All posts by Wil

Author, actor, producer. On a good day, I am charming as fuck.

Mischief Managed (#throwbackthursday)

On June 24, 2004, my author’s copies of Just A Geek arrived. According to the metadata, I picked the first box up at 8:32pm. What a weirdly granular bit of information to have.

There’s an essay in Still Just A Geek called “Do something kind for future you.” When I was the guy in these pictures, I didn’t understand what that meant. I couldn’t think about future me, because present me needed everything I could give him just to survive.

But the guy in these pictures, who can’t believe he’s a real, published author, who going to spend way too time feeling like a failure, has no idea that he’s giving a gift to future him. He’s holding a Maurader’s Map that I will eventually use to find all the things that were deliberately kept from him, and me. And when I find them, and I tell his and my and our story, he becomes a New York Times bestselling author, because he isn’t alone.

I want the guy in this picture to know that I can remember everything he hopes for at this precise moment, how scared he is that it isn’t going to happen, and how much that prevents him from just enjoying it. I remember his pain, and how he blamed himself for all these things he couldn’t control. I need him to know that he’s going to be okay.

Buddy, you aren’t and weren’t and never were a failure. At ANYTHING. You are enough. You were always enough.

I am a New York Times Bestselling Author

Yesterday, around noon, I posted on my Facebook:

I’ve been doing these very long days of press and promotion for Still Just A Geek. It’s a lot, and it’s exhausting, but it’s awesome and I’m grateful for all of it. I haven’t had this much fun doing late nights followed by early mornings since I was in my 20s.

I’m also still doing Ready Room, so today is a day that featured me getting up at are you fucking serious o’clock, putting myself together for a webinar I was part of for Microsoft, then going straight to the set, where we did a couple episodes for Strange New Worlds (OH MY GOD I WANT TO TALK ABOUT STRANGE NEW WORLDS SO MUCH IT IS KILLING ME THAT I CAN’T).

I am so happy, y’all. I am content, I am grateful, I am proud of the work I have the privilege to do.

… and I am so physically and mentally exhausted. I feel like I’m going to cry.

I’m taking the rest of this day off for religious observance, and I really hope I can find a nap in there, somewhere.

After I posted that, Anne and I had lunch together, and then I went into my gameroom, where I could sit quietly and just … not do anything.

Some time passed. I’m not sure how much, but it was enough for me to start feeling sleepy. I leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and did one of those long exhales that starts in your shoulders and rolls down your body.

Then my phone rang.

Okay. In 2022, few things make me as suspicious as my phone ringing. Nine in ten times, it’s bullshit. This time, I saw that it was my lit agent.

“Hello?”

“Do you have a minute to talk?”

“I do.”

“Okay. I am connecting you to a conference call.”

Over the next thirty or so seconds, literally everyone at my publisher announced themselves. Then my manger announced himself.

Oh fuck. I thought. I’m in big trouble. I dont’ know what I said or did, but I must have REALLY fucked up.

You’ve seen the title of this post, so you know that I was mistaken. My editor told me he had news. Still Just A Geek is on the bestselling indie bookshop list, and it’s on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction list, AND it’s in the top ten on the combined hardcover and ebook nonfiction list.

OMG

Wait. What?

Yeah, I heard it correctly. Still Just A Geek, one week after publication, is on THREE bestselling lists. OMG.

I thanked everyone for being part of this. It’s a blur, but I think I said something like, “it’s important to me that everyone who can hear my voice right now knows how grateful I am for your support and for everything you’ve done to help me get here. I know this isn’t the first time for you, but it is for me and I just don’t know what else to say or to feel.”

I called Anne and told her. Then I called my sister and told her. Then I texted my TNG family and told them. Then I walked around in a circle for what felt like an hour while I tried to process what this all means. I’m still working on putting it all together.

