I used to write fan fiction.
Somewhere, buried deep in the darkest depths of the internet, hidden on a long-forgotten forum are some incredibly cringe-worthy bits of Dark Angel fan fiction.
If anyone remembers Dark Angel then, congratulations, you win many cool points (only redeemable in conversation with me, and what for I don't know*). If you don't, then you aren't missing a great deal, just mostly Jessica Alba racing around Seattle on the back of a motorcycle and beating up villains whilst wearing heels. Well, I say all this but truthfully I quite like the series still and [EDIT: I had to go back after finishing this blog and redact what was almost an entire paragraph critiquing the series. I'll bore you with that in person, unless you have cool points to spend and can cash them in to avoid that happening entirely].
Let's get back to the point (there was one, I promise). I have come to terms with the fact that I probably embarrassed myself then with my fan fiction and may be doing exactly the same now with The Great Hand. At least this project isn't essentially me living out my teenage fantasy of being a slim, athletic super hero. It is, however, a reflection of me (unsurprising considering I wrote it, right?) and that's just a tiny bit terrifying. I'm a private person (other than my propensity to bother my friends with entirely too many pictures of my daughter) and prefer to keep my life to myself, but here is an iteration of me on the screen (maybe one day on paper) for everyone to examine. Button, my protagonist, is confused, anxious and lost at the beginning of the book. I won't spoil it for everyone by revealing whether this state endures until the end, but it's safe to say that these character traits dictate a lot of her decisions. I was a total mess throughout most of my early twenties and Button became the vessel for a lot of this angst. Now, I'm happy to say, I have plenty enough distance on this period in my life that I am able to look at her and her behaviour and see it as alien to my own, but I'm still working on not finding her embarrassing.
Because I do.
I find my fictional character embarrassing.
This is because I'm still too close to it to be able to go "hey, it's fine that Button is essentially me at that age. It's totally okay that that's out there for almost anyone to see. I'm absolutely, 100% cool about that. In fact, I embrace it!" Still, I'm doing it, the book is out there, I'm letting it be and will have to just deal with the consequences. This isn't even touching on other concerns which include worrying as to whether my spelling and grammar are right (I know there are still errors aplenty abound in there - I WILL FIND THEM AND DESTROY THEM).
Okay, so my point (here it is, I told you it was coming) is that I am prepared to be embarrassed at some later stage in my life when something about this project comes back to bite me in the bottom. At least with my DA FF (as we called it in the business), it's buried and it only came to the attention of a few fans on a forum that probably doesn't exist anymore**. This, however, is on the internet good and proper AND I've drawn it to the attention of my friends, the people who I don't intend to cut and run from if it turns out that this was all a horrible mistake. Or when. When this turns out to a horrible mistake.
Despite all this, however, I'm going to keep doing it and will have to keep bracing myself for the outcome. And I think more people should do the same. Put up your stuff, even if it's just a rough draft or whatever the equivalent is, whether it's painting or modelling or vlogging
or amateur porn, because I am pretty sure that you get better a lot quicker when other people are involved***. If you're lucky, like I am, you'll have friends who'll review your work and give you pointers or support or both. You may even be surprised, as I have been. People who don't know me, who only have my work to go on, have actually bought my book. Real, honest to Hand, humans with actual money have paid for my book. They may never get it if I don't reach my goal (PLUG PLUG) but still, that's incredible and has made me feel pretty good. That wouldn't have happened if I hadn't of risked the embarrassment.
Okay, I think that made sense. Most of it. Enough of it.
*Please avoid the obvious joke.
** Please nobody try to prove me wrong and find the stuff. Your eyes will probably bleed as soon as you look upon it.
***Particularly when it comes to porn AMIRITE
***Particularly when it comes to porn AMIRITE