An update so you all don’t think I’ve fallen off a cliff somewhere in my blind pursuit of a great story. The real story here is that I’ve been busy writing – which is a great thing. The bad part is that my blog has taken a back seat to the writing.
Now I’m back in New Mexico and life is less hectic and so I’m going to work the blog back into my schedule.
I find that the blog is like my morning warm-up for the rest of the day. Just sitting down and writing about writing seems to get the juices flowing. That’s a good feeling.
I was back in Cali for a few weeks. While back I attended the October CineStory retreat, which was absolutely amazing and truly a transformational learning experience. I will write a lot more about this over the coming weeks. That experience was pure joy: a week with diverse, intelligent, interesting, passionate people who just love writing, the writing process and craft. People who are passionate about making movies. It was truly uplifting to my spirit. So much of the time as writers we just work alone, slave in anonymity, hoping for our break. It takes a long time to hone craft and get good, but I do believe we can do it.
However, a recurring theme that has been circling me like vultures since my return to Santa Fe is discouragement. I’m still feeling quite cocooned by the incredibly positive shield that is CineStory, however it doesn’t mean that I don’t know that feeling. That feeling sucks.
I spoke with an amazing writer friend last night and asked for his help about how to write a spec TV pilot, a one-page sell sheet, a short bible – and he was incredibly discouraged. He and his writing partner had recently written a groundbreaking pilot and had a fantastic response from one of the cable networks – it was packaged with 2 stars and their choice of directors. It looked like it was going to get made. And then it didn’t. In one afternoon, they felt that months and months of their work just died. This friend was thinking it’s now almost impossible to make a normal living as a writer.
When I was home, I met with a wonderful new writer-director friend who was feeling absolutely black about the prospects for work.
I just today have been exchanging emails with a wonderful reader in Berlin who I think is smart, funny, fantastic, and he’s been feeling somewhat discouraged about his own process.
Writing is hard. It’s a lot of hours spent thinking, talking to ourselves inside our own heads. I mean, there is something about that that’s a little inherently fucked up, no? We have to not only get to know our own weaknesses – both personal and as regards craft – intimately, but get to know them so well that we can overcome them. I mean, what is that? By definition we’re masochists! But, we do it because we love it. CineStory reminded me of one thing most of all: there is nowhere else I’d rather be than in a room with other writers breaking story. I can’t think of one thing in the whole world I’d rather be doing. And that’s it. That’s what it boils down to. To me, that’s the most fun in life. Working on story.
Look, at the end of the day, I just can only think this: there are human beings out there making a living writing. There are people who get paid to write and make movies. Okay, sure, maybe only a handful. But, why can’t I be one? Why can’t you? Why can’t we also get paid to write? I would argue that we can. Somebody’s getting paid to do it. Might as well be me or you.
Thanks for hanging in there with me on this blog thing. Sorry I haven’t been more consistent. Please know that if I’m not blogging, it’s because my life is so fantastically interesting I just can’t spare the time (read: I’m probably writing).
And if you want me to blog about something specific, post a comment and I’ll respond. Except to you, Jamie. You it takes me like six weeks to get back to. LAME. Lame, I know.