In the last post, I laid out why I was embarking on a new project - radical transparency in writing and selling. Here I'll to lay out why this is so radical for me.
There are two things I hate doing most in life: asking for help and sharing core feelings.
I've always been a private person. Friendly, sure. I've heard the word 'gregarious' used on a couple of occasions. But that's surface affect - a mode of extroversion learned by participating in way too many role-playing games until I'd learned to adopt the persona of "super-friendly laughing guy".
It's a role I'm good at playing. I enjoy it. I'd describe it as "nearly me".
"Nearly", because it hides an important fact - no one ever gets below the surface. I'll talk politics and religion with strangers, and we'll part as friends. I can make conversation with someone I met at a bus stop, or in line at the checkout, or just sitting at a counter. I take pride in bringing the newest coworkers into the social network. I listen. I give honest feedback. I make jokes. I laugh a lot. I mean all of it, and I love making friends.
But I don't expose my core. No tragedies. No fear. No desires. Those are mine and mine alone.
I like to imagine this analysis of the self as a castle diagram (because I am a massive nerd). Outside of the walls are the city - the public life. Inside the gatehouse is the courtyard - for friends and family. Inside the core is the keep itself - the personal. I think most people have some version of this, a series of ever-tighter circles of ascending trust. Where I differ from most is that I keep my outer walls nearly always open - I'll talk to almost anyone, anywhere, anytime, and do so easily - but I keep my inner citadel tightly locked.
Which makes talking about my writing something of a double-edged sword. There's nothing more personal than a construction built from your own thoughts, forged with careful and determined labor over a period years, drawn from a lifetime of experiences, learning, and beliefs. I think this is true for any form of art - the work itself is the truest expression of the creator.
So here I am, a person who prides himself on being private, engaging in a craft which at its core involves vomiting up the deepest contents of my mind for the whole world to see. It's a bit of a contradiction.
I think I was always okay with it because I wasn't telling my story. I was constructing worlds for people meant to be appreciated separate from myself. A level of removal, perhaps, from the core I so jealously guard.
And yet, here I am, spilling all of this personal data. Why?
Because I'm flipping the meta. I'm going to talk about my process, my failures, and my triumphs, and I want you to understand that this is something very alien to me.
Which brings me to my second point, the other "thing which I hate".
There's a proud tradition that runs in my family - never ask for help. If you were drowning, and someone asked, "hey, you need a buouy?" Your response could only be, "I got this" or, at worst, "I wouldn't say no". This isn't to say that you shouldn't accept help! Accept it graciously, if it came. Always offer it, if you saw an opportunity. But never, ever ask.
I think the idea is that "everyone's got a lot of shit on their plate right now, don't make that worse". Basically: pull your own weight and don't be a burden. The upside is that you learn good self-reliance and can get out of a lot of scrapes that would bury other people. The downside is that you tend to drown when you can't swim.
With the Flipping the Meta project, I've decided to buck this tradition, and have recently launched a gofundme. The idea was spurred by some new friends, and I think it could help me reach a larger audience. I'll go into more of my reasoning, which works would benefit most from this funding, and what drove this particular decision at a later point, but for now, I simply wish to say that I have done this thing which is supremely unlike myself.
In the next posts, I'll be going over what my methods of writing have been up until this point, what has worked, what hasn't, and how I got smuggled into the Hugo afterparty.
I hope you all have had a wonderful week, and I'll see you soon!