Suppy Sup: Issue 3
A Lot Can Change In a Day
Suppy sup, everyone!
Seems only a day ago I wrote my first post and sent it out to you lovely people.
For those of you who read and enjoyed it, thank you! To those of you who sent it straight to trash…respect. Bold move to subscribe and delete right away. Can’t fault you for it, for reasons that’ll soon become clear.
I was not happy with myself last night, and it had a lot to do with this newsletter. Here’s where I stand exactly one day after my first attempt.
A Chronicle Of A Single Night Plagued By Self-Doubt And Pangs Of Perfectionism
Last night, after I finished Suppy Sup hit “send,” I spiraled into a stupor of self-hate.
It started with thinking the work I had produced—a silly little bit of writing about fantasy media, preceded by some stray thoughts on reality TV—wasn’t good enough. I don’t know against which standard I was measuring, but I felt like ass.
Then, a friend in a Discord community offered a Halloween tarot reading with her Lord of the Rings deck. How cool! She subscribes, so there’s a chance she will read this. Hello, Kim!
Her reading was really cool. She’s got a knack for it. Little did she know her “practice” would harpoon itself into the depths of my soul and make me reconsider my entire life as a “creative.”
My first card told me I was mentally stymied by material fixation. It rings true. I often pine after an object of my desire, get it, and sell it on eBay months later. I’ve made progress lately, looking inward when I want something and asking “Why?” The result is typically “To have it.” Realizing that, I can stem the deluge of material desire and pursue more fulfilling endeavors.
Next card: self-care. Look inward for what you really want.
Enter doubt and fear!
If you’re reading this, I hope it’s some combination of 1) wanting to support me and my work and 2) actually enjoying the things I write about. See, this has been my problem in the past. I would start a blog and stand aghast that a ready-made audience of thousands wasn’t flocking to my content, which itself was rushed (pun intended) and mediocre. I felt those pangs writing yesterday’s newsletter, already restrained to the categories I outlined in my rough and hasty first draft.
Third card: "Strength. More importantly, being strong doesn’t mean you have to prove it. I took this, within the context of my day, to mean not everything I write or create needs to be my best. My writing can and should take time, especially when I am passionate about it. The first “true” issue of Suppy Sup did exactly the opposite of what this card suggested: “Examine your feelings before acting.” You bet I pressed “Send” on that thing before I even considered whether it was worth sharing.
Fourth card: “Honor your intuition.” I like to think I’m pretty good about this, but the night following my first issue proved to be…NOT THAT.
Card five: “You’re experiencing a mental block. Instead of agonizing over the issue, it may be time to start over and try a new approach. Try to let go of old assumptions.”
My old assumptions: my writing deserves an audience. I should write for the audience I think I deserve. I should write what I think people want.
There I go again, never once pondering what would make me feel good, or what I could write to express how I’m feeling.
What Is This? Who Am I? What Do I Want?
I was watching this CJ the X video yesterday, and I felt TARGETED. Share your art, CJ commands. You have a duty to put work out because that is a core element of the creative process! If you don’t share work—even if you’re not perfectly proud of it—you are truncating the creative pipeline and blocking your brain with unfinished ideas. (Spoiler alert, I attempt to share some imperfect work at the end of this issue. Stick around for a never-before-shared piece).
Tee up Uncle Iroh’s ever-wise voice resounding in my cranium:
“WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”
The 100% honest truth: I want my work to be perfect (translation: authentic. More in a minute). I want people to read and enjoy it. I want to be true to myself in the writing, the art, and the creativity I pour into the world.
I am so insecure about it to the point of suffocating myself. I moped around the house yesterday, feeling dejected and annoyed at the version of me who wrote that newsletter. I felt the same burnt-out, crushing burden of having written something I found “meh” at best and pushing it into the world.
And then I started introspecting. What is this newsletter? More importantly, what do I WANT it to be?
Absent client expectations and without any financial gain attached to this project, what would I do with a space where I can write whatever I want?
I don’t know, and it eats away at my brain until my brainhole feels barren.
Turns out, trying for perfection is a losing game. I don’t mind losing at a board game or a sport. But when I muddle my own creative energy with delusions of instant perfection, I do nothing to improve my work. The creative cycle remains incomplete, ideas festering in the aether (aka my Google Drive or my notebook).
