I’ve been struggling to write much of anything lately. I could make all kinds of excuses about being too tired or not having enough time or lacking inspiration, but that’s all bullshit because every other writer has been able to overcome that same stuff. No one but myself to blame, but then again self-blame hasn’t gotten me anywhere good in 27 years so fuck that too.
I think part of the problem is that I’ve been dwelling too much on outside reactions to what little work I’ve done so far – publication rejections and bad reviews of one of the very few things I have published – which is honestly ridiculous because there’s ultimately nothing I can do control that. No matter how hard I work and how good I am, there’ll be someone out there who doesn’t like what I do.
The whole thing got me wondering how I could break out of this mindset, and it reminded me of one of the few creative things that hadn’t lost its fun factor for me: editing beyond-ridiculous videos.
I make shitposts not videos
Let me be clear: my videos aren’t good. It might even be too generous to call them shitposts, because “shitpost” implies that they’re part of any kind of discussion whatsoever; my videos just occur randomly and are completely out of place, like a blizzard on Halloween. But dammit, I love those videos. And I love making them. They aren’t made for the views, they’re made for the lulz. Which is good, because who on earth would go out of their way to watch something like a clip from an obscure Peter Lorre movie combined with audio from Homestar Runner?
I started making videos around the same time I started writing seriously, in my mid-to-late teens. But while I moved from writing comedic fanfiction to writing “serious literature,” my video editing never matured. Even after ten years of making them, my videos remained basically the same.
Those videos are just a fun thing to fiddle with, the way writing used to be. I only made them because nobody else had and I wanted them to exist.
So do you have a point or…?
That realization put me in mind of some writing and/or general creative advice I heard once. (I can’t quite remember the source and am having trouble finding it even with the help of the internet hivemind, so please forgive me for not crediting you, source.) It went along the lines of “you shouldn’t make something because you think it’ll get popular and make money, you should make something because you want it to exist in the world.”
I think that’s good advice, for the same reason that “collect what you love, not what you think is a good investment” is good advice: because that way, even if what you make/collect doesn’t get you a lot of money, you’ll still be happy with the thing itself. Chances are, if something speaks to you, it’ll speak to someone else too. But even if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have something that you like.
So it’s probably time to reorient myself and approach writing the same way I approach making videos – albeit with a lot more work and attention to quality. If I want something to exist, then I’d better get on it; nobody’s going to make it for me.