Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Give Yourself a License

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do, Too

I wonder when I'll get to the point where I'll feel like Mark Rosewater whenever he mentions the book A Whack on the Side of the Head and references his own repeated mentions of the book. Well, actually, I'm doing that right now, but it's not the same. I'm sure there are a good chunk of readers reading this saying, "Hey, I've never experienced you mentioning the oddly-titled A Whack on the Side of the Head before. I've never read you!" The reason why I'm bringing up the book yet again is because of one lesson in the book that I hold to be very important life lesson. And in light of my recent activity, I wanted to share that lesson with you.

Whack tells you that if you want to be creative, you have to start by giving yourself a license to be creative. This means no holding any thoughts in your head that say, "I'm not creative." followed by "I never will be creative." or "I'll be creative some day." Nay, you have to let yourself accept the fact that you are creative. When you rid yourself of yourself holding you back, you can start pushing yourself forward.

While Whack talks about creativity when referring to giving yourself a license, I find that you can apply this to anything you'd ever want to be. For example, if you want to be a Magic designer, it must first start with letting yourself accept the fact that you are one. Whether or not you're the head of Magic design doesn't matter. However, this doesn't mean you've already got what it takes to be the head of Magic design.

You Can Do It All Night Long

I assure you that I'm not advocating that you improve in your area of expertise. If you want to design Magic cards and are comfortable at the level you're designing them at, then you're fine. If you don't want to get "better" at baseball and simply play catch with your brother or only participate in the softball leagues, then that's O.K., too. You're enjoying what you're doing is the point.

However, let's say you do aspire to work at Wizards of the Coast. You can do it, and you first have to let yourself know, truly, that you can do such things. Then, you'd have to identify what you've gotta do to get there. Get yourself into that mode, and don't let anything stop you. Including yourself.

That brings me to your arch nemesis: you. At first, your arch nemesis was trying to convince you that you weren't a Magic designer and that you could never be one. You don't have the skills, after all. You don't know what the "real designers" know. But, then you sliced your arch nemesis in half with a sword and never looked back since. But, like a Dragonball-Z-reference Frieza, your arch nemesis came back and keeps trying to defeat you with powerful obstacles such as excuses and distractions.

Do or Die

I used to tell myself that I couldn't do things because I just wasn't qualified for it. I didn't have the skills or talent to pull it off. I never did take drama in high school, even though I had entertained the thought of taking drama. I didn't do art projects that a lot of people would see because I didn't think I was good enough for that. I was holding myself back. I was missing the point that doing something a lot will make you better to some degree.

One of my roommates strives to do things that interest her as if nothing is going to stop her. It's really inspirational. She has a notebook she's writing rough drafts in because she wants to write a book. She painted a Rajah (the tiger in Disney's Aladdin) on the wall of inside the pantry because she's practicing for her planned mural business. She's taking classes to prepare her for a family business in the future. She's also seriously planning to do a live-action play reenactment of A Goofy Movie.

What was I doing?

And then The Great Designer Search 2 came along. All of a sudden, I found myself starting that blog I've been wanting to do. I also did a journal comic intending to continually update with them until I realized just how long it was taking me to finish them, which was pulling my focus away from preparing for the competition. I started designing Magic cards before and during the competition. And during my preparation, I had read A Whack on the Side of the head and decided to write on Magic design. If it weren't for GDS2 and the revelation that I can do anything I want just by letting myself do that very thing no matter what, I might never had decided to do Magic design and writing on that design regularly.

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do

I wrote this post because I was in the middle of typing a Facebook status update about my National Novel Writing Month fling. I was trying to explain about how, despite my "not being a writer," I was going to do it, anyway. I was going to dive headfirst into my writing career with fifty-thousand words in thirty days. Actually, I waded around in the shallow end for a little while with updating this blog. But, you get my point.

So, my plan is: writing that novel will help my writing skill, which will help my blog posts be more interesting and garner more attention, which will attract possibly Wizards of the Coast employees' eyes, which will possibly lead to a phone call for an interview for a design position.Hey, it could happen. I'm giving myself a license to be able to make it happen.