Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Downside to Being an Artist

Putting Cube Wars out there so that people can actually read it has revealed something I didn't know about myself.  I am terrified that people will not like my stuff.

Before I was indifferent because before it didn't matter.  When you attach a price tag to something, the entire game changes.  I begin to fear that I'm somehow going to miss expectations and let people down, that the money isn't justified and that people are going to come beat down my door because I've failed them as a writer.

As people get their first look at Cube Wars, I begin to wonder:
  • Are people going to suddenly dislike their portrayal? (They didn't before)
  • Did I fix all the typos and grammatical errors?  (Definitely not, but I damn well tried.  I am the WORST EDITOR EVER!  I hope people will laugh at them and be like "LOL typo" instead of "this book sucks because there are typos.")
  • Is it funny? (It makes me laugh and I know exactly what's coming.  Everyone I know has loved it)
  • Is it even any good?  (My friends LOVED it.  My friends of friends LOVED it.  I literally could not print enough to distribute in high school.  And the amazing part is, the writing was terrible!  When I went to edit it, even I got pissed off at the writer...and I WAS THE WRITER.  It was so bad it was almost unreadable...and yet people couldn't get enough.  I think that means I'm a good writer...)
I have similar fears with everything I've written.  Typically I explain concepts to people and they're like "oh that sounds really good."  And I might give them sample material and they're like "oh, this looks really good."  And by that time I'm pretty well fucked because then I have to deliver something really good.  Oh wait, that's a good thing.

I get worried that people build up this vague, but impossibly good story in their head, and nothing I write will even come close to that utopia of a novel they imagine.  I worry that Arnett Tanner Wants to Die isn't moving enough, that it doesn't have the impact that I hope it will have, that The Chosen is a bland addition to the Vampire genre despite every indication otherwise.

Maybe that's why my favorite ever comment on my writing came from an older gentlemen that attends the Writer's Workshop at the public library with me every other Tuesday.

On The Chosen which I've been reading aloud in pieces for the past half year: "I don't like your book, I don't like the genre, and I don't like the gore...but I like your story, and I like hearing you read it, and damn it, I want to know what happens."

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