Friday, May 5, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Being Both a Geek and a Writer: A Guest Post by Rachel Meyer

Hello and welcome! Today brings us guest post #2 in a series with the working title: "Help Hannah Through Finals!" This post is by Rachel Meyer. She's a writer with plans of publication, a bibliophile, and a movie geek who is burdened with glorious fandoms. She's here to talk about what life looks like as a geek AND writer. Hint: It looks pretty awesome. Enjoy! 

Being a geek and writer at the same time can be a dangerous thing. Much more dangerous than facing down Joker or trying to stop a Zygon invasion. How do I know? Because I am one.

You probably are too if you decided to read this post. Have a virtual high-five from one geeky writer to another. If you're like me, then you'll enjoy reading this post, where I'm going to talk about the pros and cons of being a geek and a writer. They're in no particular order and have absolutely no connection to one another. Except for the fact they're on the same subject.
The Hannah Heath: The Pros and Cons of Being Both a Geek and a Writer: A Guest Post by Rachel Meyer
Pro: You get the best ideas

The movies, TV shows, and books we geek out about can be so inspiring. I know every time I watch something new I get new ideas for my own stories. My sister and I love to bounce ideas back and forth until we have something amazing. (Or outlandish, but whatever.)

Con: Spending time watching shows instead of writing

You want to write. . . but Once Upon a Time. You want to watch Doctor Who. . . but writing. The eternal conundrum of a geeky writer. To write your next bestselling novel or to watch the 3,417 shows you're ten seasons behind on. *Screams and runs in circles*
Me trying to decide between writing or watching shows

Pro: You can see great worldbuilding in action

You have to admit geeky things have some of the best worldbuilding. (Except when they don't.) Lord of the Rings for instance, has some of the best worldbuilding ever. Tolkien was a master world creator and we are all worms, worthless worms in the face of his greatness.
Or think about Doctor Who or Star Wars. Some of the best things about them is their worldbuilding. Although, in the case of Star Wars, it's not so much the planets as the politics.

Con: Spending money on fandoms and having none for writing

Why get that writing course you really could use when you could spend the money on going to Comic-Con (my dream) instead. Or the next book in your favorite series. Or a piece for your cos-play. Deciding between spending money on writing or geek stuff can be so hard. Not to mention all the things you need to actually live, like food and stuff.

Pro: You learn great writing lessons

Whether or not it's a “do this” or “don't do this” lesson depends. But geeky stuff can help you learn. My sister and I often watch a movie and work out where the plot points are and what did or didn't work for us and why. Try it sometime.

One of the best things I think you can learn from geek stuff is how to write good characters. They're the whole reason you watch and love something. Otherwise, why would you watch ten season of a show about a weirdo in a time-traveling police box? Next time you watch something, try to figure out what you like about the characters and why.

Con: Everything you own is themed

You need to put together a nice looking outfit for that writing event you're going to. But when you look through your clothes, most of it is geeky or cos-play. Oops. Or you don't really want people in your bedroom because they'll never believe you're a writer. More like an obsessed uber-nerd fan. Not that I'm an uber-nerd fan in any way. Except for that reference I just made. If you get it, congrats.

Pro: You see how not to do things

Like I was talking about in an earlier point, your geeky obsessions can also show you how not to write something. Like not making your planet the exact same thing all over. (I'm looking at you, Star Wars.) You can learn some valuable lessons from them.

Like I re-watched Captain America: The First Avenger for National Superhero Day, and was discussing with my sister why I never felt sad when Bucky “died”. Even the first time I saw it, before the MCU was a giant hulking beast that is likely to crush us with it's awesomeness. We decided it was because Bucky's “death” did nothing to affect the story. It didn't matter either way.

Pro: Fandoms are always there for you
Life can be discouraging. Rejection letters, harsh criticisms, and one star reviews are in your future if you plan on being a writer. But even on the worst days, your favorite shows, movies, and books are there for you. How can you stay sad while watching The Lego Movie? Or reading Percy Jackson. Don't let life get you down. The sun will come out tomorrow.

Con: Spending too much time researching and Pinteresting your fandoms
Have you had hours of your life sucked into the endless abyss that is Pinterest memes? Me too, my friend. Or what about spending “a few minutes” checking up on the latest news from your favorite fandom? (Say what? They're making Darkest Minds into a movie? It's probably going to be ruined.)

But how can you resist taking a short break from writing to look for memes, a word which here means a funny picture meant to distract one from actually doing what you're supposed to be doing. Just try typing in “Avengers memes” or “Doctor Who memes” or whatever your favorite fandom is. But not now, or you'll never finish this post.

Con: Filling everything you write with geeky references
This one isn't exactly a con, but we're going with that so I have an even number of pros and cons. But I'm not the only one who puts all sorts of geek references in my work, right? My characters always seem to be fans of the same things I am and talking about how this was like this thing from that show/book/movie.

The other danger is having your work turn into a giant fan-fic or mash-up between all your favorite geekiness. It might be tempting to write a knock-off of your favorite movie or TV show, but you've got to keep it original.

* * * *
There are my pros and cons. What are yours? May the force be with you, live long and prosper, and don't forget all that glitters is not gold.

Let's have a round of applause for Rachel Meyer and her amazing nerdiness! Want more of her geeky writing? You can follow her blog here, her Facebook here, her Goodreads here, and her Pinterest here. Go on. You know you want to. 

Don't forget to leave a comment below and tell us all about your favorite fandoms, your pros and cons of being a geek writer, and tell us how many of the above nerd references you were able to identify. Highest count gets bragging rights! 

Related articles:
Using Context and Subtext to Raise the Stakes in Your Story: A Guest Post by Malcolm Tolman
10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Writer Until It's Too Late

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  1. *gasp* did you just reference A Series of Unfortunate Events?? I really hope you did, because that's one of my favorite fandoms!

    One con I would add is having to have two seperate Pinterest accounts- one for writing and inspiration, and another for... memes. All the geeky memes. It just didn't fit into one account.

    Also I 110% relate to the 'learn great writing lessons' and 'see how not to do things' pros. Most of my blog is reviews of books/movies and what can be learned from them, because I get bored just reviewing a book or just telling people how to write (that's no fun to read!).
    Overall, I related to everything. Great post for all us geeky writers!

    1. Yes, I totally referenced A Series of Unfortunate Events, because it is also one of my favorite fandoms.

      I never thought about having two Pinterest accounts. That's a good one. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

  2. One of the pros/cons I can think of for a geeky writer is fanfiction. On the one hand, it's a great place to start as a new writer, and a fun (and tempting) diversion if your main project is weighing too heavy on you!

    On the other hand, it can turn into a young writer's crutch if they're not careful, keeping them from branching into their own universes and the stories they have to tell. It can also be a distraction from one's main project too.

    1. I have personally never written a fanfiction, thought I have thought about it, but I can see your point. Plus when you write fanfiction, you're limited within the story because the characters already have character arcs and things you can and can't do them.

  3. I have officially absorbed and fangirled over all the references and will now take a moment to compliment how freaking awesome this post was.

  4. *Comments on a post over a year later* On the last con, I'd just like to say, Christopher Paolini references Doctor Who twice in the Inheritance Cycle, despite that it's a fantasy series that takes place in a whole other word, and it made me very very happy. So yes, I'd agree, that one is not exactly a con. Definitely not. I need my fandom references


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