By Paul Zeidman
A friend emailed me to vent his frustration regarding the latest development for pitching his TV pilot. Suffice to say, it didn’t go the way he’d hoped.
“Writing is hard work for me, and to have a project like this dismissed completely deflates me. I think I need to set a deadline (end of the year?), and if I haven’t gotten a sale or at least representation by then, exit, stage left.”
I can totally sympathize. Who hasn’t been in that boat before? You try and try, feel like you’re making no headway and going nowhere fast.
But setting up a deadline of when you’ll stop once and for all?
As we all know, this is not an easy thing to do. The odds are already stacked against us, and it takes an extraordinary amount of effort, determination and perseverance to keep moving forward. And that’s just to get your first break.
I of all people can attest to feeling like nothing good is ever going to happen for me, and why again am I putting myself through the agony of all of this?
Because we’re writers. WE WRITE BECAUSE WE LOVE DOING IT.
For a writer willing to give up writing is, to quote the late, great Vizzini, inconceivable. As crazy as it sounds, I’d rather write and continue to fail than not write at all. (But in theory would be improving after each failure, thereby resulting in an inevitable success.)
You never know when things will work out for you, so continuously having at it will always increase your odds.
Continue to work on getting better. Even if only a handful of people read your stuff and like it, that’s still a victory. And they do add up.
It takes a very, very long time to get to the finish line, let alone at your desired pace. And even then, you’re always striving to improve on it. Take this from someone who writes screenplays AND does half-marathons.
Believe me, there will be shitty days. Lots of them. You will be angry and frustrated. You will see others succeed while you feel like you’re going nowhere. It happens. But that’s the price you pay for setting off on this seemingly impossible journey.
But also keep in mind that you’re not alone. There are lots of us out on a similar path. Feel free to make the occasional turn so your path intersects with somebody else’s. It can help make the journey a bit easier.
My friend responded with a note of thanks and gratitude, which included “I’m ultimately a storyteller, a writer. This is what I exist to do, even if my audience is a small one. I will work hard to find it and share my stories.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Hang in there, chums.
Paul Zeidman is a screenwriter/blogger based in San Francisco. When not writing, rewriting, or reading scripts, he enjoys watching movies, reading comic books, running half-marathons, and making what could possibly be the best pecan pie west of the Mississippi. Check out his screenwriting blog at https://maximumz.blog.
Social links: https://twitter.com/maximum_z