I don’t usually post about personal things, but I’m breaking that rule today, because I’m trying to process something that happened to me recently.
I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism a few weeks ago.
At first, all I saw was the downsides. How it makes me difficult to work with, how it makes it difficult to understand what is happening in the intensely complex web social interactions around me, how I get overwhelmed when I have to handle social events and after a few phone calls can end up wanting to hide in a cave and never deal with anyone ever again, how I can’t understand conversation if there are other people talking, how being in Walmart makes me physically ill, how it took me twice as long as it should have to finish college because I kept getting overwhelmed, how I can’t enjoy gifts of jewelry and even have difficulty wearing my wedding ring for longer than a few hours because my skin is too sensitive.
But, as I worked away on here, I realized a gigantic upside. As part of my condition, I have the ability to become extremely focused. So focused that I lose touch with the rest of myself, and become nothing but my typing fingers and my brain figuring out what to type next for hours. These trances usually last 4-5 hours, and when I come out of one of them, I’ll have translated thousands of names, or hundreds of phrases. Something that would have taken a normal person much longer. The reason that this website exists and is so successful is because I have Asperger’s. Frack, I wouldn’t even be interested in Tolkien’s languages if it weren’t for my autistic nature to get completely obsessed with some small corner of the world. So, I’m glad to be this way. It means that I’ve carved out a little niche for myself. I’m useful for others, get to have fun, get to relieve stress by playing with languages.
I’ve never really cared much about figuring out how to make a living through this though. I’m more interested in languages and playing with them. But, as the year goes on, and I deal with different financial things… I realize that I should be making money somehow from this all-consuming obsession that I have. Patreon is a great start. Through the monthly donations I’ve gotten more steady money than I ever have before, which is really nice. So. Ideas… how can I help support my wife and I and keep my full-time job playing with languages? Should I be more aggressive with my Patreon account? Should I come up with some sort of product line to sell? Should I make custom translations a paid service? What do you think? It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that this isn’t “just a hobby” for me.