Quote Monday and a Big Thank You!

Happy Monday!

I had another rejection for advancement in a screenwriting competition.  I didn’t take it nearly as hard as I did the first time, although it has caused a bit of introspection on my part, especially while I drive to a dead-end waiting job that has caused irreparable damage to a few body parts.

I’m not going to rant, much, but I’d like to be at least a little happy (not even excited) about going to work until things start happening in the writing department.  The introspection was in regards to the same thing it always is – Am I a good writer?  When I asked a professional writer-friend to read my first script last year, he suggested I make it more of a romantic comedy and completely change the format and timeline.  I gave it some thought, but that was not at all the route I was taking with the story.  I wanted it to be different, and yes, while it is chocked full of romance, it’s a drama, and I liked the format I had specifically chosen for this story.

So I stuck with my choices, rewrote the third act completely, and submitted it.  And the rejections started rolling in.  Should I doubt myself because a few readers didn’t respond to my story?  The answer is a big whopping “NO!”.  I am passionate about this story, and eventually someone will take notice and feel the same way.  So for the quote of the week, in case you’re feeling like you’re in the same boat, I offer you this:

Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO

Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO

If you’re confident in your storytelling, don’t let anyone sway you to think otherwise.  Advice does not need to be taken verbatim.  It’s meant to be helpful, to help you find holes and mistakes, but if you love your story then follow your heart!  Your passion will find itself onto the page.

300FilmGraphicAs to my BIG Thank You, I have reached 300 followers, and I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support.  I have loved this space as an outlet to share my obsessions, geek out moments, and passions, while finding so much inspiration and creativity through your work.  Thank you for making me want to be a part of this circle; to send out positivity and get some in return.  *I couldn’t resist using this image.  😉

I apologize for my lack of interaction as of late, but I’m hoping to find some semblance of order and routine again soon.

I wish you all the very best and hope you are finding ways of working towards your goals!

xx, Rach

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Dealing with Rejection, Badly.

EverythingIsGoingToBeAlrightI have been rather busy the last couple of weeks, and many things have been pushed to the back burner, causing a bit of stress.

In an effort to pay it forward, The Sis and I agreed to allow a friend from out of town stay with us for a bit while he got back on his feet (my best friend and like-a-sister let us stay with her when we first returned to town). In a matter of weeks it has quickly become a source of contention, especially where the furkids are concerned. My girl doesn’t really seem to like him and hasn’t warmed up to him at all, so there’s a lot of noise, at all hours.

There’s more to be said on the subject, but we’ll leave it at that.

We had family in town, and amidst all that, I have been on the job hunt.  Regardless of the fact that I was applying to a lot of jobs that were actually looking for people, I never received a response from any of them.  Not one.  And I’m quite qualified for what I was applying for.  I applied for positions online that had questionnaires and psych evals upward of 120+ questions.  Ridiculous.  It’s a bartending job, not working for the government.  In a last ditch effort I walked into a local bar with my resume and they gave me a call the next day.  So yay.  I got a new job, but this is where it all starts to go wrong, so to speak.

The same day I got the job as a server by the way, not a bartender (because beggars can’t be choosers), I got my rejection letter from the Nicholl Fellowship.  My script was not advancing to the quarterfinals.  Although one of my scores was high, it wasn’t high enough to push it forward for a third read which would have given me a chance to proceed within the competition.

I took it hard.  I still sort of am.  Yes, I know about accepting rejection and moving on – I’m sure I’ve even discussed it here.  All writers face rejection, often many, many times.  It is the perseverance to continue that provides us the success we desire.  I know that.  Doesn’t make the rejection any easier to bear initially.Fall Seven, Stand Eight

I didn’t necessarily need to win one of the top five spots offered, but I wanted to advance enough to use that as leverage as I send out my script to agents, etc., and yes, the money would’ve been nice.  I try to be positive in this space, but sometimes I just need to vent and hope it helps alleviate the stress because my life is so far from where I want it to be. The combination of becoming a server again (at my age) and not feeling like my screenwriting career is going anywhere is really affecting me in general at the moment.

