20 Aug 2013

I'm not modest or self-deprecating, alright?

One of my main hobbies, both within fandom and out is writing fan fiction and making fan videos. And a natural process of this is to share it with friends and other fans. A part of this hobby is to receive and respond to feedback, and I'm not going to lie, like any other self-respecting writer and vidder, I love getting feedback, especially praise (although I do also appreciate criticism as it really does help me learn to get better at my craft). However, some people just take it that one step further.

This usually happens whenever I show my new creations to a friend, co-worker or sometimes a family member. I will show someone a video of mine, and in midst of their praise, they will make the suggestion that I should do this professionally. Now, it's a nice sentiment, and they probably genuinely mean what they are saying - but at the same time they mostly have no idea about what's out there (it's easy to impress someone if they don't know all that much about the behind the scenes), and I always feel the need to point out that while I have pride in what I do and accomplish, my skill level (while pretty decent for an amateur) is nowhere near what the professionals are at.

Almost always my response will be taken as modesty or even self-deprecation, and sometimes I just really feel like screaming out of sheer frustration. I am in no way modest or self-deprecating. I have pride in what I do, I re-read my own fan fiction (I wrote the damn stories for my own enjoyment, after all) and I watch my own videos from time to time. But, I am and will always be a realist when it comes to my own skill level. I don't shy away from stating that I think I did a good job on something, but I will also not shy away from pointing out the things I am not so happy with, and I will work harder next time to avoid making those same mistakes.

I don't understand why this is such a difficult thing to grasp. I'm not modest, I'm a realist. I read a lot and I watch a lot of videos, so as a result, I am well aware of what people are capable of creating - and I have the capability and mindset to objectively rank myself accordingly. I don't view this as a negative thing, and I don't devalue my own self-worth just because I think someone else managed to write a better story or create a better video than I did. Not only is it both to the fandom and my own best interest that other people create high quality stories and videos - I am also a fan first and foremost and care more about having a good story or video to enjoy than whether or not I was the one to create it. I also see having high quality creations to compete with more as an opportunity to improve myself and find inspiration.

So yeah, I'm in no way modest or self-deprecating. The next time I rebuff your suggestion that I do this professionally - ask me what I actually think of my own creation before assuming I'm purposely putting myself down. The answer might surprise you.


  1. I completely understand why you wouldn't want to vid professionally and it has never crossed my mind to suggest you do this, but maybe the people that did were just trying to pay you a compliment. You ARE quite good at vidding after all. While they genuinely like your work, they probably don't literally mean that you should run out tomorrow and find a job vidding professionally. I also think that the people who suggested this have no idea of what is involved in making videos and how time consuming it is.

    I know vidding is a lot of work and that it takes days to make just a short three to four minute vid. It is something you really enjoy as a hobby and progressing into professional vidding would probably spoil that for you.

    1. I think you perhaps misunderstood me here. I don't feel pressured to persue this professionally, that has never been an issue. Also, I know it's meant as the highest compliment, and I appreciate that, I really do. It's the moment when I try to explain to them that my skill level really isn't as high as they believe it to be, and they instantly start trying to reassure me and/or cheer me up - it's *that* moment that bothers me.

      People just cannot seem to accept that it's possible to be objective and realistic when assessing your own skill level. It instantly is taken as low self-esteem, self-depracation or modesty (fake or genuine). And frankly I'm getting a bit tired of people making that assumption of me. The whole conclusion I am trying to give this rant is that people should try to listen to the creator's own opinion before assuming they are merely modest or self-deprecating. Sometimes we are just being realistic. And there is nothing wrong with that.