It takes a tremendous amount of willpower, energy, and focus to create something. To take an idea and see it through to fruition, whether it’s a book, a game, or something else. It’s very easy to pour so much of yourself into a creative project and the gargantuan task of getting it out into the world that it exerts a sort of symbiotic energy drain on your being. Sometimes once your creative venture is cut loose and set free into the world, you’re left with a weird sense of loss. And it can be crippling.
It doesn’t matter whether your creation sells well, is appreciated by others, and reaches your benchmark for “success,” whatever that may be. The danger of being a DIY-minded creative is that the feelings of uncertainty, helplessness, and emptiness that flood in to fill the void left by completing something you’ve poured so much of yourself into for so long is at times overpowering.
As many of you out there know all too well, those “bad feels” dramatically amplify when your efforts fail to produce expected results, even if you’re not entirely sure what you expected for results. It’s an unfortunate, raw part of the mystery, the grand experiment that comes from every launch, every project, no matter how calculated or planned.
Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t be writing this post if the things I put out into the world caught fire and took off the moment they left my fingertips. That happens to some folks, and I’m sure it’s an amazing feeling. That doesn’t happen to me, or at least it hasn’t yet. And that’s ok. I brace myself against the swirling darkness waiting just beyond the treeline of neat and tidy expectation. Sometimes the barricade holds. Other days, like today, it springs leaks.
I know the trick is to push through it, pick yourself back up, and march onward until you can’t anymore. There’s always another project, a new experiment, another launch, the next thing. Always the next thing. And every thing you create builds on the one that came before it, further adding to the big complicated messy amazing electric pile that is you and the things that come from you.
For me, there’s always a lot of projects. There always has been. A ton of experiments, punctuated by a lack of catastrophic failure but also a lack of big wins. They’re all apart of me and what I do. Lately, it seems there’s also a lot of dashed expectations and “bad feels” slipping through the holes. I’m searching for band aids and duct tape and hope, I know I’ll find it and push onward with the next thing and the next thing and the next.
But for now, for this short moment, I’m taking a quick moment to wade into it head-on. Screw the barricade. Let the bad feels flow. And then button up, and carry on.
Well now, that was a weird post.
Pre-order my upcoming essay book Coffee Is My Religion Vol I!
The first entry in a new series, Coffee Is My Religion, is quite different from Nathan’s previous books in the Game Journo Guides Series. It’s not a how-to guide or advice-filled tome. Instead, this collection of deeply personal, quirky, and often humorous essays on the writing life digs deeper into Nathan’s own personal journey, his routine, his failings and victories, and much more. It aims to peel back the curtain a bit and connect with fellow writers of all sorts in a different way.