When I wrote Just A Geek in 2004, I knew it wasn’t ever going to chart, but I still held out hope, you know? Like, maybe if this book charts, it will Prove To Everyone and so forth. So there was this disappointment baked in from the very beginning that was identical to the disappointment I allowed to infect everything I did back then. Feeling like you aren’t ever going to be good enough for your dad will do that to you.

So when I wrote and did all the work for Still Just A Geek, I redefined my expectations, and my conditions for success.

I decided that I woudn’t have any expectations, at all. I just hoped that we would somehow communicate to anyone who would be interested in my story that it existed. I wasn’t going to let sales or reviews define for me whether it was successful or not. Just getting to tell my story was enough for me.

But I’m not gonna lie: I’ve been joyfully walking around for about 18 hours, obnoxiously reminding Anne and Marlowe that they now live with a New York Times bestselling author. I have every intention in the world of signing my friends’ cards and stuff, “New York Times Bestselling Author, Wil.”

This is objectively cool and exciting. It is a big deal. I get to update my bio, and for the rest of my life I get to carry this achievement. I love that, and I love that this means my chances of having another book published went up. But more than anything, I love that this can be amazing, and wonderful, and exciting, and such a beautiful gift, without it affecting how I fundamentally feel about myself or my work. I was already proud of the work, and grateful I was supported while I did it, and I am so incredibly happy that I didn’t need this to happen to get there.

When I turned in the final draft, what feels like forever ago, I wrote myself a note that says, in part, “Whatever is going to happen when this is published has already happened. You just haven’t observed the results. What is important and what matters is everything you did to get here. Don’t fall into the trap of letting someone else’s definition of success affect how you feel about your work. No matter what is in our future, we did something special that nobody can take away from us.”

I am so glad that past me consistently looks out for future me. It’s such good advice! I love that guy.

from the vault: the autumn moon lights my way

In 2005, I blew up my blog and couldn’t fix it. So I started a backup blog at Typepad, where I wrote and published until 2012.

As I’ve been promoting Still Just A Geek, I am more and more aware of this enormous gap in my story that is a significant part of my journey from 2004 me to 2022 me. I’m not sure how or why it got left out; it just sort of … slipped my mind. Brains and memories are weird that way. But I’m discovering that nearly that entire time is well documented (for better and worse) at WWdN:iX.

So I’ve been slowly revisiting that part of my life, as I consider putting together some sort of novella-length … supplement? I don’t know. Something will replace the graphic that says “SOME TIME LATER” between the end of Just A Geek and the beginning of The Big Bang Theory.

I wrote A LOT about my sons, and our relationship, during this five year mission. It’s rewarding and special to look back at those posts, now, knowing everything I know.

So here’s one from September 28, 2005:

the autumn moon lights my way

I heard Led Zeppelin coming out of Ryan’s room, so I put down my Sudoku book (yeah, I’ve been hooked for about a month), walked down the hall, and knocked on his door.

“Come in,” he said.

I opened, and entered his sanctuary: astronomy posters hung from his walls, and a stack of books (Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Macbeth, Divine Comedy and a host of other books that your average AP English student with a 4.0 in the class reads*) sat on his desk. A pile of (clean? dirty?) clothes lay in a heap at the foot of his bed. He sat at his desk, looking at The Internets.

He turned around in his chair. “What’s up?” He said.

“Oh, I just heard you listening to Zeppelin II, and I didn’t want to miss a chance to share in something we both love, that I happened to introduce to you in the pre-Pod days.”

“I . . . just wondered what you were doing.” I said.

He got very excited. “Oh! I found this awesome Family Guy Website, and I was downloading audioclips from it, and putting them on my computer.” He clicked a few times, and showed me the website.

“When I was your age, I did the same thing, with The Prisoner and Star Trek,” I said,  “on my Mac II.”

He frowned. “Weren’t you on Star Trek?”

“Yeah,” I said, “but the sounds were from the original series.”

He looked back at me.

“So it was geeky, but it wasn’t totally lame,” I said. Why did I feel like I our ages and roles were reversed?

“What’s The Prisoner?” He said.

