The Hardest Thing About Writing…

So.  After months, or even years, spent in daily/nightly toil on your book or screenplay, you’ve gotten it all polished and spiffy and the best it possibly can be. Perhaps you’ve spent many sleepless nights writing and rewriting it, sweating every word and switching passages or scenes around to make it all come together, and now you’ve done it.  You’ve finished the damn thing.

Now what?

Well, maybe you want to try to get it published, or made into a movie.  You want some kind of representation by way of an agent or a manager. Or perhaps you want to bypass those guys altogether and go straight for indie publishing, or pitching your concept to a producer, or raising funds to make the film yourself.  No matter which path you choose, you’re going to have to market yourself in the end.  And that’s the hard part. 

Is it because that’s a particularly difficult process?  Nope.  Or perhaps because agents, publishers, producers and the like are ogres just waiting to stomp on your dreams?  Naw, most of them are nice, albeit overworked folks.   No, the Sisyphus-like ordeal of finding your way to success is due primarily to that very thing that gives you a writer’s disposition in the first place: your introversion.

That’s the paradox.  Something none of us artsy-fartsy folks can escape because it’s essential to our own natures.  All writers of fiction and/or screenplays are imaginative, inward-looking folks, which means of course that we’re much more comfortable exploring the contents of our own heads than we are schmoozing at cocktail parties, lobbying the pow’rs-that-be for attention and favors, or drafting many versions of the same letter in order to find that one perfect pitch, like a verbal dog whistle, that only an agent or producer can hear.   Heck, I’d rather spend a couple of years writing a 400-page novel than sending out the necessary query letters in a quest for representation.

But you know what?  I’ve come to realize, fairly recently at that, that not only is a willingness to put myself “out there” a necessary component of getting my stuff read, it also represents a personal challenge for me to overcome my innate shyness and reticence in pursuit of something that I believe is worthwhile. 

So although I face that part of the process with sweaty palms and teeth clenched in anticipation of a slammed door hitting my nose, it’s something I have to do.  As a motivator, I reward myself with the thought that after that’s done and I’ve either hit a dead end or taken that next step toward success, I get to re-experience the joy of writing something else. 

And after I finish it?  Well, I try not to focus on that.

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