September and October always tend to bring huge changes to my life. September almost always sucks (though this one was saved by the Minus 5) and October almost always rocks my socks off. So it probably shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that I found myself doing a lot of what my psych major friends would call “life evaluation.” I’d just call it getting pissed and then getting over it while learning something new.
I started writing for Flagpole a year ago, almost to the day. To be perfectly honest, I had no clue what I was getting into. At that point, I had only this blog and a small story in UGAzine to my name. The idea of actual feedback on an article was a foreign one. As was the idea of comment trolls like “painful to read” who seek out my Homedrone posts and beg me to just stop writing all together. Most days, it doesn’t bother me but it hit me this past week. Hard. I spent two days driving myself crazy with self-doubt, wondering why I was even still writing if all I wrote is crap.
Then something happened. I began to get over it and get over myself. It really helped talking to Robert and Gordon about some of my doubts. I’m not a great writer by any means but I’m trying to get there and that’s what’s important. Gordon knows what it’s like to get ripped to shreds in the comments. His attitude is “if it’s a substantial complaint, fix it, otherwise, who cares?”. A good policy and one I’m hoping to adopt.
Truly, negative feedback comes with the gig. Like bands getting torn apart in an album review, you do your growing up publicly. Such is the nature of our trade. Any doubts, fears, misspelled words or missed opportunities, they’re all there on the Internet with your name attached and found in .68 seconds thanks to Google. There’s really no other way to get better at what I do than to just take some of those punches and ignore the inane ones. Seems like a simple concept but I have no clue why it took me this long to figure it out.
The turning point really came when I borrowed a five year old copy of Chunklet (why did no one tell me of this magazine before!?). The writing style is completely different than mine. Crude, unapologetic, and downright mean sometimes. I love it. But it was a phrase on the bottom of a page that really caught my eye. “You become overrated if you take yourself too seriously,” it proclaimed. Well, it didn’t proclaim so much as just sit there but it struck me as profound at three in the morning.
I may not be the most experienced writer out there but damn it, I’ve done a few great pieces. I’ve also written a lot of crap but that’s what it takes to get better. Writing day in and day out. If I get pummeled in the comments section or shredded like cheddar online, it’s worth it. I made the mistake of taking myself too seriously. There are a few bands in town that have done the same but you live and learn. Life’s too short to not have fun.
So that’s it. If you’ve read this far and are wondering why the hell you’ve read this far, I should remind you that this blog started out as a personal diary of Athens music. I’m back to having fun with my writing after a long period of writing just for writing’s sake. If some people don’t agree with this blog or my stuff in Flagpole, good. Just makes it all the more interesting and a hell of a lot more fun.