Confidence (Or the lack thereof) and Writing


So while I was struggling with my latest article on The Witcher 3, I got a helpful tip from a roaming robot about my blog.

Robot Taunt

First of all, it’s “too” lazy you god damn machine, if you’re going to insult me at least be grammatically correct. Second of all, how dare you impugn my honor!? Being lazy is only like 5% to %10 of my problem.

Okay, 50% at the most...
50% at the most…

To this spam bot’s favor, its comment did get me wondering… why don’t I update more? What the hell is wrong with me? That’s an excellent question. The answer is, as usual, I’m a terrible human being. 

No, not really. But that’s what my mind is always telling me, and that’s the problem.  I have no sense of self-worth I guess, all of my self-esteem is tied up in the opinions of everyone else. Last year I was staying with some friends in Portland when I got to interview for a job with Microsoft to do writing for the Halo series. When I got the initial call from the recruiter, my friend Emma described me as “glowing,” which I’m pretty sure is the only time I’ve ever been described as that. Then I didn’t get it, and I fell into a pretty black depression and didn’t write another blog post for three months.

That post about Microsoft was mostly trying to bluff myself out of falling into a depression, but obviously that didn’t work.

This is Pixar, they're better than you're annoying facebook friends.
I don’t need to say hello, we’re on a first-name basis.

So I lost a similar job opportunity with AT&T a few weeks ago. Of course my brain doesn’t focus on:

The fact that my resume managed to impress a recruiter enough to contact me.

That I got through four rounds of phone interviews with first the recruiter and then various members of AT&T team.

And then actually got an in-person interview.

No what my brain focuses on is the fact that, at the end I didn’t get the job. Sure, being sad you didn’t get a job is a probably a normal reaction, but it probably shouldn’t take my entire sense of self-worth with it. For weeks at a time. 

But then there’s not really much self-worth for these failures to take with them. Let me show you something else:

70 Drafts
Zoom and Enhance!
Yes, that says 70 drafts.
Yes, that says 70 drafts.

That’s a screenshot of my WordPress control panel, telling me I have 70 drafts. Now I’ve always assumed this was just a bunch of half-baked ideas I’d written down and just never followed up on. Spring cleaning that I’d never bothered to do, like the drafts folder of my email. I started hunting through my drafts after I thought I’d lost part of a Witcher 3 article I was working on (turns out the paragraphs that were missing were on my phone, I just hadn’t uploaded them), and about half of it was half-written ideas.

The other half though? Fully written articles that I never published. Just sitting there.

Draft Examples 2

The 5 tropes that need to die article, was just 5 sentences, a bare bones idea for an article (which I’d actually forgotten about but now I’m gonna finish it because these tropes are terrible). The other two pictured though? Total articles, both around two to three thousand words long. Pictures included.

Why did I decide to not post those?

I haven’t the slightest fucking idea. 

I didn’t take an exact count but, out of the 70 drafts I have, there are probably 20-30 fully and partially written articles. I could release one a day and have enough content for nearly a month. I could release one a week and have enough content for half a year.

Well maybe I’m just a really good editor right? I’m like J. K. Simmons in Spider-Man, I know when something is crap and I simply don’t bother my readers with it. Yeah, that’s it, I’m just a really great editor. The best.

Yeah, okay, maybe not.

Because this is another one of my drafts:

Draft Examples

These are two articles (the bottom one is only partially written) about Planescape Torment, and somehow my brain convinced me that no one wanted to read those. Even though one of my amazingly generous patrons (from my Patreon page. which you should still contribute to despite my just admitting how terrible I am) actually requested articles on this very subject, my brain still figured that no one wanted to read any of that.

My brain cannot be trusted. 

So in the interests of posting more frequently, and to stop wasting my time writing articles and then not posting it, I’m going to just post everything. I’m almost going to post everything. I’ll also start going backwards through my collected drafts and actually start posting them.  So look forward to that I guess, unless all these articles really are terrible, then… apologies in advance I guess.

The Nutter Butter Follow Up

Nutter Butter crop (1 of 1)Just wanted to give everyone who contributed to the Nutter Butter fund a HUGE thank you. The limp she had turned out to be a symptom of bone cancer, but it hadn’t metastasized beyond the the leg, so an amputation seems to have gotten most of it. Even if it does return, with your help, my parents have another year with her at least. So thanks everyone!

Newly three-legged Nutter, who doesn't seem to notice her missing leg.
Newly three-legged Nutter, who doesn’t seem to notice her missing leg.
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4 thoughts on “Confidence (Or the lack thereof) and Writing”

  1. I’m always amazed about how we seem to think exactly the same or live some very similar stuff. I’ve started following your blog when you published your articles about Dragon Age 3 because they mostly reflected what I was thinking about the game and because I liked the way you wrote them.

    Two years ago one of my novels almost got published. I was actually talking with a publisher on the phone about what she liked of the novel and what I should work on, and what needed to be done for the novel to be published. Ultimately, it wasn’t picked up, and it took about a year and a half before I started working seriously on something else. Instead of being very proud of me I fell in some sort of depression where I kept repeating to myself that nobody was interested in what I was writing. I hardly ever publish any of my poems or short stories on the web because of that, and it makes writing a novel even harder than it already is. Actually, I wish I was brave enough to write articles like you about games, movies and books I love but I just can’t believe than someone will actually read them.

    So don’t give up, I love your articles, and I hope you’ll write something else about game I’ve played. And maybe about DA:I romances? I’d love to have your take on them.

    1. Wow, yes you should be incredibly proud to have gotten a book to that level, even if it wasn’t published. Just finishing a book is a huge accomplishment. I’ve tried a couple times to write a book, but I always succumb to my inner monologue of “this is shit, no one wants to read this” and never end up finishing.

      Haven’t been back to revisit DAI since December, it might be worth going back and doing an analysis of the romances. I’ll see what I can come up with.

      Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it!

  2. Man, please, if you have all those articles in stasis, do bring them to the surface. I loved your articles on Mass Effect, The Witcher 3, and Planescape. Let’s see what you got. Life is too short not to share as much knowledge as we have.

  3. Keep writing man! I loved your thoughts on DAI and the Mass Effect 3 ending…they match mine precisely. Not to mention the fact that I hated the Sansa wedding/thing, loved your review of the Witcher 3, etc.

    If it’s any consolation, I too started a blog a few years ago, pumped out an article a day for roughly 3 weeks, then gave up. I’m sure you’ve researched all this yourself, but they say you have to keep at it for a year or two while readership builds up.

    Another problem I had was I kept trying to write super in-depth articles for each day. Marketing guru Seth Godin (very smart and wise on Internet writing) says it’s more important to just put something up consistently, even if it’s short, than to try to put up essays each time. Of course, you want to make sure it’s still quality, but just don’t fall into the trap I did of thinking every post had to be some massive undertaking.

    As writers, we always think no one cares. It’s so, so natural. Well, let this be a voice of encouragement from Dallas, Texas…I want to keep reading!

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