When I started writing Just A Geek back in September or October of last year, I never thought that it would turn into a real book. My plan, honestly, was just to collect some weblog entries, write an introduction, and present it as an off-line version of WWdN.
But the more I wrote, the more I saw a story emerge. It was the story of these two people, who I'll call Real LIfe Wil and TVsWilWheaton, and how they hated each other, but couldn't exist without the other. When one of them was happy, the other one usually wasn't: TVsWilWheaton wanted fame and fortune, and needed to prove to his detractors that he wasn't just a long-forgotten flavor of the month. Real Life Wil hated the spotlight, hated that he was so addicted to the praise and attention of anyone who would give it, and just wanted to be with his wife and stepkids. The problem was, Real Life Wil couldn't be happy unless TVsWilWheaton was satisfied. Just A Geek is about how I got these two characters in balance, and more-or-less put TVsWilWheaton on a Bus to Beelzebub, so Real Life Wil can listen to Sugar Free Jazz.
When I started writing it, it was easy. The stories connected together in a logical way, and I discovered lots of stuff about myself as I put them together.
Somewhere along the line, though, I realized the magnitude of what I was doing, and I panicked. After finishing the first draft, I saw stuff I didn't like, and when I tried to rewrite it, I totally lost my focus. I also lost an editor, my muse, and began to question whether it was even worth finishing. I didn't work on it for over a month, and seriously thought about giving up on the project.
See, I'm terrified. One thing TVsWilWheaton and Real Life Wil agree on is, we don't like to do things that suck. We're both perfectionists, and as much as we shouldn't, we care what other people think of our endeavors.
If a movie sucks (Book of Days, for example, or Python) there are lots of things to blame it on: weak script, bad editing, lazy actors . . . and I can usually find something about my work that I like. But if this book sucks, if people just hate it . . . they are pretty much hating me, because it's just me between those covers, you know?
Somehow, I've managed to stick with it, and I'm working on the final draft now . . . but I haven't been able to sleep much recently, and I am filled with self-doubt. I'm too far along to give up, though, so I will keep at it.
My friend Roger once told me that if I ever decided to become a film maker, I'd spend ten years on a project, and never release it, because I'm such a perfectionist. I think he was on to something.