It’s been the story of my life for quite some time, feeling like the person standing out in the rain looking through the window while people he knows are warm and dry inside having a great time. In high school, I was the outsider. I wasn’t cool enough to hang with the cool crowd, not geeky enough to hang with the geeks and not athletic enough to hang with the jocks. I travelled between cliques, bouncing around to acquaintances I had in each group. Some of the friends I made were through whatever girlfriend I had at the time and the circle she hovered in, the band, the chorus, but I still felt like the outsider, only there because of someone else.
Fast forward to today, the present…well, the past 5 or 6 years at least. I’ve been toying around with cartooning since the third grade, the last years of elementary school were the last years I really belonged to a crowd, and although my stuff was rough, I was making improvements both in writing and drawing, steadily. I tried my hand at breaking through the syndication side, but again, on the outside looking in. I could never break through. Brought it to the internet and picked up a few dozen fans here and there, but nothing huge like I saw others achieve…on the outside looking in.
I followed the guides, the how-to’s, joined the major social media networks, became interactive, joined a few collectives along the way and watched as whatever I did, as others did and achieved moderate success, major success, amounted to nothing earth shattering. I read the sad stories other creators had and sympathized with them, sharing their stories, their new endeavors, helping them boost their likes and watched as in one day, they gained 500 and the next 1000. I put out my own pages, asking for help in getting eyeballs on and sat, one day, 2 or 3 likes, the next, nothing, slow trickles until I reached, with Willow’s Grove 144 likes and with the novel I self published…forty-two…42. On the outside looking in. Hell, the amount of money I made on sales of Accidental Earthling last year was so small, the tax software I used just laughed at me after putting in the number and replaced it with a zero…a big fat goose egg. Not even enough to claim on taxes.
I’m not writing this for sympathy, just as an outlet to release it from my shoulders, or an attempt to as I, like many others, am struggling through the years, wondering just how long until I pop, until the money runs out completely, that day to day stress, the unknowing, the wondering why I’m always the one on the outside looking in. Sure, people I talk to say I’m good, I’m funny, I shouldn’t give up, that one day it’ll happen. I’ve been waiting for that one day to happen for nearly 30 years now, hitting the streets, the internet, peddling my wares, pressing the flesh, getting smiles and nods, but still, here I am outside that big, glass window, standing in the rain while others are inside and having a great time.
No more. You want me to like something, sure, like me back. You want me to promote your craft, absolutely, as long as you return the favor. You want me to feel sympathy to your plight and lend a shoulder to cry on, go right ahead, I have two, big, strong shoulders for you to rest your weary head upon and cry a river of tears, but just remember, I have troubles too and you had better take the time to listen to my troubles and offer your shoulders back. Otherwise, hey, sorry to hear, hope you do well, but *shrugs*, I’ve got a mountain of the same over here.