“A show that I love, that I don’t think you’re geeky enough to enjoy.”

He clicked his mouse, and iTunes fell silent.

“Wil,” he said, “you didn’t think I’d like Firefly.”

“Touche,” I said with a smile. “Any time you want to watch The Prisoner, I am so there.”

“Actually, any time you want to do anything, I am so there, because I don’t want to be a stranger to you for the next five years, and I’ll close the gap any way I can.”

“Okay,” he said. “Maybe after school some day next week.”

“When –“

“When my homework’s done,” he said. “I know, Wil.”

He wasn’t snotty. He wasn’t rude. He wasn’t impatient or unpleasant. He just . . . was. I saw a lot of myself in him.

“I need to work my a–” he began, “I need to work very hard this semester.”

I nodded my head. “I’m glad you know that, Ryan.”

He turned back around to his computer. I stood in his doorway and looked at him for a minute.

“He may not have my DNA, but I’ve given him some of the things that matter in life,” I thought.

“Ryan?”

He didn’t turn around. “Hmm?”

“I love you.”

“I love you too, Wil.”

“Ramble On, And now’s the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I’ve been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On,
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams.”


*Yes, I’m proud as hell. Sue me.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Animated Series

I unironically ADORE the animated series from the 70s. I was squarely in the target audience, and I guess I’ve never left that part of me behind.

So since this came across my event horizon earlier today, I’ve been OBSESSED. I mean, I was legit bummed Wesley wasn’t on the bridge, but quickly realized it’s perfect that they replaced him what what I think is a Kzinti, the way TAS replaced Chekov with Arex, the Edosian.

I couldn’t remember what species Arex was, so I had to look it up, and I read this, so before we get to the video I want you to watch, check out Leonard Nimoy:

Initially, Filmation was only going to use the voices of William ShatnerLeonard NimoyDeForest Kelley, Doohan and Barrett. Doohan and Barrett would also perform the voices of Sulu and Uhura. Nimoy refused to voice Spock in the series unless Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were added to the cast, claiming that Sulu and Uhura were proof of the ethnic diversity of the 23rd century and should not be recast. Nimoy also took this stand as a matter of principle, as he knew of the financial troubles many of his Star Trek co-stars were facing after cancellation of the series.[6]

What an amazing human he was. And how fucking racist were the people who were like “yeah, replace those actors of color with white people to save money.” WOW.

Anyway, check this out. If you’re of a certain age, I expect you will share my reaction when that music starts playing.

Also, if anyone wants to animate Wesley Crusher in the style of Filmation, I would be massively supportive of that.

Happy book birthday to me!

Still Just A Geek is released today. It’s available everywhere books are sold. Holy crap it’s actually happening.

Yesterday, I signed 367 books for my virtual signing with Barnes & Noble on Thursday. The initial number was 200, and people just kept buying tickets until it sold out more than once. That blows me away.

I’m going to be signal boosting a lot of press today on the socials. It’s challenging to find that balance between sharing cool stuff and making a ton of noise that most people just tune out. It’s going to be challenging. Telling stories is one thing, and promoting myself is something entirely different that I’m still trying to get comfortable with.

Months ago, I wrote myself a note (well, recorded myself a voice note) where I reminded future me that it’s okay to feel a little stressed out and overwhelmed by everything that’s happening today and this week. I implored myself to make space to enjoy this. Here’s some of it:

Publicity and attention and press stresses you out, because it was always imposed on you. But this time, it’s all supporting and celebrating you. Enjoy it, and know that after about three or four weeks, everything will go back to normal.

Please, please, please, dude, I beg you, for me, for you (who is future me) and for future you, don’t get distracted by someone else’s definition of success. Writing this book, all the work you did on this book, healed a TON of your trauma and helped you get closer to whole than you have ever been. That is the thing that matters. That is the thing you get to take home no matter what anyone else says or does. If this book’s sales exceed expectations, if it gets good reviews, if it gets noticed beyond the people who already love you and want to read your story, that’s a bonus. BUT NOT GETTING THERE DOES NOT MEAN YOU OR YOUR BOOK ARE A FAILURE.

