I address this to the blog-weary aspiring writer in desperate need of inspiration:
Follow your dream.
That’s good advice—provided the intended recipient has never seen a bumper sticker, listened to popular music, attended a motivational speech, or watched any of the irresponsibly optimistic Western programming responsible for the millennial generation. The polite thing to do upon hearing the bromide is to nod, offer thanks, and make a sincere attempt to derive inspiration from it. Follow my dream. Follow my dream. Of course, the more candid, bold, and altogether useful response would be, “Thanks, stupid. Then what?”
As you well know, the hard part of following one’s dream—the part that’s mostly glossed over in the montage, or trivialized with charming anecdotes romanticizing the day-to-day struggle—is the tricky little bit of chasing a moving target without a map. Of pursuing a goal that is at once both impossible and increasingly unlikely.
So how does one do it?
Who knows? There are as many paths as passengers. How does one follow your dream?
If it helps, I can tell you what I’m doing.
I’m applying for every writing contest that might add a much-needed ration of validation to my ever-threatened store of writer self-confidence. I’m writing every day in hopes of one day earning the title my heroes set the bar for. I’m taking the advice of my mentor, program advisors, and previous program participants who have collected more experience in this industry than I could hope to in several lifetimes. I’m being grateful to my friends and family, who provide me with the support to continue on this journey and assurance that I will never go without food, shelter, or love. I’m establishing friendships and trading knowledge with other aspiring writers without expecting anything but friendship (and occasional script coverage) in return. I’m sending well-thought-out thank you notes—the kinds that take as long to write as a teaser.
So, you ask cynically—three hundred words invested and no more enlightened—where does that leave you? How do you get into the writer’s room? How do you break in?
How the hell should I know?
Follow your dream.