I Just Don’t Care Anymore
A lot of things have changed since I came back to writing fiction. I think the biggest one is that I stopped caring.
I don’t care how long it takes anymore. I used to feel the intense pressure of completing projects. Now, it just doesn’t seem as important. It’ll get there when it gets there. I have a life, and writing is part of it, but it’s no longer the biggest or most central part.
I don’t care how big my audience is. It’s kind of fun to have a small audience, really. I get to actually interact with it. Plus, I get to call you all my “threes of fans.” That sounds more fun than “thousands of fans.”
I don’t care anymore what the rules are according to other people. The Internet is chock full of writing advice, and I just don’t care about any of it anymore. I will on occasion skim something that looks interesting, but for the most part, none of it really seems all that helpful, compelling, or appealing.
I don’t care about money anymore. I really don’t. Do you know how freeing that is? Knowing that whether I make enough in a given month to buy a cup of coffee or enough to pay my mortgage (this has never happened, by the way) isn’t the be all and end all of my career? It just doesn’t matter. And while I have reluctantly set prices for all of my work on Amazon, I will happily send free copies of my work in any format to anyone who asks me.
I don’t care about what other Christians think of my work. For one thing, it seems like there is a growing exhaustion with the “sermon as art” mentality, so maybe the fact that I don’t feel quite so alone anymore is a contributing factor to my ambivalence toward the artistic opinions of other Christians. I guess I just sort of decided that I wasn’t going to take artistic advice from people who think “Fireproof” was the best movie on marriage ever but won’t give Harry Potter the time of day because Satan or something.
I still care a little bit about what my secular audience thinks of my work. I don’t want to scare people off with too many religious overtones. But I guess I’ve sort of landed on the “my work will find its audience” side of the coin, and on that side, the work just becomes what it’s meant to become and doesn’t worry too much about what people think.
There’s exactly one thing I still care about: quality.
I will still strive to always make good art. This is the one thing I care about. My audience deserves it, my characters deserve it, and the world deserves it. The world is improved by good art, and good art pleases God.
Everything else is just gravy.
And that’s why I stopped caring about all that other stuff. I realized it was just gravy. It’s not important. If I’m focused on writing the best stories I can write, then it doesn’t matter what someone else on the Internet says about the rules I’m breaking or whether I make any money or whether my work is too clean or too edgy or anything else, really.
Maybe this is where that Neil Gaiman commencement speech finally sank in. Maybe I just feel this way today because I have a wicked cold. Maybe I’m finally growing up. I don’t know.
I just know that at some point I stopped caring, and not caring anymore is the freest I’ve ever felt when it comes to my creative endeavors.