I just don’t ever feel like I’m getting ahead.

Now, I realize I haven’t hit the market with all the fervor I should have by now (I only just recently got my first script to a point I was happy with), so my feelings of inadequacies are completely unfounded, but they are there nonetheless.  I don’t want to think that I should perhaps choose a different life, become a “responsible adult” and take care of all those things I want to by settling – leave the creative life behind…

I want to be a writer.  Dammit, I am a writer.

The last two mornings I’ve had to stare at myself in the mirror and remind myself that rejection is a part of the so-called “game”, that this is just a bump in the road, a lesson to be learned, blah blah blah.  Even in the letter I received from The Academy, they tried to reassure the rejected by saying the following:

A lack of success here may not have any bearing on your reception in the marketplace where a sale is the ultimate measure of success. I’ll even venture a prediction: several non-advancing writers will become professional screenwriters in the near future.

That only mildly soothed the pang of rejection.

I have two more opportunities I’m waiting to hear back on, Final Draft’s Big Break and the NYWIFT Writer’s Lab, so here’s hoping for something positive.  Not to sound dramatic, but I almost need a little something, an external force to remind me I’m on the right path.

When I read the rejection letter, The Sis immediately responded with, “Your writing is really good.” and “Are there any words of encouragement I can offer?” Oddly, that almost made me feel as bad as the rejection itself.  She has been so supportive of my career choice, and we take care of each other.  This has been one of my driving desires to succeed, so I can help her achieve her own goals.

Ugh.  I’m not sure I feel any better yet, and she’ll read this in her inbox later this evening and offer me some more encouraging words, and I’ll probably feel a bit worse again, but thanks, Sis, in advance.  I know you’re trying to help. 😉  I know I’ll be determined to “show ’em” in a few days, but for now it is what it is.

How have you handled rejection, my fellow creatives?

What I Learned Last Night At My Writer’s Group

UnhappyIconGracious.  Last night, for the first time, I read some of my work to the group; a few pages of the script I’m thinking of adapting into a tv series.  I’ve been attending this particular writer’s group since January, and some of the members have become friends, so I was completely taken by surprise at the level of anxiety that overtook me when I started to read.  I haven’t been that nervous since the first time I had my work read aloud in college, many moons ago, which I did eventually get over.  Obviously, it’s been in hiding.  The quivering voice that made me more and more self conscious as I continued to read, the spastic hand that made it difficult to scroll, reiterated to me why writers drink.  Our group leader brings wine for everyone each week, but last night I did not partake…I really should have.  I got positive feedback, so that felt good, but I felt stupid that at this point in my life, I couldn’t control the nervousness.  I was surprised they were even able to pay attention to the words beyond the trembling.

This unsettled me.  If I had this level of anxiety among people I knew, how would I be able to pitch and sell my stories to strangers?

I used to wait tables and bartend.  Talking to strangers comes easily, but talking about myself and my work on a bigger scale is clearly a hurdle I will have to overcome.  I was thinking back to my first days as a server.  I was nervous, but nothing like what I experienced last night.  I became a pretty good server, often asked to wait on special guests at the restaurants I worked in…I would have to remember those principles I once implemented as a server; being friendly, professional, confident.

I would also have to practice.  As I had been able to get over the anxiety in school through repeated exposure, I would have to do the same thing at the writer’s group.  I mean, I am to blame for not getting myself and my work out there more.  I’ve been attending the group for 6 months and I just shared my work?!  Geez.  So I came to the conclusion that I would have to read, and read, and read some more.  I would have to get comfortable being vulnerable again.  I’m not sure if it was the judgement I feared or what exactly, but I was reminded of a particular quote when I got home –

Your work is not you.

If anyone has any advice to offer on the subject, please share!

