But I can say, personally, that I used to struggle with a self-conception that left me feeling like I was either boring as hell or, alternately, pursuing something useless and silly. My work happens inside my head. It happens quietly as I put pencil to paper, or as I pad out an essay on my swish little laptop keyboard. I am internal, probably 90% of my day. And I often thought that this was the way it had to be.
Which is dumb.
One of my main mantras is that history is creative. I also feel that knowledge is made to be shared. That adults should perpetuate imagination. That daydreams are productive. And if I lock up my mind in a fortress for the majority of my day, without sharing my thoughts, then I’m defeating all of these purposes and beliefs.
But…what if people don’t want to know what’s inside my mind? What if they don’t care about the work I do? The characters I write? The things I think? The daydreams with whom I converse? (Oh, just you wait, I anthropomorphize everything.)
Well, to be perfectly honest, there are some people who just won’t care.
But if I assume that everyone is uninterested, then the fault is mine. If I don’t give people the chance to be interested, then they won’t be interested, and I’ll just keep propagating a false version of myself.
I don’t want to spend it all in one place–I’ll keep some authorial secrets. However, I have realized that if I wait until my projects feel perfect, and I’m ready for them step out into the 10% time I spend on interaction, then it’s always going to be a jarring, disjointed, exhausting procedure when they do. I’ll always have that badgering self-doubt, and I’ll always need a week of solitude to recuperate.
But if I share my work along the way, not only do I open the possibility to new friends and contacts, but I also cultivate interest and, really, further my own happiness.
Because the fact of the matter is, I love what I do.
I’m really damn lucky in that respect. And I’m tired of pretending that history is tedious or dry or forced to mix itself up in restrictive jargon. I’m tired of feeling silly when I sit down to do creative writing and character construction. I don’t want to be anything less than genuine anymore.
If you love what you do, why not be a bit of a fanboy about it? Why not just straight up say, this is amazing stuff right here. Life would be so much more fun if people would just find work that captivates them and then own the fact that it does. If people would just inhabit their work, and build a world they love.
And so here it is.
Here is my world.
Here is the stuff that captivates me.