I’m going to say it again: Whatever happens today and in the future (“today” for you is in my far future, but it’s your present. How are we doing, by the way? Did we finish The Big Idea? That’s just kicking our ass right now. I hope we did.) Uh, whatever happens today and in the future is entirely out of our hands, and I know you’re probably going to forget that, because you spent your whole life hearing that anything less than first place was the same as last place.

None of that matters, and letting that old thinking into your space is just going to give you stress and anxiety about stuff that you can do absolutely nothing about.

You did The Thing, dude. You did it. You. I know you’re like “I had a lot of help” and that’s true. But you’re the one who had to relive all that stuff and process it. I’m proud of you, and I hope you can find space to enjoy this.

I am so grateful to me from however long ago that was for thinking of me from today. He knew EVERY fear and anxiety I would have today, and he did me a real solid with this advice.

I always tell people that I do my best, every day, to be the person I need in the world. I don’t know how I knew that today I would need these reminders from myself, but I’m real grateful that me from the past was looking out for me from today.

I’m going to share a couple links to some interviews I’ve recently done, because I think some of it may be interesting to anyone who has read this far:

You, Me, Empathy Podcast

On Episode 222 of You, Me, Empathy, Wil Wheaton and I explore how being a geek intersects with empathy, the childhood trauma Will faced in a mother that treated him as a commodity and a father who simply didn’t care, on being the person we need in the world, and Wil’s beautiful new book, Still Just a Geek, which is like the Inception of inner child work.

We start the show talking about how narrating Still Just a Geek as an audiobook was way more emotionally charged than Wil anticipated, how Still Just a Geek is a stunning reflection on self and a deeply compassionate journey into accepting and loving the past versions of ourselves, and how that inner child work has impacted Wil’s relationships with his kids and partner, Anne.

Wil opens up about his experience as a kid, and the trauma he experienced through a mother who seemed to only value him as an actor, and a father who had no capacity for love or care—and the deep grief and heartache he’s been through because of it all. He just wanted to be seen, and heard, something so universally needed on a human level that when it isn’t present it feels so paralyzing and awful.

The Art of Fatherhood Podcast

Wil Wheaton talks with me about his fatherhood journey. We chat about being a step-dad and the relationship he has with his sons. Wil shares some of the values he looked to instill into his sons as they were growing up. He also talks about how he wanted to make sure he didn’t act like his parents and not make the same mistakes they did. After that we talk about his book, Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir and how recording the audiobook version was life-changing for him. We even talk about on comic-con moment that stuck with me for years on the advice he gave someone about being a geek. Lastly, we finish the interview off with the Fatherhood Quick Five.

Keeping Up With The Kardassians

Rob, Joe, and Nick had the incredible honor of sitting down and talking with Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher-STNG). In an interview spanning a variety of subjects from mental health, pop culture, pizza, and everything in between.

The Big Idea (yes, me from the past, we did finish it!)

I never talk about how much I was abused when I worked on this movie called The Curse, after Stand By Me. It was such a traumatic experience, I’ve done everything I can to forget it. But it’s a big part of who I am, and when I did Still Just A Geek, it was part of my story that I needed to tell.

Okay, finally, an answer to the single most frequently asked question about Still Just A Geek:

Q: Where do you want me to buy it, so you get the most money or whatever?

A: Short answer: wherever it’s easiest for you! That you read it is what matter, not how you get it. But thank you for asking!

Longer answer: I earned a nice advance with this book. It’s unlikely I’ll earn it out, and royalties will ever be a thing, so the specific place you get it makes no difference to me. That said, if you have a choice and all things are equal, consider buying from an indie bookshop. Indies always need support, no matter what, and I heard from my publisher that indie sales count 3X toward the NYT list (which I do not expect to make, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take).

Okay. I think I’m done. Whew. What a day. I feel strange, but also good.