Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In Which I Develop a Mission Statement

I get scared sometimes.

I'm old.  Not incredibly, I'm aware.  36 is not "old" old.  I'm barely grazing middle age.  I sure as hell don't look like I'm less than half a decade from 40.  I've even kept my hair, until irony decides it wants a good laugh.  So yeah, I'm by no means ready for the glue factory just yet.

But when you want to do something in entertainment, anything past thirty is a methuselah.  Anything past forty is impossible.  It's the sensibility that once the rounded edges in your features have sharpened up, once you settle down and find yourself looking forward to sleep as much as you would sex, once you give a damn about things like retirement and savings accounts . . . once you get there, you have no place near stage and screen.

Yeah, I know about Alan Rickman.  There are always exceptions.  But people seem to emphasize his age above the fact that he's Alan fucking Rickman.

It's how the game is played.  It's a reality I not only came to accept but to internalize and guide me.

When I was younger, I wrote.  In high school, I had access to a computer in my home for the first time; via WordPerfect 5.1, the results were a pile of juvenile but earnest novels.  While most of them have been lost to time (thank god the floppy went obsolete), one or two survived.  They were a little purple on the prose, but for someone that age, not all that bad.  College saw me an English major; my creative writing class was a solid 4.0.

But as I tried to put together a life I developed a really bad addiction to "eating" and "sleeping indoors," both of which I still suffer from to this day.  For over ten years, I spent my life following a different track: tech work. It was the sensible thing to do.  It was easy for me, and it was the track to a good life.  Writing was put aside and slowly ignored as I worked harder and harder to find a career.

That career never came.  Tech work in the south is rather merciless.  It's a series of contract jobs, or hourly wage jobs, or not-quite-forty-hours-a-week jobs.  People are replaced easily and often, and clawing your way up to something better means unseating the senior techs above you somehow.  It slowly became less and less practical.

In doing videos on the internet and in having a small but enthusiastic audience, I've put myself in a position to do something completely the opposite of sensible: pursue writing for a living.  If I'm going to be clawing and scraping and living hand-to-mouth, I might as well get some damn enjoyment out of it.

That's not to say I entirely know what in the hell I'm doing.  It's a hard thing to break into, writing.  We're in a digital age, and everybody with a keyboard, a blog and AdSense is a writer now.  Every single one of you reading is my competition.  The only question is, how serious are you about it?

How serious am I?  I'm in my mid-late 30's.  I'm the demographic that advertisers start ignoring.  In terms of media, I'm well past my prime.  I am not to writing what Rickman is to the screen.  Fuck, I'm barely a downmarket Bubba the Love Sponge, truth be told.  So this?  This is scary shit.  The odds aren't just not in my favor, they've got a grudge and a baseball bat.

So what am I doing about it?  I'm not just leaping off the bridge this second.  At the moment, I'm trying any and all job opportunities presented to me.  Paying the bills is first priority, but also saving money and building up a war chest so that when I decide to flat out take the plunge I'll be able to keep up with that pesky eating thing.  It's not gonna be forever, though. In three years, I intend to be paying the bills by writing for a living.  From there, we'll see.

But the first step is the writing.  There has to be a little every day, just to keep the work coming, keep the ability sound.  Mine's been neglected a great deal lately; time to change that.


  1. For the record: I believe in you. And I think a lot of other people do, too.

    Your voice is valuable. And we're listening. No matter how long it takes, we'll still be listening. :-)

  2. You may not be Alan Rickman, Nash, but you seem to be destined to become a writer... no, wait, a Writer, with a capital W. (I admit, I kind of grabbed that from Wil Wheaton, who had to face a similiar situation - except with acting instead of tech work.)

    I am looking forward to what you will publish, be it fiction or something more auto-biographical. You know that we'll be here for you, Nash. We'll always be.

  3. I have every bit of faith in your writing, Nash. You've done well enough to fairly entertain a large mass from all sorts of demographics. Write whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want. Just write. Some of it will be bad, not everything will be great, but it doesn't all have to be good. Just get it written down. Here's to meeting your goal before 3 years so you don't think of it as a deadline so much as something accomplished.

