Wolf at the Door

‘There was whiskey in the devils blood; and there was blood in my cup.’

-Keith Buckley

I used to think that I was really intelligent; that I was this supreme thinker who was going to redefine what it meant to be a writer in the modern day. I thought that my opinions were always well educated and justified. I cussed at conventional wisdom and dished out advice to anyone foolish enough to listen. I was the proverbial blind leading the blind. And I was leading myself and anyone who followed off of a precipice. I genuinely thought that I was better than others. I told myself that I didn’t need university, or advice from those who had achieved before me, or anyone at all. I shut out the world by trying to prematurely transcend beyond it.

In reality I wasn’t nearly as smart as I thought and I wasn’t better than my peers. And I wasn’t ever going to achieve anything or find happiness with the arrogant mindset of a child. What I was though was bitter, irrational, and so damn angry at myself for failing to actually live up to my own obscure ideals that the anger began to manifest itself in depression and anxiety. I told myself that I wanted to be successful; that I damn well deserved to be. But I wasn’t really willing to put in the work to make my dreams a reality. I was so blinded by my own inflated ego that I’d forgotten to produce anything worth reading.

I wanted to dance with the devil. But whenever the bastard rose to meet me I realised that I wasn’t ready for the challenge. Here I was trying to move with the best of them when I hadn’t even learned how to crawl.

I was screwing up every opportunity afforded me. I was too arrogant to bother studying and began failing subjects; too self-absorbed to realise that I was posting rants and dribbling bullshit that I started haemorrhaging readers. And too concerned with stroking my own ego that I couldn’t see just how far my head was stuck up my arse.

At my most arrogant I wrote a post on this site where I expressed a yearning to dethrone all those who had achieved before me. I wanted to drag down the literary greats and take my place as a God. Press my foot against their neck and watch them cower in fear. The idea was noble, but incredibly naïve. I wasn’t the wolf at the door I claimed to be; I was a boy trapped in a cage, pounding at the glass while others mocked my dreams of being free.

When I finally realised that I wasn’t the man I thought I was, or the man I wanted to be, I decided to start over. I took the first character I had ever created, a soldier by the name of Jason Dark, and I started writing a story worth telling. For the first time in years I was producing something that wasn’t just an egotistical wank; instead I wrote a story that I myself would actually like to read. Then I expanded and I started doing the same thing here at Renegade Press. If I stumbled across a site curated by a callous writer spruiking his ego in poorly written postings I would be embarrassed for them. Yet I was doing exactly that.

So I changed. As hard as it was I changed. I tore down the idea of who I thought I was and gave up on being a prick and started focusing on being a writer instead.

I have started studying properly. Well, kind of. I still have to force myself to prioritise university over my more creative endeavours, but I’m getting there. I’m learning to listen to the advice of those who have achieved before me rather than attempting to prove them wrong. And I have started reaching out to the artists, writers, and musicians that inspired me in an effort to let them know just how beautiful their works really were. I still want to dance with the devil, so I’ve taught myself to crawl. Now with my debut novel now in print I’m starting to walk. I still have a hell of a lot to learn before I can move like him, but I’m prepared to bust my arse to make it happen.

I’ll outdance him before his peers, leave him stunned and speechless. Then I’ll tap his veins, fill my cup with his blood and become the man who did the unthinkable. I’ll break out of the cage of ignorance I built for myself, and become a wolf tearing down the door.

It turns out that I’m not as intelligent as I once chose to believe. And I’m perfectly fine with that. In fact, I prefer it that way. I still have so much to learn in this industry and even though I’m now a published author, I’m still no better or important than someone spilling their thoughts onto a page for the very first time. I’m still arrogant; at times I encourage myself to bare my fangs. I want to be aggressive; I want to be vicious and unafraid. But I want to do be more cerebral when doing so. There’s nothing gained from savaging oneself or others in the pursuit of success. There’s nothing gained from believing you are too good to crawl. If you don’t start at the bottom you’ll never truly appreciate the view from the top.

You can’t be a wolf at the door if you’re still trapped inside a cage.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

10 thoughts on “Wolf at the Door”

  1. You just remind me of myself. I;m so ashamed but thank you for much for this post, I’ve been there before, and I strive so hard to change my mindset each and everyday.

  2. You are 100% right (or should that be ‘write’?) It’s good to know that one has talent, but there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Every time I cross it, I fail spectacularly!

  3. When I retired from teaching, I said to my friends that I was going to write a children’s book. I’ve spent a lot of my life writing and I do it pretty well, but to be truthful, not a lot of creative writing. Having read to my children and now my grandchildren a lot, and using kid’s lit in the classroom as a teacher, I thought, yeah, I can do that. What a fool I was. It’s much harder than I thought it would be, and I’d have to say I’m not succeeding very well. I do have a writing group, I have taken a few online courses, and I totally envy those people I know who have actually had book or article published. So congratulations on your book, and your change in attitude; it’s obviously serving you well.

  4. Hmmmm, what convinced you in the first place. LeBron James thinks he’s the best basketball player on earth because he beats the best four times a week. I think I’m a creative thinker because peoole with no incentive to kiss my ass tell me so and use my ideas successfully. Earned confidence is great. “Inevitability” as source of confidence is called conceit.

    I wonder if you were taking the idea of essentialism seriously. The idea that I am inevitability, naturally whatever and therefore that’s my identity.

    Might I humbly submit that essentialism is bullshit. You are what you do.

  5. I love this heartfelt post! I like to tell it like it is on my blog too and I try to keep it humorous bc I’m prone to depression and anxiety too. But, I find it’s worse when I don’t even try. I have a huge fear of failure and I have to fight that on a daily basis. Ty for sharing your feelings. Also, Ty for stopping by my blog and liking my post! I just followed your blog. 🙂

  6. Really good post. Can’t help but share two thoughts, even though they miss the point:
    You won’t out dance the devil, you won’t move like him with your new found humility because his dance is all about pride and ego.
    Also, Jesus beat you to it – He tapped his veins and filled His cup and did the unthinkable, which is why I aspire to dance with Him.
    Really good post.

  7. It is so easy in writing to get caught up in the idea of saying something important, something game-changing, something no one else has ever written, and that can be paralysing every time you take up a pen or sit down at a keyboard. There are no new stories, only new ways of telling them. It takes us time to realize that the real art is to say something that’s true to you, and to say it well.

  8. Dear friend Chris,
    I love your post and this appear as my own story, Like you I was also thinking myself self sufficient and creative but in fact I was not better than a bin bag . I realized it slowly and stated learning and still today I am learning. Soon I realize I am miles behind most of others, I will take mammoth efforts to be at par. But when I read people like you, I confirms that I am not only special child around there are more in pursuit of excellence.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. Keep blogging

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