So, there’s this voice. It tells you to forget everything you’re doing. Says the advertising career you’ve spent years working towards isn’t right. Start your life over. Become a writer. “You’re crazy,” you tell this intrepid voice. The voice that stalks you in the middle of the night, forcing you to wake with ideas you have no clue what to do with. “Leave me be,” you tell that voice. “I’m not a writer.”
After all, you’ve never studied writing. You have a Marketing degree. Sure, as a shy, quiet girl you’ve written poems and journal entries to deal with your angst. And yes, you’ve been obsessed with television ever since you were a child, but that doesn’t mean you can write it. It doesn’t make you a writer, right?
Then that voice becomes incessant; invading your dreams, forcing characters into your head without your consent. Finally, the only thing you can do to stop the unremitting chatter is tolisten. Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Sounds awesome. So, you climb up on that cliff, open up your laptop, and
A blinking cursor stares back at you, mocking your attempt to be brave. The page is blank. The staccato beat of the cursor is like laughter in the face of your boldness. You and the cursor are in a standoff and the cursor has just won. You shut the laptop, disgusted with that voice for giving you delusions of grandeur. You climb back down off of the cliff.
“I told you!” you scream at the voice. “I’m not a writer.” It ignores you, as sassy voices are wont to do, and tells you to try again. So, just as any other crazy person on earth, you listen to the voice. But, this time, you grab some tools to help you. You take an online class, read scripts, absorb the fundamentals. Eventually, you trek back up that cliff and open the laptop.
There it is again, that damnable blinking cursor. It laughs at your gluttony for punishment. And then you type your first word. The laughter stops. You type some more. Your words become scenes. Then those scenes become acts. You write until the culmination of your exploration of this cliff manifests as your first short film. You did it! The voice is pleased.
Now what? You’re on the cliff, haven written your first piece, but should you creep to the edge and look over at the possibilities? Should you jump? Jumping is a little too brazen for you at this point. You’re still stuck in your head, not quite comfortable with the fall. So, you take what you’ve written and you apply to a Master’s program. You get in. And come this May, you’ll hold a Master’s of Fine Arts in Writing & Producing for Television.
Now what? The voice has been silent. It’s just you now. You creep closer to the edge of the cliff.Emboldened by your success in school, you apply to the CBS Diversity Writer’s Fellowship.You’re on pins and needles. Maybe this was a stupid idea. Maybe you should climb back down and go back to your old life. Then you get a call from The Carole Kirschner telling you thatyou’ve made it into the program!
You start to believe. Maybe you have some talent. Maybe you can make this work. What if that voice was right all along? You make a declaration. You are a writer! It’s the boldest thing you’ve ever said. And, for the first time in this journey, you actually believe it.
Your toes creep past the edge of the cliff as you look over. Your career as a writer sits at the bottom. You just have to be brave enough to go over the cliff. You’re reminded of Roald Dahl who once said, “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.” So, you take in a deep breath, close your eyes…