GRIND, or WHAT IT TAKES TO LEVEL UP
grind | ɡraɪnd / v.
The act of reducing to powder, or of sharpening, by friction.
A word used in any MMO representing the repetitive actions taken in order to make the character stronger.
grind | ɡraɪnd / n.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Someone said that once. Probably Gandhi. Maybe Gandalf. Tell that to youth, they know it's true. They're full of it, energy that is, boundless optimism. Or at least, the good ones are - there's a whole different strata who plug their ears and demand immediate accolades, but they learn soon enough.
I play in two different table top role playing games. I shiver to dive into a robust console rpg. It's not the escapism - it's the thrill of accomplishment. I infiltrated the Stag Lord's fortress, and put an arrow in the man's chest. I shattered the mind of Pavel Chevok, and kicked him out of an airlock. I died for my faith. These moments mean nothing. But each of them took time, planning, strategy. They took genuine effort, and thus they mean everything.
In every game, you reach a boss you can't beat. A situation you can't overcome, an enemy out of your weight class. You have no choice.
You have to grind.
This year, we wrote three feature films. One of those scripts almost broke us; the other is the best thing we've written in years. The last we were actually paid to write, a first in Exclamation!BOLD's career. We had four issues of HACKTIVIST drop. We went to four conventions, shook hundreds of hands, and - most importantly in my mind - met dozens of people just like us, young and hungry, all pushing to make it to that next level.
The next level. All this year, for the past three in fact, I've been a Freelancer. A sellpen. I've done coverage, written copy, written some animation - if it needed words, I had them. There is no hustle like the hustle of a freelancer. And yet what do you do when your hustle can't put food on your table? When your life freezes up because your hustle can pay the bills, but nothing else. When the panic sets in at night. When the work suffers.
For three years, I woke up when I wanted. I exercised when I wanted, worked when I wanted, wore pants when I wanted (which was as little as possible). It was amazing. It was indulgent.
It was easy.
Now, I wake up before the sun and produce pages. I work for the LA Film School, 9 hours helping young people figure our how to start their own journeys. Every day, I'm talking to kids who have passion, but they're nervous, they're scared.
Shit kid, so am I. I'm afraid someone will get to adapt my favorite book before I get the chance. I'm afraid that I'll miss a chance to help someone who needs it.
But I'm not afraid of failure. 2014 proved to me that I'm surrounded by people who have my back in all things, a massive support structure of people who believe in me, and who I believe in. I have a job that will keep the lights on. A girl I'm wild about. Two cats who are - admittedly - little assholes. And I'm - honest to god - on my way to Knighthood.
2014 was the year of Grind. I had to upend my life, break things I took for granted, and accept that to make it to that next level, I'd have to sharpen my edges.
2015 sees those edges sharp. That next level? I just hit it.
And I'm thrilled to see what happens next.