One of the hardest things I had to come to grips with about writing is just how goddam little people care about my scintillating brilliance. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll bet if you got most writers drunk they’d admit they secretly thought they were geniuses. Writing, whether it’s comics or epic poetry, requires a certain amount of gumption, after all. If you’re not a little bit deluded, you’re never going to do it.
But one of the deadliest mistakes a writer can make – and I wince when I see people doing it – is to proclaim their story with terms like “revolutionary”, “awe-inspiring”, and, worst of all “mass market appeal”. Ten times out of ten, people who do are just covering up their own insecurities.
I very quickly realized the measure of success for Rex Mundi wouldn’t be changing the world, it would be simply finishing the story. So many comics creators start out doe-eyed and giddy with their first issue – that was definitely true for EricJ and me – but all of that enthusiasm gets sucked pretty dry pretty quickly. Deadlines! Production costs! Delays! Miscommunications! Negative reviews! You’re lucky to make it past the third issue.
Forget “revolutionary” – does your story make sense? Is it entertaining? Is it worth your readers’ money, and, more importantly, their time?
Cobbling together a story without too many holes, or creating characters that are halfway human is really hard. It’s easy to turn off the TV and say “I could write better things in the snow with my pee” … until you actually try it, at which point all that yellow snow starts to look like solid gold. A little humility will get you a lot farther than a lot of self-proclaimed genius.