‘You want to win the war? Know what you’re fighting for’
It turns out that I’ve been approaching this blogging thing all wrong. Driven by emotion and relying on fits of blind rage, narcissism and brief moments of placated happiness to fuel my creativity, I’ve never really stopped to take note of the brand that I was creating. I saw myself as a singularity; an individual comprising of unique thought processes and idiosyncrasies that could never be accurately labelled through a title or brand. I mean, I’m a man goddamn it! I’m no fucking brand….
…But in the eyes of many that’s exactly what I am. See, publishers and agents are always on the hunt for new talent to represent and (hopefully) turn a profit off of their investments in. Regardless of whether I want to be typecast or not, they will forever try to pigeonhole me and my writing based off what I say and do. When my work is bought before them for review, they are not just taking a surface level look at my writing. They are assessing my character and my brand through the tales I chose to tell and the manner in which I do so. They want someone they can market, so they need to be able to define who I am and what I stand for through labelling me.
Case and point: my vulgarity. I swear a lot. And oftentimes when I do so it is to really drive home a point I’m trying to make. But for some, that vulgarity can be offensive and see me labelled as a foul mouthed kid with a lack of respect.
-Trust me. I’ve heard that before. And if we are being totally honest it’s a half truth. I’m arrogant as sin and about as foul mouthed as they come. But I’m all about respect. You’ve just got to earn it.
So then, what kind of brand have I established for myself over the duration of running this blog? Well, one that isn’t great. I’ve painted myself as an emotionally unstable narcissist with a deep routed hate for others. I’ve established myself as a wolf with a penchant for bloodlust and a tongue laced with acid. According to this site I’m an arsehole. And while my own bouts of self-loathing ultimately allow me to grow and develop as a writer, they act as a red flag to anyone considering investing in my work. I mean, if you had outlay time, money, and effort on an up and coming author or artist, would you realistically be willing to take a gamble on someone so ready to destroy everything on a whim? Shit, I wouldn’t.
Which means that it’s time to reinvent myself; time to pull on my surgeon’s mask, clasp a scalpel in my hand and intricately reshape the flesh of this page. So a few weeks ago I did exactly that, I fleshed out the best and the worst that I had to offer and I wrote pieces that took harsher and harsher views on myself until it came to a head in The Flood. I built upon Aristotle’s concepts of dramatic construction and I bought about my own assassination of character. And then I stopped and waited for the gravity of my writing to settle as the Chris Nicholas of old lay broken for the world to see. I fended off constant questioning as to whether I was feeling alright and pushed through awkward conversations about mental health with people who could never understand what I was trying to achieve. I wanted to quite literally prove that what didn’t kill me was only going to make me stronger. I just had to take myself to the edge of my own sanity one last time and know that I was crazy enough to jump, yet strong enough to walk away.
From there I waited for two weeks. Watching the number of people frequenting my site fluctuate in my absence before I finally decided to post something new. I waited because it seemed only fitting that if I was to rebrand and expand my own mind and diversify the nature of my postings that there needed to be a definitive line in the sand that noted where I was and where I am heading next.
So then the question becomes where am I heading next?
Somewhere positive. Somewhere grand. Somewhere exciting and fresh. I’m taking steps to make peace with my past so that I can move forward and enjoy my future. Someone close to me recently asked if I had ever been truly happy in life and the question hit me like a sucker punch from a heavyweight boxer. The truth is that I have known great happiness in most aspects of my existence, but I’ve always placed so much emphasis on my lack of continual successes as a writer that I’ve never been happy in my career. At times that frustration and disappointment has spilled over into other areas of my life and I’ve become bitter, twisted, and self-destructive. My brand as a writer was reflective of this for a long time. I was angry, unnecessarily aggressive, and fighting against anything I could just for the sake of fighting. I was burning myself out just to sustain the anger I thought that I needed to be creative.
I spent a long time failing to realise that the world is far larger than I can comprehend. I spent years believing that there was nothing more important than what I thought and felt, and the struggles I faced on a daily basis. I dedicated space on this site to trivial issues that seemed so grand, but were in reality just hurdles on my journey to success. But now I’m opening my eyes and seeing the world for what it really is. And by doing so, by understanding that this world owes me nothing, I’m more determined than ever to stop fighting for the sake of it and work my arse off to achieve my goals.
Whereas my brand was once disjointed, it is now focused and determined. I’m still arrogant and headstrong. But with dreams as large as mine I need every ounce of that stubbornness to succeed. I’m driven by passion, raw emotion, and the occasional spate of narcissism, but I’m no longer foolish enough to allow myself to become consumed by feelings that I ultimately must remain in control of. I’m the best writer to tell my stories; there is no one more capable and qualified to deliver the messages I have for this world. And I’m still a mother fucking wolf. But unlike the past I now realise that I’m not designed to hurt and maim. I’m not required to fight every damn fight that comes my way and I’m not stupid enough to tear myself apart out of frustration or boredom.
I’m a wolf capable of causing great destruction, but my true strength comes in my new found restraint. I know how to grab an opponent by the throat and tear the life out of them, but I chose to select my battles. I fight to protect those that are close to me or advance my own cause. There’s no honour in fighting every battle and living a life of constant anger. But there is honour in rebranding oneself as something more than the enraged boy I once was.
You can’t truly embrace the future until you can learn from the past and enjoy living in the present. So my rebranding begins now. It starts with clear, concise direction moving forward. Every post on here, every chapter I add to my novels, every damn poem or song I scribble in my notebooks hones my skills and gets me closer than ever before to becoming a published author.
There’s a line in the sand. Mark it. From this point on everything changes.