Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hello. My name is Julie... and I am a Writer.

I used to love my day job. “Headhunter.” It was fun to say.

“What do you do?”

“I’m a headhunter.”

The money was great, that didn’t hurt, either. I had Something to Prove and I was proving it.


Then one day, I noticed that writing wasn’t just something I did, it was something I Am…


Today, I was talking to the only friend at my day job who really seems to “get” me. I was complaining about the soul-suckingness of coming here and going through the motions, etc. And he asked why I didn’t explore some writing opportunities at the newspaper or something, to elevate my hobby to something I could make a living at.

Huh. Guess he didn’t really get me after all.

So, I endeavored to explain that screenwriting isn’t a hobby, at least, not to me.

Stamp collecting is a hobby. Origami is a hobby. Writing… well, that’s an addiction. A disease at the cellular level, every bit as destructive as alcoholism. It threatens jobs, lifestyles, marriages…

And I heard myself saying -- and as I spoke the words, I knew they were true -- that if I had to, I’d live in a hole somewhere eating Ramen noodles every meal, as long as I could write. I’d live in a box under an overpass, as long as I could write.

I used to think, as he does, that my writing somehow didn’t “count” unless I was getting paid for it. But, today I realized... it doesn’t matter if I ever make a living at this, as long as I get to DO THIS. The money (shrug) well, that’s just to keep the roof up there and the electricity on and the food on the table. I can earn enough to do all that without having An Impressive (and Soul-Sucking, Live-it-Eat-It-and-Breathe-It) Career.

There’s something deeply liberating in knowing I’m not A Total Failure if I never sell a script and never get that titular promotion from Writer to Screenwriter. It’s all about the Stories. I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m writing for love of the craft (despite how much it hurts and makes me hate it, sometimes). And somehow, ironically, that makes me feel a wee bit closer to actually getting paid for it.

8 Comments:

Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Nice :-)

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said titular. Fortunately I'm refined enough not to giggle. You've nailed my perspective and the reaction I, and probably most day jobbers, get from coworkers. Keep 'em coming.

Ted

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something I recently came across:

"Let me tell you what art is. Art is process. Or, to give you a more official definition, a work of art is the product of a process engaged in for its own sake, and not merely for the sake of the product."

I like that.

Lee

2:52 PM  
Blogger Julie O. said...

Thanks, Lee -- I like that, too.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie,

Have you had any luck getting your screenplays read by agents, managers, producers in LA? If so, what's the response been?

Ben

12:52 AM  
Blogger Julie O. said...

Yeah, Ben. I've been read by some of the "right" people. The response has always been positive, although I'm still fogging the glass from outside.

But, I've got more irons on the fire and a hot new spec percolating in my head.

Good times. :)

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie,

Be sure to hit up as many managers (in LA) as you can. These are the people you're most likely to connect with, because their core business is new writers.

Good luck!

Ben

11:38 PM  
Blogger Julie O. said...

Thanks, Ben. I've got my latest spec out to an agent and a writer/director (both in LA and have read me before). Gonna see what the word is from them before I market in earnest (or wade back in for another rewrite).

I've also got a couple of managers in mind for when I'm ready to fire off the next rounds. You make a good point, there.

I'm not a frequent blogger, but I imagine I'll post about the outcome, whatever it may be...

1:35 AM  

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