Everyone likes knowing that they are being heard and their efforts are appreciated. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple “thank you” or acknowledgment for a job well done. Those acts can do wonders for someone’s day and it doesn’t require all that much effort to do them.
Before I get into the meat of today’s piece, I just want you to know that my brain read the opening paragraph in Ioan Gruffud‘s voice like it was one of his voice-overs as Henry Morgan on “Forever.” If you watch the show, you’ll totally get what I’m talking about. If you don’t watch the show, you should give it a try. My parents and I are rather fond of it.
Anyway! A while back, I wrote a bit about astrology and how I sort of gave it up over time. After all, I’m not quite a stereotypical Leo. For a sign that’s supposed to thrive on attention, I’ve grown to find it just a little uncomfortable from time to time. I’m more fond of a quiet evening at home with my laptop than I am of going out and getting my groove on. I suppose you could trace my discomfort back to a number of factors, my various insecurities being chief among them.
One of the challenges I’ve been working on overcoming over time has been trying to beat back said insecurities. They’re insistent, though, the little voices that derail my trains of thought with their well-meaning “common sense.” I put that in quotes because they’re basically telling me not to put the effort in because it will never be good enough anyway. I’ll have these little ideas flutter into my brain and land for a few seconds before the negativity swoops in and snips their wings. The past few weeks have been filled with moments like that.
So, I try and falter. Self-deprecation and self-criticism set up shop to hide the flood of doubts. I go through the motions and do what I can, grumbling at myself that I can’t manage more. I should manage more. I have been able to in the past, why not now?
I’ve been taking it easy as a result, sweeping the little pieces of the broken ideas under the metaphorical rug. I’ll get it together soon enough. When I can’t do what I want, I do what I can. I have no choice but to keep moving forward and hoping that the negativity finally fades. I’m like a shark in that regard: just keep moving because to stay still would be Not Good.
That plan, while not ideal, works to a certain extent. Then, it doesn’t. When it fails, that’s when it becomes the true sink or swim test. The mess isn’t going to clean itself (which reminds me that I should more thoroughly clean my room in the future, but I digress).
Over the weekend, I worked to stop beating myself up over the things I should be doing. Instead, I just focused on the things I wanted to do. I wanted to mainline “Daredevil” because that show is fucking amazing and I will throw down with anyone who disagrees. Metaphorically, of course. I’m not much for fisticuffs. I also wanted to stop running the dialogue for this piece of fanfic through my brain and actually put it to paper. By paper, of course, I mean screen because writing stories out by hand is so last century.
There has to be a better turn of phrase for that.
Yesterday, I pulled up an angsty playlist on Spotify to get myself in the mood and just let my fingers fly. It felt good. I hadn’t written anything creative that wasn’t for online role-playing purposes or LARP-related in so long. I’d forgotten how much I missed it.
Prior to that, I created a Tumblr just for my fanfic writing and signed up for an invite to a popular fanfiction site. Not only was I going to write this for me, I was going to take a chance and share it with fellow fans on the Internet. Oh man, that was the most terrifying part of the whole process. It’s hard to put your work out there. You start imagining the worst case scenarios. What if people hate it and send you nasty comments about what you’ve done? Or, worse, what if no one reads it at all?
I don’t know how many folks have actually read the little ficlet I posted (the first part of an ongoing tale I’m telling). At this point, it doesn’t matter. I did it and I’m pleased with how it turned out. On top of that, a writer whose work I adore told me how much she really liked it and hoped that it was more than just a one-shot. I’m not going to lie: that made my freakin’ day. I was grinning. In fact, thinking of those kind words still brings a smile to my face.
For all I talk about word vomiting onto the screen and hoping that at least someone out there is reading it and finds it at least slightly entertaining, it means the world to me to just get the occasional bit of praise or comment. I was heard. My work was appreciated. Someone out there wants to read more and that is an amazing, heady feeling.
I’m not fishing for compliments or comments here, at least not for me. I know I have my own little fanbase out there that appreciates me. All I want from you folks it to go out there and pay someone else a compliment. If you read a particularly insightful article, let the author know. If your friend says something particularly fantastic, tell them. A little praise goes a long way.