This post initially appeared on the Charlotte Geeks blog. But as I am spending most of my time getting the Women in Horror Recognition Month anthology, The Grotesquerie, out for Mocha Memoirs Press I am reblogging it.
The first story I wrote was published when I was five years old. Technically, it was a contest for the local paper where you had to finish the prompt. Something about finding a treasure chest in an attic and what was in it.
From what I remember, I wrote something like it was a TV and we all watched Bugs Bunny because it was Saturday! That’s not verbatim, of course. For that, you’d have to ask my Mother; I think she still has the newspaper clipping somewhere.
Now, ahem, several years later, my writing has progressed. I can also say that I’m a full-fledged geek as well. (It wasn’t long after that “publication” that I moved from watching Bugs to watching reruns of Star Trek and playing video games on the computer.)
Being both a writer and a Geek places me in an interesting position. And certainly in a different headspace when creating fiction. The writing process can be challenging in general. Just ask all of the frustrated authors out there.
But it’s different for us Geeks. We’re special. And that has good and bad implications.
The good part includes the fact that we’re natural storytellers. We love to take an ordinary situation and add our own spin to retelling it. Even adding our own “what if” scenarios to make that book more awesome.
Also, most of us have an encyclopedic knowledge of our chosen object of geeky affection. References from comics, movies, books can weave their way into our lives so easily and deeply that they become part of us. It can create and fuel ideas. Like that time I wanted to translate “99 Luftballons” into Klingon.
But it’s also a challenge when writing. It can make us think, “This will never be as good as insert author’s name here.” That can stymie us into only reading, watching, experiencing our faves and not creating our own work. Comparison can be detrimental to any author, but we Geeks have such love and respect for the creators of our books and movies and such, that they reach cult status. And we hesitate to toss our own work out to the public.
It can make us question our astounding creativity. Is this too much like episode 25 of that show? I have it on DVD; I’ll watch it to be sure. Didn’t they already make something like this into a movie? Even other Geeks may tell us this. “You know, this sounds like…” Geekiness can make us second-guess the ability of our work to stand out among the crushing amounts of awesomeness out there. But no one can write a story exactly the way you can. So stop worrying. Even if your lead character’s name sounds strangely like that starship captain’s. It’s okay, really. Finish writing and change it later.
We as Geeks can also get caught up easily with other pursuits. Heated Internet debates about the newest video game, introducing the uninitiated to our favorite TV series, watching someone else’s favorite TV series… The list can be endless.
While there’s a lot of shiny for Geeks to get distracted by, in order to effectively create our own awesome writing, we must do the unthinkable:
Take a break from our favorite things.
I know, I know. The thought of not watching the next episode, or of not making it to the next level up is torture. (“I’ll write after I finish this” is all too common.) But making this sacrifice will help you reach the goal of finishing a first draft of that short story or creating your RPG for the contest. Don’t give up your pursuits completely; just lessen the hours you devote to it for a short time. If it’s really a hardship, cut back on certain days or make a schedule you can live with that includes your writing and your Geek love.
Sometimes, I don’t even take my own advice. The lure of another Firefly marathon is too strong. Or I’m determined to beat the next boss without losing another life point and that takes me… some time. So I have to continually remind myself of the goal: Get the story done.
Writing while geeky is tough, but without a doubt worth the sacrifice to bring your vision to life and make your mark on the Geek world. Just think: It may be your work the future Geeks are debating via their neutral implants.