Friday, May 25, 2018

Vaguebooking, vague winning, and vague failing

I’m not one to criticize people for vaguebooking good news, because I have a genuine joy in my heart for friends and loved ones getting to do cool stuff, getting paid, or otherwise accomplishing great things. I’m not big on the practice myself because my crippling sense of reality is constantly whispering in my ear that whatever good thing I’ve got in the works can fall apart at any moment. This little voice was not quieted when I was working on a massive project with the potential to change every aspect of my professional life, and I chose to keep quiet about it even as things became more concrete - and it exploded in my face.

This isn’t a new story, there’s a reason people don’t make announcements until the ink is dry, or even better - until someone else announces it. When I was asked to join the editorial team at Shotgun Honey, it was hard not to tell everyone right away, but it felt a hell of a lot better to see it go out on the Shotgun Honey site. Official is always better.
I don’t tire of this joke, and cannot (will not) commit to not using this as the title of my memoir.

If you’re wondering — Yes, I decided not to vague book about something cool so I could come here and vague blog about it. It’s intensely frustrating and exciting to have big news that’s still juuuussst up in the air enough that I’m not ready to blab about it and be embarrassed later. I don’t even have all the information yet, so I wouldn’t even know how to explain this cool thing that’s (almost surely) happening. I’m writing this because although the experience I talked about in the opening of this blog taught me that yes, anything can blow up at any moment before it’s actually done - it also taught me that it’s really hard to talk about huge, life changing failures when you have to explain to everyone you want to talk to that you had a huge, life changing opportunity in the first place.

It’s important to be professional, and it’s important not to say “This is going to happen!” When there are reasons it may not - but I think we all do better with a heavy helping of honesty. This new thing isn’t as big as the thing that fell apart, but it’s exciting. I want to share my excitement and joy, and I want to have learned my lesson about toiling in silence only to suffer in silence when things fall apart.

Things falling apart, soul crushing rejection, and dashed hopes really are an unavoidable aspect of the creative path — or any path that requires risk taking and ambition to move forward. We have to accept that to survive, so why the secrecy? Writing is a lonely pursuit tranformed by social media, reading series, and conferences. We’re a community — so let’s not keep things from each other. Let’s celebrate vague news and rally round when things fall apart. Vaguebook the SHIT out of whatever thing you’ve got going on, so when that cool thing is released to the world we can all be stoked together — or, if it falls apart, we don’t have to give a twenty minute backstory before we can get the disappointment off our chests.

Anyway - watch this space! Cool things are afoot.