I am talking to myself again tonight. As a writer, that is pretty much what I do without it being a prayer.
Tonight, tomorrow, or any other day if you are able to time travel and read this post earlier than I write it or post it, then I am also talking to you. Perhaps you are a screenwriter, a poet, a novelist, someone who writes notes to God, or a writer of any kind whatsoever. Then maybe my thoughts might pertain to you as well. At this moment you and I are a writers group.
Here are some of my writer's thoughts this evening. While working up the courage to get back to whipping my current script into submission, I asked myself this:
How many screenwriting classes, books read, blogs skimmed, script doctors paid, certificates earned, etc., does one have to buy, read, and consume before finally becoming an expert writer?
Zero. I do not have proof of this, but I know this is true.
If I look back at the very early beginnings of the film industry — those guys and women started out just by starting out. Sure, I’ve no doubt they were well-read dramatists, possibly visual artists and all that — but they became the experts and learned by DOING.
Second question. If one is an expert in screenwriting, does that guarantee success as a screenwriter?
No. Again, I have no proof of this, but I know damn well that is true.
While it’s difficult to look up people via Google, Bing, Duck-Duck-Go — or whatever search engine you choose that is still in business since Google has basically taken over the world — it is difficult to find a database of people who tried really hard but failed. I know because presently I am on that list. But not for long, God willing.
The third question for myself tonight as I ponder my many stellar career choices:
Why do I feel the need to become an expert or study any more than I have to date before I finally market the shit out of what I’ve got while at the same time, crank ‘em out (scripts/stories) like the machine I know that is in me?
Um… because I’m scared. I'm afraid that I am not good enough, that I will make an idiot of myself, and that people (who I will never know) will laugh at me. I’m scared that I’m a failure and that I will prove it.
There it is. Plain and simple. Failure is a possible outcome. It is true.
Remember Madonna? No, not the Holy Mother — the other Madonna. Remember when she had that sex tape or photo or something that came out in the early 1990s? No? (Quit bragging about your age, young'n, I'm trying to make a point). At the time it was so scandalous that it threatened to be the ruin of her career. But she put the fire out like she was blowing out a birthday candle. When asked about the sexual photos, her response “So, what?” And that was that. End of story. (Not quite the end. Later she topped that scandal and marketed it big-time). Still, she didn’t deny it. She said the truth and claimed no shame.
So what, indeed.
Her boldness was rewarded. Love her or hate her. Admire her or despise her. Her boldness was rewarded because people admired her nerve and pluck. Her self-respect was determined by her and not by others. She decided who she was, and being a failure wasn't one of them.
So dear writer, dear self -- who decides who you are and how to live your life from this night forward?
We decide who we are, how we live our lives. We decide to accept or dismiss labels, judgments, condemnations, or accolades from others. We decide our importance, our worthiness, not money, fame, agents, parents, friends, or bosses.
Failure is not inevitable, nor is it the worst of all fates.
Regret, however, is. Choose to be bold.