  4. As terrifying as the prospect of your old age is, Nash, at least you're not me.,. You've lived a life, loved and lost, whereas I'm 23 and I'm still in college at a time when my country's campus life is dead in the water compared to what it used to be. I am yet to go on a first date where I wasn't being mocked by people who stood me up. I am yet to know what it's like to belong.

    But from age 12 onwards, writing was all I had. I was alone and I'd think up ideas under this big gum tree that was like the Great Deku from Zelda. The first time I ever voted I discovered they cut my Deku down. I always associate politics and voting with that now.

    I wrote a lot of things I thought were great as a kid, few of these ideas were worth anything. My fantasy novel epic was put away in a drawer, and I kept trying to think of a better idea. Then as luck would have it, a better idea happened to me, because life happened to me in some respect. You haven't been writing as long, Nash, but you have the life years ahead of me. Go forth and conquer.

  5. Nash, I will tell you this, you may not be Alan Rickman, but you are Nash, the one guy I tune in to every week, the one guy who's show I watch without ever looking at the title, because I know there's always a joke or a line or a face in there that'll make me laugh and be something I'll bring up around other friends that watch your stuff.

    We're a bunch of french speaking geeks from Québec who have a chat about you and your shows and videos around a table before a Table top RPG Game. You've earned a place in people's heart and that's more than many will ever do.

  6. Nash, in many ways you are an inspiration of someone who tries every day to fulfill a dream. Even if you are past what society and media claims your prime is, the fact that you're not giving up is a testament to your will to succeed, and with that much drive, I'm sure you'll make it.

    We, your loyal RDArmy, will continue to support you as you work towards your goal. The only thing we ask is that you never give up, because we're all rooting for you.

  7. Chase the dream man, I wish i had your courage.

  8. As creative as you are, I look forward to seeing your writing. Your videos have proved to be a testament to your sense of humor and writing skills. I think we as writers are in the same boat.

    Think about it. I'm 34 and I've turned my writing into a webcomic. It's writing I've done since high school and looking back at my early work, I cringe a bit. It's stuff I wrote when I was a kid reading comics in the early '90s. Thankfully, it too changed dramatically! So, trust me when I say I feel ya. It's hard doing what we do. We want to be creative and the only way to do it in this day in age is to make it happen for yourself.

    You decide the path you're on and you will make it. You have the drive and I for one can't wait to see what you come up with. I know you will do well and I know you will have a TON of support! Yes, we're out of that coveted demographic. But, you know what? Who's to say we CAN'T make it work?

    Believe in yourself, Nash and you can do great things. Goals are important in life and I hope you succeed.

  9. You make it sound like you're just another random dude trying to make it on the internet, even though you're already very popular and you're affiliated with a very popular site (i.e. TGWTG). Hell, this fact alone is going to get you viewers for any articles, books, and whatever you want to write about AT ALL.

    If you were nothing more than some random dude no-one knows, nor cares about, then you'd perpetually get an empty stream, no Blip views and nothing from any Kickstarters or Indigogos you initiate. This would be true no matter HOW hard and long you tried (...put random "life fucks you in the ass" joke here).

    In this world, there's a point where you've got to look out for yourself, take some chances and take advantage of your circumstances to improve your life. Not doing so can very-well bring you into a terrible situation that you can't get out of without getting killed ( least in extreme circumstances anyways). Hell, as kind of an opportunist myself, I'd probably do the same sort of thing. Now don't get me wrong... I'll make the effort to work hard, just like you do, but I'll also "balance" it out with "taking advantage of my luck".

    Go right ahead and take enough of a nice and fair advantage of your popularity to get your writing career going, man. You'll get no judgments for me about it.

  10. As someone whose childhood dream job was "author," here's two words to you: GO NASH!

  11. As someone who shares your aspirations I can only say go for it.

    "Go hard or go home."

  12. Go Nash go! Glad you're chasing you're dreams. You can do it Nash. No matter how old you are (I had no idea you were 36). I empathize with your fears even though I'm about half your age.

    If you need ideas... use the fort. Use the boxfort to fuel ideas. Whatever you do write, I'll be looking forward to Bozard Books.