The @wilw Effect: Anat’s Ambition

I haven’t seen The Will Wheaton Project yet, but I imagine I will like it. If you haven’t heard, it’s his new show on SyFy. I read interviews with him about this, and how lucky he feels and how happy he is with it. I’m sure it will be grand!

I know that life is complicated for everyone, and that he must face a lot of hardships in his life, too, but seeing someone you admire so much get a dream come true is really amazing. And it also hurts. It hurts because I want to chase my dreams, too. It hurts because there’s something I want as badly! I want to tell the story of Seraphim so badly it aches. I want to tell stories. It’s what I want to do with my life. Not Excel sheets, not getting paid to chase someone else’s dream.

When I was little I wanted to be a animator, then later a movie director, then a writer, then a game designer– that’s why I moved to Canada, to study game design. I realized in the last few years that what I wanted most of all was to be able to tell my stories. It’s what all these jobs have in common (although my understanding of the job of animator was limited when I was little). It’s why I DM tabletop RPs, it’s why I read and write and draw. I want to tell stories!

It must be like this for every webcomic creator. That burning inside that makes you tear your insides to draw out the story you want to tell. That makes you sit at your desk and draw and write and tell and work and fight for it… Not to say this isn’t hard work, and it is hard work and sometimes I just want to give up and play video games instead, but there’s a drive there. A drive I can’t quite describe.

You see people like Will Wheaton on television or on the web, and you know that he had to work hard to get where he is today. He has famous friends, maybe, and connections, but his work stands out on its own. You can look and know that it’s the merit of his work that got him where he is now. You look and see a man who understands how lucky he is. I want a piece of luck. Please.
Then I look around me at people with amazing talent. Some only have the talent and choose to do other things. They say they want things but they don’t chase them. They tell you when you’re little “work hard and you can do anything”, but there are so many people who are working so hard and their dreams are no closer than they were years ago. Then I look down at my own chubby pink fingers. My work. I cannot say if I have talent, if I’m a good artist or good storyteller. I do my best, but how often have you seen people whose best simply isn’t good enough? There are always people better than you. At everything. All the time. I try to define my art by those who enjoy it, and by the love I put into it. At VanCAF last weekend I saw so very many artists telling so many varied stories. Their art is often better drawn than mine, their stories told in ways that connect and explain better, perhaps. But all I can create is my own art, and all I can tell is my own story. And then there’s the nagging doubt inside my head that says “Your best is never good enough. Will never be good enough.” His buddy, the “Stop wasting your time and money on a dream that can never come true” shows joins the party, too, “You could be relaxing and hanging out and playing video games,” He says, sitting and looking me in the eye, “You know you’re not good enough,” He reasons, “Look at the Google Analytics for your site. You have so few readers! Your art’s mediocre at best (you never did go to school for it) and your writing’s childish. There are artists out there who sneeze on paper and people flock to them. If it’s this much work to get it noticed, it can’t be that good to begin with. If it was good people would naturally link it and talk about it and it would succeed.”

I’m not sure if these self-doubts are something that everyone hears in their head, or if years of low-self esteem and depression are rearing their ugly head again with me, but… But I’ve learned something long ago; if you don’t chase your dream you will certainly never get it. If you don’t ask you will certainly never get an answer. Saying “Well, it would have probably not worked out anyway” is common, but I won’t have it! I don’t have connections, or a ton of talent just gushing out from my finger tips. I have a ton of problems and roadblocks and issues that get in the way. But I also have a ton of love and courage in me to try and chase.

Yesterday I spoke with a coworker who had to leave early to go to an audition for an acting job. He said “It’s just an audition. I’m not anything yet.” And I thought about it and said “How many people say they want to be actors, but don’t chase it? You’re closer to your dream than all those people. You’re actually chasing it instead of only talking about it. You’re actually going to a real audition. How many people dream of it and never do it?” He nodded and said I had a point, and I thought about myself and Seraphim. How many people say they have a great idea for a webcomic, and how many people actually take the time to make it? How many stick with it with the obscurity and trials? I’m closer to my dream simply by chasing it. I’ve gone through the process of printing my comics and succeeded in creating a product good enough to put at VanCAF. I’ve sold a few of those copies. Some people at VanCAF looked at my work and said “This is worth a small portion of my hard worked money.” They thought it was worth something. Do you know how amazing that feels? Someone like me, who grew up thinking she didn’t exist? (Yes, Clou gets it from me).

I want to do Seraphim full time. I want to give you guys 4 updates a week, and actually get the story going! It’s been a year and a half and the story’s still just beginning. I want to go to more conventions and tell more people about my stories. So seeing Will Wheaton get his dreams come true time after time (Tabletop season 3 and this Will Wheaton project) is both magnificently inspiring and painful. Painful how much I want it, and how far away I feel from any of my dreams.

Anat.

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2 Responses to The @wilw Effect: Anat’s Ambition

  1. Stig Hemmer says:

    You have talent. Never doubt that. You are a story teller and an artist.

    But sometimes that is not enough. Making money from comics is hard. Making a living from comics is INSANELY hard. In addition to your art skills it also takes marketing, which is a completely different skill set. Do you have that? There are a number of tutorials on the net about how to market, but I don’t know how good they are.

    If you choose to try, I wish you the best of luck.

    If you choose to keep you job and do this on your spare time, I will understand it.

    If, on the other hand, you decide to quit totally, I will claim that you are probably making a mistake. Even if you can’t make a living from this, you should do it for that feeling of having created something and thereby made the world a better place.

    Just my opinion, it is obviously your decision to make.

    • Anat says:

      Stig, your words are wise.
      I’m not in this to make money, but I’ve had such terrible luck with jobs that doing this for a living sounds truly like the best of dreams. I will continue doing this, there’s very little that’ll stop me. I did not intend to have this post as a “success or bust” kinda post. I am telling this story because I’m deeply passionate about it. I will tell this story for as long as I am physically capable for continuing to tell it.
      Thank you for your kind words, and don’t worry! I’m in this for the long haul and for the passion of love of creating. It’s just that being successful sounds really nice from time to time. 😉

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