts like a bitch & I have class tomorrow so I’m out.
Current Jam: “Far From Home” Five Finger Death Punch
Twitter & Instagram: retroindiequeen
Since reading the recaps of the 50 Shades trilogy, I’ve been pondering my own ideas about fanfic.
I tried to read Twilight and gave it the ol’ rage quit three quarters of the way through. For someone who claims to have a degree in English, the writing was high school level at best. That’s also doing a disservice to high school students who didn’t sleep through class. Her editor also has a lot to answer for. I’ve heard the excuse that Ms. Meyer was trying to capture the voice of a high school student. I strongly disagree with this point as well. I’ve seen very well written stories (Beautiful Creatures leaps to mind) which successfully captured the voice of a teenager. The idea had the potential to be a lot more than the final product was. The execution fell short of the idea. She was unsuccessful as a writer because of the mechanics and her editor either didn’t catch the mistakes or glossed over them. The fact it became a runaway success makes me shake my head on behalf of all English majors who don’t suck as authors.
When 50 Shades of Grey first came across my radar, I thought “anything that started out life as a Twilight fanfic can’t possibly be good”. In that instance, I was correct. I gave the book itself a rage quit by chapter 9 before switching to the recaps. I question the morals in both stories, but that’s another blog post for another time. However, I do think I was unfair to paint all Twilight fanfic with the same brush. I’m sure there’s a lot of Twilight fanfic floating around online that is either on par with the original or elevates it. I understand Twilight isn’t high art. It’s the literary equivalent of candy corn. The source material is just a jumping off point. Fanfic is a great way for budding writers to get some experience. The characters and setting are ready made. As had been exhaustively pointed out, it’s one thing to borrow from an existing work. It’s entirely another to take another writer’s work wholesale and just change the names. I hated Twilight, but it wasn’t fair of E.L. James to pluck Edward and Bella and plop them in a room with pleather and riding crops. I’m sure the erotica writers are also shaking their heads right now.
I’m not a published writer (obviously). I have a lot of ideas that I’ve put into writing, but they never get past 20 or 30 pages because I get distracted by something shiny. I, personally, chose the original work route. I’m awesome at creating characters who are interesting and real, but I can’t make them do a goddamn thing. Pesky, pesky plots.
For those keeping score at home, my dad is doing much better. The surgery went well and he was even up and walking around yesterday. He’ll be on IV antibiotics for a few weeks, but they’ll send him home tomorrow. It’s very, very likely he caught the original infection from the hospital the first time around. His hip that’s sans lymph nodes was prime real estate for the infection. It took 8 days, but it’s good to have it all behind us.