Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mid-Year Angst

Well, here it is - July!  And after feeling somewhat positive that the new year would bring good things, I'm now stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for the moment when those good things will happen.

It's agonizing. And after checking out a friend's recent blog post about distractions and their role in our writing process, I find myself pondering - and writing this entry with more than the average distraction in the background - teenagers playing video games. I guess that's part of life, though. Since January, I have been productive in completing 3 specs for the TV show Supernatural. But because of life's distractions, I missed a crucial deadline to submit them to a crucial writing fellowship program. The WB Writers Workshop is the perfect venue for breaking into TV writing, and Supernatural is a WB show. But I missed the deadline, and I am left hanging.

I've gotten some really good feedback on the scripts from writing friends, and I've submitted to a few TV writing competitions, but finalists aren't chosen until it's officially Fall, and I'm having a hard time waiting that long. What's worse, one competition sent me feedback from what they call the 'first reader.' Three sentences of general notes that left me feeling ambiguous about my chances. As my son put it - "It's one person's opinion! And (s)he said you nailed the characters. How is that bad?" It's bad because the reviewer was ambivalent about the choice of the main plot. And on that note, no more details...

but my son is right. It's pointless to obsess during the waiting phase. The competition rules even state that the brief feedback we might receive is not necessarily an indicator on how well the entry is doing... And so, I continue to obsess. This kind of obsessing is just as much a distraction as the kids in the background, the chores waiting to be done, the bills waiting to be paid, the holiday events, the graduations (my son is out of high school, prepping for college - distractions, distractions, distractions...).

And then there's the 'could have been a contender' moments to obsess about. I entered a short called Blindsided into the DC Shorts Competition, then received an email apologizing for the mixup about being a finalist... Wait, what? I got an email saying Blindsided was a finalist? Well 'not' being a finalist meant that instead of being in the Top 6, the script was an alternate in the Top 9. How can I complain about making the Top 9 in a national competition? I can't. But, here I am, obsessing over the fact that I was sooooo close.

I guess I'm sort of rambling. What was my point? Oh yeah, distractions. Some of them are legitimate, and as writers, we need to just set aside the time anyway. Muscle through it. But some of them are really our own doing. I need to focus on a feature rewrite - an agent said he'd be interested if I could retool it a bit. I need to focus on a series pilot. Now that I've got a handle on the format of a one hour drama, I think I can retool another old script into a series idea. Someone suggested that years ago, and I obsessed about how I could do that. Now might be the time to stop obsessing, and to stop adding to the distractions not under my control. Or to at least push those nagging worries to the back burner for a while and take a new step.

I guess I started moving forward by deciding to update this blog. It needed it. It got me writing for the day - so I guess a little obsessing is a good thing!

Keep writing, friends!