Writers write. It’s the one simple, undeniable fact of their existence. But that’s not me.
I don’t make a living as a writer. I make part of one – between editing, consulting and various odd jobs, I put together enough to scrape by. Part of that’s necessity. I’m two and a half years into writing “full-time,” and it takes more than that (in most cases) to advance a career far enough to just make money doing one thing. But I’ve also let that make me comfortable, and hold me back. There’s some kind of mental block that holds me back from diving deeper into the writing and allowing it to be my sole gig.
I see people all around me getting what they want (and deserve) as writers. One friend is getting his features career off the ground after years of near misses. Another just co-founded a production company. Another finally got his big break in comics and I’ll be beyond shocked if this doesn’t help him finally turn the corner and become one of those big names. As much as I’d like to write features (says the guy who has yet to complete a screenplay), that’s not my immediate goal.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I would kill to get into a writers’ room. On a good or a bad show, the writer’s room is where you not only find out what you’re made of, but get an insane education from some of the best and brightest working in television today. And this isn’t just getting a job on “Lost” or “Sons of Anarchy” or “Treme.” There are great writers working in television with a wealth of experience even on shows that aren’t brilliant. Young writers, old writers, guys who just broken in and those that have been doing it for thirty years. The writer’s room is the ultimate learning experience for a working writer, and I’ve know this a long time. It’s exactly where I want to get.
With shows for the Fall season getting staffed up right now, more and more people I know are getting on shows. Friends, acquaintances, and all those writers with massive piles of experience I mentioned. So where am I? Not writing screenplays. Not writing pilots or specs. Barely writing comics. And that makes me a liar.
I know what I want (personally and professionally). I’m a very goal-oriented person and I structure my life accordingly. But less and less, I’m not writing. I’m busy chasing work (writing and otherwise) and letting that consume me, or I’m doing writing that, as the always astute Joshua Hale Fialkov termed it, is “editing, even when it’s writing.” I’m sitting on the sidelines and making excuses (“I’ll write more when I have a full-time job that takes care of my expenses,” “I have to do this thing that pays before I can work on personal projects.”) instead of putting pen to paper (fingers to keys) and just writing because it’s what I have to do.
Writers write. There’s not more to that sentence. It’s two words and a period. No caveats, no footnotes, just a simple, honest fact. Writers write. Once more for emphasis. So what’s wrong with me. Why am I not writing.
The only thing standing between me and my goals professionally is my limited body of work. My lack of samples. My commitment to excellence. I know this. The problem has been identified and is easily correctable. I’ve known this truth for months if not years. I have people in my life who want me to succeed – friends, family, other writers.
Apparently I’m a liar. Apparently I don’t want to get into a writers’ room. Apparently I don’t want to follow a stint in television with a lengthy career in features working in multiple genres. If I wanted either of these things, I’d be writing. Plain and simple, make no bones about it. If I wanted to solve my “problem” I could just write my way out. But I’m not writing. Not nearly enough or as often as I need to write the bad out let alone build a career.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, right. I’m blogging again, for the first time since mid-March, but this is only my 8th post of the year. Some writer… I’m hoping that letting whatever crap is in my brain out on the page each morning it’ll loosen me up to make some progress on anything. I’m hoping that by blogging again I can psych myself up enough to take some positive steps toward the future.
I don’t want to be a liar anymore. I know what I want. You know what I want. Let’s get to writing, shall we.