One Hundred Monkeys, One Hundred Typewriters, One Hundred Wands Of Magic Missile

Me, several times a day. That's right, I'm a werechicken. You wanna make something of it?

As some of you are no doubt aware, WotC has once again opened the window for article pitches to Dungeon and Dragon. For the first time in my life, I have decided to submit some stuff. As I have been writing about roleplaying games for nearly 5 years now, and with the recent success in this arena of several of my esteemed blog-tribe fresh in my mind, one might think I would be overconfident. One would be crazy wrong.

To be perfectly frank, I’m freaking terrified. Imagine being a nerdling of 13 winters, reading your favorite magazines every month — Dungeon and Dragon. The wild creativity. The enhancements to the game you play and think about and breathe every day. All the cool art. It’s the late 80’s. This is the only D&D/fantasy humor you regularly see. A quarter-century of winters later, I stand at their very gates, and I am to say what?

I’m here?

I can do this too?

Please?

Part of my fears stem from the idea that nothing I come up with will be original enough. So many decades of fantasy have come before me, and WotC’s editors have surely seen everything before. What could I possibly have to add?

I’m much better at fluff than I am crunch, and they’re going to want stats and maps and game mechanics. Can I get it together?

I can write, but can I write professionawesomeal?

Even if I have a good idea, can I distill it into a pitch that isn’t 2000 words long requiring a flowchart and interpretive dance?

You know what? F*** it. It doesn’t matter. I’m doing this anyway.

The Power Of F*** It

I never got anywhere doing anything by backing down when I got scared and I see no reason to start now. Usually, the above magical incantation, “You know what? F*** it. It doesn’t matter. I’m doing this anyway.”, soon finds me numb with adrenaline and nowhere near ready to face what’s coming.

Sometimes I survive and something good happens. Other times, my wife has to find my phylactery and we have a very uncomfortable dinner where we talk about where I’m going to find another new host body.

Fact is, I’m not the greatest writer or the greatest blogger in the world. I might even be lucky to land a spot somewhere on the right half of the bell curve, and those are my strengths. I am aware of (some) of my weaknesses, but their presence doesn’t mean I should quit. It means I should surround myself with people who are good at the things I want to do and learn from them. It means I should read lots of good stuff  that teaches and inspires me. It means I should, above all else, practice.

Every time I post something on a blog, every time I tweet something, there’s that brief panic that oh dear sweet Grummsh I have said something stupid and the Internet hordes will come each dual-wielding rechargeable Epilady depilatory products.

Every single time I put on my Dungeon Master hat and get out in front of my players, I have the brief urge to freak out and run. I’m afraid the story I’ve come up with will bore them. I’m afraid I’ll forget what I’m doing and I’ll accidentally create giant cosmic plot holes and I’ll drive the horrible fun-sucking plot-train I have them all strapped to straight into it and they’ll never want to come over to my house again or speak my name to another living creature.

I am somewhat prone to drama when I get insecure.

But you know what? F*** it. It doesn’t matter. I’m doing this anyway.

It doesn’t mean I don’t accept advice. It doesn’t mean I don’t think about what I’m doing. But if the only thing keeping me from moving forward is fear?

F-bomb-I-I-D-M-I-D-T-A. I will be damned if the thing that defeats me is me.

Once Again Into The Breach

So now, I have a lot of work ahead of me. I have ideas, and those ideas need polished. Then I have to figure out how to sell them to professional gamer people that scare me. Then I have to figure out how to do that in one paragraph.

Will WotC send a personal singing telegram to make absolutely sure I understand just how much I suck?

Maybe. But if they do, I’ll just develop the idea and post it here.

F*** it. It doesn’t matter. I’m doing this anyway.

Now you go do it.

 

Image Credit
(Extra special thanks to Chuck Wendig, whose writings you may blame for both the extra fire under my butt recently to create and the extra profanity in today’s article.)

 

 

Comments

  1. I was really dragging my feet until I read your post, and you know what? F*** it, I’m going send that s*** in.
    Thanks for the much needed push.

  2. @Justin: You just made my day. :)

  3. Great article! I’ve always been my own greatest detractor, my own biggest wall, all of those things. This is a good reminder that you can’t produce anything cool if you prevent yourself from producing anything cool, just because criticism (real or imagined) scares you off.

  4. Great stuff! I was thinking about sending something in too but your post has made me determined to!

  5. As Chuck Wendig would say…

    BTFO.
    Even if you don’t have a beard.

  6. Absolutely. Really, probably all of us are scared at some level, even those of us that are confident people by nature. We never know how good a pitch will be, or what it will be like to develop the idea if it is accepted. It all feels like a lot of pressure. But, honestly, it is a trip worth taking. It is different things for different people. Contributing to D&D is great. You get to further things a bit and to give back to the community of creators and fans that have given so much to us. Learning a bit about how this industry works is really worthwhile. Seeing your name on the article is pretty sweet too. This is a trip worth taking.

    The best part is this. Even failure is worthwhile. You learn from a failed pitch. You learn from an article that was hard to write, or where you needed to work with a developer to make it better. This is a trip worth taking.

  7. TheMainEvent says:

    Mastering rejection and the art of “F*** It” will serve you well beyond blogging. If only I learned the power of this concept when I was single and terribly awkward with women!

  8. I live and die by “You know what, F*** it!”. Despite rumors and internet videos to the contrary, I tend to have a shyness issue. If I can just get that first step off the cliff, I can fall into a much more public friendly mode easily. But that first step is always the most terrifying.

    Great Article, Matt!