Friday, March 29, 2013

In Which I Talk About Why I Want to Do This

There are a lot of simpler ways to make money than trying to break into writing.

I often hear about how lucky I am I make any kind of money at all with my videos, and I'm not going to lie: it's true.  Lucky, no question.  Tons of you want to do the same thing; your ultimate goal is to wake up, type up a script, shoot it, edit it, and throw it on the web. You want to not only be recognized and appreciated, but to be able to make your way in the world today without it taking everything you got.

I was lucky enough to get that, to an extent.  It wasn't about having talent or being better, though I think I have some talent and take pains to do what I can with my production values.  It wasn't about deserving it, because if anyone ever got what they actually deserve in life it'd be a nightmare.  It was a lot of right place, right time.

That's not to say I don't value the opportunity I was given and work hard to be worth it, though.  I try to keep doing work that's worth seeing, say things worth saying, throw some laughs out there along the way.  But I recognize there's always an element of chance in these things, and now I've set my mind to doing it again in a different medium.

As I've said before, the competition isn't just fierce, it's got live wolverines in its boxer shorts to boot.  That means I'm going to have to do my absolute best, and find a way to make my work exceptional. Most of all I have to make the best and most of any opportunity that comes my way, however small.  It means I have to keep looking all the time, and see if there's some way to get a foot in the door.  Hell, I'd even settle for getting a shoelace in there.

All that having been said, why would anyone in their right mind put themselves through it?  After all, I have other marketable skills.  I've been in tech for over a decade.  I've got certifications.  I can likely find a decent paying position in a lot of places.  It would be steady, reliable work, with a weekly paycheck, benefits, 401k, all that jazz.  I wouldn't have to worry.

I'd just be miserable, is all.

Yes, I'm having to look for work to suppliment what I already make so I can not only support myself but save up as well.  But the thing about that is I'm intending to leave it behind once I've got a floor under me.  I don't want to do tech work.  It's fun sometimes, it's interesting, and it's reliable.  I'll concede those points, sure.  But my heart's not in it. There's no creation to it.  There's no soul.  It's augmenting and perpetuating the visions of others.

I want -- okay, need -- to do more than that.  I want to put something out there that didn't exist before I came along, and will remain after I'm gone.  I feel and think a lot of things I want to convey to others, if only to impart something I believe to be important.  I want to be seen, heard, and respected for what I contribute to the vast nonsense of our patchwork culture.

I've done that to some extent, else you wouldn't be reading this right now.  But it's not enough.  It's the difference between a gig and a career.  It's about purpose.  It's about being fulfilled by my own efforts.  It's about doing with myself the only thing that has ever made me feel as though I know why I'm here.  It's not going to be easy, and it might not even work.  But I believe I have something important to say.

Y'know.  Beyond dick jokes.


  1. "All that having been said, why would anyone in their right mind put themselves through it? After all, I have other marketable skills. I've been in tech for over a decade. I've got certifications. I can likely find a decent paying position in a lot of places. It would be steady, reliable work, with a weekly paycheck, benefits, 401k, all that jazz. I wouldn't have to worry.

    I'd just be miserable, is all."

    ^THIS. This is preachin' some good truth, my friend.

    I did the whole... having a respectable desk job... thing. I was getting paid an amount of money that makes my teeth squirm to think about these days... if I'd known my ass from a dollar bill I might even have been able to ride that a ways and have some savings under my belt. Not a lot, but some. Go figure, opportunity is wasted on the terminally young.

    One fine day, my wife introduced me to this weird internet entertainment shit... I think it took me 2 weeks of experiencing the revelation of independent internet-based entertainers before I simply walked out of that job. It took me 2 years to make an honest dime again.

    I don't regret it. Not for a single second. I was making money back then, but I was also waking up every single morning with a taste of deep self-loathing in my mouth because every single second I spent at that desk was a violation of everything I am. That's a load of hippie-ass bullshit to most "responsible adults" and reflective of a privileged man-child mind... at least, that's what my dad would say... but you know what? That's the world changing around us. We have the luxury to make that choice, and I think it would be stupider of us NOT to make it while we can. It may be that the world will get us in the end. It may be that we'll all end up working desk jobs so we can support our spouses and kids and pay the bills and give them something that passes for a good life. I look at that and I see entropy... the little heat death of our own individual universes. Science says entropy always wins in the end... in theory. But that doesn't mean we have to make it easy.

    So hey... I'll raise a hypothetical drink to this crazy bullshit we're all up to. Maybe we change the world. Maybe we don't. Maybe the best we ever do is change ourselves a little. I'll drink to that. I'll drink to you, my friend, and to me, and to all of us out here in Internet Land. History has shown that all it takes is enough idiots like us willing to give entropy the finger and keep on running longer than we ought to, and that makes all the difference.

  2. Word, yo. This is something I didn't realize myself for far too many years. Once you start understanding how the world works, though, it's pretty hard to go back to that 9-5 slog in the knowledge that it will never, ever be as satisfying as even trying and failing at your real passion will be.

    I remember what pushed me over the edge was a co-worker with such a saccharine attitude about everything, one of those people that's so fake they fool themselves better than anyone. Watching this person acting like a minimum-wage service job was emotionally fulfilling, and getting offended when others disagreed, I finally understood that I would rather fail at being a writer for the rest of my life than stay there.

    Nash, if people like hack game journalists and Twilight fanfiction authors can make it, I know you can too.

    Here's a motivational penguin for all the would-be writers:

  3. You're really starting to get as meta as Phelous about this whole mess, Nash. You're writing about writing and now I'm writing to you about your writing. Hell, keep this up and I'll start writing about my "production" writing as a reply to your writing about writing... Am I right, folks? ;-)