In Praise of Leroy Jenkins
Yesterday, my son showed me the classic viral video of Leroy Jenkins and his ill-considered full frontal assault on various monsters in the World of Warcraft video game. For those of you (like me) not up on nerd humor, in WoW, online players work their way cooperatively through a fantasy roleplaying game. In the famous video, players are heard strategizing in great detail ("I'm just crunching some numbers on that") when character Leroy Jenkins (who had been away from his keyboard instead of listening) suddenly charges into monsterdom screaming his name as a battle cry. After a stunned moment, his online buddies charge in after him, and everyone, predictably, gets slaughtered while players are heard cursing Leroy.
In writing, there are those who spend months, no, years meticulously planning strategy. They travel to conferences, take classes, and read everything they can find on the various aspects of craft and publication. But they never just charge in and go for it with everything they have.
Now I'm not suggesting that you throw yourself into the fray blindly. Knowledge is a good, make that a great thing, and for many, it can light the pathway to success. My point is that knowledge must be balanced with at least a little of the banzai attitude, or you'll never send out those first queries, enter those first contests, or learn critical lessons from your first defeat. Instead, you will sit safely on the sidelines, forever "crunching numbers" instead of laying claim to the reality of your dreams.
So today I plan to sit down at my keyboard, cry out "Leeeroooyy Jeeenkinnss!" and give it everything I've got. Who's with me?