On a side note, I wrote about 700 words of some Dragon Age fan fiction…

I’m sending out positive vibes today!  Best wishes!

 

A Screenwriter No-No

I had to share this.  And just to forewarn you, it’s painful.  One of the first rules of etiquette in this industry (or any), don’t abuse your contacts.  This should almost go without saying.  I understand the excitement that goes along with finding someone who can help you with your career (I’ve talked about this before), but this is not how to go about it.  If this writer had done any research on how to network, how to maintain relationships, and how to take any amount of criticism, this may have been someone he could have contacted again in the future, but now he’ll be lucky if he’s not blackballed from the entire industry.  It’s a small world and people talk.  All I can say is wow.

Enjoy!

Why producers will not read your script – shocking case study from one exec.

Have a great week everyone!

Disappointment

I didn’t get the fellowship.  I’m a mixture of disappointment and mild relief at the knowledge that now I can move on.  The waiting game was growing tiresome.  I had other things to keep me occupied, but the continuous wondering and worrying whether or not I was moving forward was becoming a burden (if you can believe).  So after a few tears, I’ve decided not to wallow (too much) by shrugging off the rejection and pouring myself into my work.  This is one of the unfortunate sides of the business I’ve decided to take part in — rejection — a lot of rejection.  I have to keep telling myself that this is only the beginning.  I’ve only just begun to send out my work, but it was not for me alone I wanted this opportunity.  *I need to make note of this, for my future self.  Since moving to LA, I’ve struggled to find steady work, a “day job”.  My younger sister has been supporting us and that in itself is an enormous burden.  Her job is unsatisfying, and she is left to shoulder great responsibility while I try to achieve my goals.  Since the fellowship offered so many benefits for a new writer, including financial support, I thought (perhaps foolishly) that I could relieve some of the pressure.  So here I am again…square one.

And then the thought dawned on me, “I am not alone in my struggles today”.  So in an effort to be optimistic in order to move forward, I’m going to post a few uplifting quotes from LiveLifeHappy.com.

Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of struggle.

Don’t rush anything.  When the time is right, it’ll happen.

If you never go after what you want, you’ll never have it.  Live without regrets.  If you want it, fight for it.

Wait for what you deserve.  Don’t settle, just be patient.

Don’t let something tear you down.  Allow it to help you move on to something better.

There’s always something good coming.  Remember that.

Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.

I wish each of you success in whatever you are hoping to achieve!  And know you are not alone in your daily struggles.  There is an entire creative network, hopefully, cheering you on and supporting you.  If you don’t have a support system, like a writer’s group, make that one of your “to do’s” for the new year.  As I’ve stated, and you’re well aware, writing is a lonely business.  Finding others like us is instrumental in making our solitary lives more bearable.

If anyone would like to offer some words of advice and encouragement, not just to me, please feel free to share.

Best of luck to you all!

 

Rejection

This year I entered two screenwriting competitions with my second script.  It was the first time I had entered anything, and I was hopeful, but not naive.  When the first rejection letter came in, that my script had not advanced, it stung, and I was sad for a couple of days.  At the end of the mourning, I was more determined.  That’s when I really started taking things more seriously.  I was gonna show ’em all!

When I received the second rejection I was unfazed (well, not as sad as the first time).  Rejection is a part of the process.  Every successful writer I’ve read about has always mentioned the heap of rejection letters tucked away in some box, hidden away, never to see the light of day…and I was on my way to following in their footsteps.  And I found that I was proud of myself for putting my work out there.  That was a stressful click of the mouse.  That first “SEND” had never looked so ominous, but I found it gets easier.

So for those of you in the same boat, here are a few inspirational rejection quotes:

A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success. – Bo Bennett

Rejected pieces aren’t failures; unwritten pieces are. – Greg Daugherty

We will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen our resolve. To be successful there is no other way. – Earl G. Graves

We all start somewhere.  Go get ’em!  Wishing you all the best of luck!