I strive for perfection, yet I can’t even define what it looks like. A published novel? A newsletter with hundreds of subscribers? Paid gigs covering pop culture?
Notice how none of those items include “writing what I want” or “expressing how I feel.” Instead, I train myself to shut off the inspiration well and seek validation from external sources: paying clients and reactions to my work on Twitter or, worse, LinkedIn. There’s no self-fulfillment to be gained from writing what you think will get a reaction. There is no “perfect” unless you reshape what perfect means.
My ideal definition of perfection: authenticity.
Harder than it sounds, especially when you’re trained to write just so, aiming to hit this many keywords or cover hyper-specific topic.s Most of the assignments I take start like this…
…and end with the check hitting my bank account.
It feels heavy to have a platform (despite it being small and free and accessible to anyone with an internet connection) from which I can herald my thoughts without limit. You know what I chose to do with the platform?
Write about reality TV (which I love, to be fair) and complain about a show because I’ve read better fantasy stories.
How uninspired. The newsletter you received last night (or whenever it was, relative to you receiving this ramble) was a product of what I thought would be “interesting to others. And it might’ve been. But…
When I read it back, I wanted to vomit. Not at (or on, hehe) the quality of the writing. I believe in myself enough to respect the quality of my technical skill. But at the blandness in it, the manifestation of my frustration within topics I coerced my psyche into caring about for the 60 minutes it took to ideate, draft, and edit.
I care about reality TV, and about the gap between casual fantasy TV viewers and hardcore fantasy readers. I care about those things enough to probably, eventually write about them. But yesterday wasn’t the time. The inspiration train hadn’t arrived, and I followed the empty tracks in search of its intangible destination.
Can that method work? Sure. Is it productive in the long-term? Do I love throwing myself easy lob questions? Fuck yeah, I do.
THIS issue of Suppy Sup, plagued with issues and imperfections though it may be, is the first time in a long time I’ve allowed myself the freedom to just…express. It is catharsis, relief, and joy. I already feel myself chipping away at the intense blockage comprising my perfectionism, self-doubt, and insecurity. I await the day when my creativity can flow freely, when before it trickled through a damn built by the world’s most stubborn beaver.
So What IS This?
What ARE we? Do we need to DTR? You are (hopefully) a subscriber to this nascent newsletter, and I am a writer just trying to figure shit out. The latest in a long line of creatives seeking deeper meaning within their work and the freedom to produce said work, making mistakes along the way.
Suppy Sup, after only 1.5 issues, is evolving. I can’t restrict myself to categories I dreamed up on a whim. I’d rather use this space to share what makes me tick. I want to discuss ideas that titillate me (hehe) and make immature jokes. I want to welcome you aboard the inspiration train whenever you feel like hopping on. I want to share the art and stories I create even though they’re far from perfect. They’re authentically me, and that’s a better goal to strive for.
Closing the loop on the creative process means putting your output into the arms of someone or something, and in this case, I hope those somethings and someones are this newsletter and the few who deign to type their email into the lil box below and subscribe.
Let’s Start Now: Selves
I don’t know exactly how many people have seen or read this piece, but the number is small. It feels fitting to share it here, after today’s reckoning with self.
I wrote Selves in a dark place (mentally, at least; the room was quite well-lit), when I felt none of my goals were achievable or reasonable. The piece explores the facets of creative myself I most wish to nurture. It captures three interconnected dreams and aspirations, focusing on the weight I feel when I consider them as legitimate possibilities. Treat it like a creatively autobiographical piece of micro-nonfiction. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to quietly contemplate it on your own or share your thoughts in the comments.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Let’s let Charles Bradley do the asking of this question aloud.
Expect Suppy Sup to be much more like this issue going forward. I need to write for myself and for my own expression. But I need to share that expression to evolve, grow, and create stuff that I enjoy so you can enjoy it, too.
Thanks for sticking around, and I’ll catch you next time.
I really like the line. "I want to welcome you aboard the inspiration train whenever you feel like hopping on." I think this blog will be a great place for you to show everyone the train once it comes and you jump on board. No matter what direction its going or how many stops its taking.