Good Advice, Bad Times
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
By Will Eichler
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts earlier today, “Jay and Miles X-plain the X-Men,” (check it out if you’re a comic fan), and the two hosts were interviewing one of the most important figures in comics’ history, Chris Claremont, the man responsible for making the X-Men, well, the X-men. Odds are if you can name an X-men character, Claremont created them or had a hand in making them the character they are now. The man is a giant in an industry that I have to admit I would do just about anything to be a part of. And during this interview, Claremont shares the advice he was given when he was young and attempting to enter the comics industry, which was “get a day job.” This happens to be the same advice I received when I asked a few other writers I had the opportunity to meet through a short story contest: find a day job, support yourself, and write whenever you can. It’s not bad advice, I admit, but WOW is it not what I wanted to hear. I wanted concrete advice, I wanted contacts, I wanted resources. I got that a little bit, but it was always framed as though I would keep writing on the side while I supported myself in some other way. In retrospect, it was pretty immature of me to think I would find a clear path to my end goal in such a simple, tied-up-with-a-bow sort of way. I knew that I needed to find some other job first, my friend and colleague here at Next Page, Cheryl Scheir, told me as much. I have to admit though, it is hard to be patient when it feels as though the world is crashing around you. I want my dream job now because the world around me feels painfully uncertain.
Now, there is something that I’d like to say this isn’t quite so pessimistic and is less likely to possibly get me labeled a “whiny millennial,” and that is the next part of the Claremont interview, in which Jay talks about how kind Claremont had been when they met at a convention and Claremont allowed Jay some time to explain his passion for comics and desire to work in that industry. When listening to Jay explain how much it meant to him that one of his heroes was willing to listen to and encourage him, and when I heard that, Next Page was one of the first things I thought of. I hope that this site can be a place where we encourage writers, particularly young writers, to pursue the thing they are most passionate about, to create art, and to express themselves unapologetically.
It has for me. Maybe it will for someone else. All I can do is wait and see.