This is who I am...(?)

24 July 2017

"...dreams burnt to ashes so many times, highest of mountains, still he climbs..." Stratovarius - Eagleheart

Hi guys. So, originally this blog was supposed to be a look into how I physically wrote “Ren and Marie,” but I was having a little trouble locking in. It was dragging and I was abusing one metaphor to death. After deciding to execute some “productive procrastination” I figured I would get to it the next day. However, I think this might be a good time to give you all a more raw, stripped down post. I put so much of myself into my work that it may be beneficial to do a little self-reflection; and you get to come along.


As productive, prolific, or successful as I may become, I will be always be surprised by direct interest in what I do in my “free time.” I find myself giving a lot of the same answers to the same questions. The explanations have gotten pretty refined by this point, but I do change it up, and am always excited to adapt new details and updates to my stories. However, it’s not just me talking. In this age of digital communication, I am a person who still values face to face contact; just ask my illustrator or my account executive at Knight Printing. A more personal interaction allows me to modify and brainstorm ideas in real time, even if it is just a one-sided affair.

I was recently invited to a friend/co-worker’s birthday celebration. It was a great opportunity to interact with some work people in a casual environment. Most at my job know what I do there, mainly because my work is very visible. They know what my “hobby” is, but I am not normally the one to throw down my writing credentials unless asked (or challenged). Because of this, casual conversation will eventually revolve around what I am working on, or how publishing is going, or various back stories and behind the scenes. I really don’t mind this and like I said before, my answers and anecdotes have become quite canned over time. However, when this first started happening, I honestly felt like a fraud.

“Why are so you interested?” or “Are they trying to call me out on something?” or “This is actually a badly written pile of BS, how can they be into it?” Any author will tell you these questions have flashed through their mind, but I have tried to remain balanced through it. As my credentials have expanded it has brought more confidence in my own abilities. I can look back and see my three published works, with the fourth on the way, with some pride knowing it is just a start.

Back to the birthday party. I began to realize something as I spoke with several co-workers that this feeling of fraudulence…was gone. I felt confident; genuine. These co-workers were no strangers to my work, in fact they were all essential in helping me get “Ren and Marie” printed. But this time, I allowed myself to believe they were actually interested, in my work and me. As someone who has wrestled to suppress his lion-sized ego for years, this was quite a step. I felt I could speak of plans, ideas, and schemes with the knowledge I was being taken seriously. This is a hell of a feeling.

I am not signed to a large publishing house. I am not following a set script from a marketing firm. I handle all business matters myself (badly at that). I work two jobs to pay the bills, saving what I can for writing expenses, and come home dead tired to my spartan little apartment. Somewhere in there I find time to write, edit, blog, and brainstorm for two book series. It’s not a perfect or ideal life…but it is mine. Some have said the passion I put into my work is obvious and I need to have more pride in it. I am slowly coming around to the realization that I have pride in my work, because it is mine; because it is genuine.

That is all I really want to be. I don’t (try not too anyway) put on any airs about myself, as far as being an author. I really do believe everyone has the capacity to tell their story and am always up for giving help and advice on writing or anything else. This is truly who I am…and it is who I want to be. If success or recognition come my way, so be it. If my work flounders in obscurity, so be it also; I want to make sure it is genuine.

Anyway. This is what I wanted to say for this blog. Sometimes I drown myself in the technicalities and don’t take the opportunity to be reflective. Maybe I just want my readers to know that there is this element to my work.

Thanks again for stopping by!

-Z.E. Duval