A couple items:
- I got very nice note from the editor of the Chariton Review wanting to print a short story I submitted called “How to Write Your Own Biography.”
- I’ve been writing a treatment for new media project and last week I got a letter saying I’d soon be receiving a contract for an actual script.
I’ll update if/when either of these things become a reality. Even at a “contract’s in the mail” stage, I’ve had projects disappear, so that could happen.
But for right now, I’m appreciating the good news…
… and I’m continuing to develop several other projects that I’m excited about…
… and I’m “visioning” that miracle TV staffing job…
… and I’m also browsing LinkedIn and Glassdoor… looking at “real” jobs.
Hope and gratitude and passion can co-exist with anxiety and even grief.
Back when I was diagnosed with cancer and the odds were about 50-50, I exercised and meditated and read medical articles and nutrition books with the intention to nudge these odds as much as possible and survive. And at the same time, because it was a real possibility, I felt I should try to mentally and emotionally prepare for a different future where I did not stay alive. Really considering the thought that I might not survive brought about an odd combination of feelings: grief and loss, but, at times, also the possibility of relief. I figured that if it got to the point where I knew, then I could give myself a break– eat sugar, and drink alcohol and just mentally let go. I saw friends reach that point, and while it wasn’t what they would have chosen, they accepted that a choice had been made for them, and there was a kind of peace in knowing that. Once they acknowledged that their time on this earth was limited, all the “fighting time” became time they could use in whatever way was the most rewarding for them.
It might seem ridiculous to say that contemplating failing to establish a writing career is comparable to contemplating dying of cancer. Except that I have now experienced both, and — without wanting to sound overwrought — in my experience, there are similarities.
I’ve invested very heavily — money, security, and years of my life and just a lot of emotional intent — in the idea that someday I would be able to sustain myself through writing. I’ve hoped that would involve working and collaborating with other people in a writers room to make good work. That has been the dream.
But the closer I get without getting, the more I’m having to face the idea that the odds of this happening are not in my favor. They are much worse than 50/50.
And so I’m doing two things at once: One one hand I’m hoping I can beat the odds, and to that end I’m doing the work that anecdotally helps: I’m doing the networking and writing and producing outside projects to help break through the noise…
But I am also trying to look at things honestly, and that means contemplating what it might be like to admit failure and give up. When I visualize doing that, I feel grief. I feel so heartbroken that I start to cry at random moments.
But I’ve also begun to wonder if it might be a relief. I think about the possibility of being financially solvent, of binge watching TV just because I like it, of casually clicking the $25 or $50 dollar donations on people’s GoFundMe pages. I think about looking for a job that isn’t just a crutch to lean on while I give myself to an industry that doesn’t seem to need me, but a job that is also meaningful and where my employer sees value in me.
Those are the two things I’m thinking simultaneously each day when I wake. Carrying them both is work.
I’m still working.
2 thoughts on “Still Working…”
What does: I’ve been writing a treatment for new media project and last week I got a letter saying I’d soon be receiving a contract for an actual script.
Also, I hear ya!
A treatment is a written plan for a screenplay — kind of like if you ever turned in an outline for a paper or a thesis in school. The company or producer uses the treatment to help ensure that the screenplay is going to meet their desires and expectations. They can give feedback and ask for changes to the treatment in hopes of saving everyone work or disappointment at the script stage.
In theory, the treatment “step,” which can be quite time-consuming, would be paid work, but more often (in my reality at least) the treatment is unpaid — defined as as a proposal for the “actual” work of writing the script. Getting a contract to write the script means they are promising to pay money, so hearing that they are putting together the contract can sound exciting. But it’s dangerous to get too excited because this is where things tend to get delayed, and sometimes the delay means that, after all your unpaid work, the project will disappear altogether!