Being born creative is one of those double-barreled gifts. It's almost like having a second type vision. You can see life, both good and bad, in richer hues and assorted layers. The downside is that we live in a world that is not really built for artists. Making a viable living doing what you're born to do can feel about as accessible as winning the Mega-millions jackpot while simultaneously getting a deep-tissue massage. That's not even touching the assorted comments you will get from families, loved ones and friends. People that are not writers often have NO idea about the realities of trying to get your work out there. Every real victory you have will mean nothing to some folks just because of out-moded prejudices. Back when I was getting my feet wet with zines, I had friends obviously look unimpressed just because the publication wasn't a)glossy and b) available at your local mass-market book emporium.
Another one is using the term “blogger” like it's an insult. In the past few years of writing, I've been lucky to see people get progressively more open minded about writing online. It was just a handful of years ago where the snobbery towards online writing was massive. Whether it was writing for a blog or a regular website, the prevailing attitude was that it just didn't count. The sheer amount of bullshit attached to that is nearly mind-blowing. Writing is writing. If your work is out there and someone who is not yourself is reading it, then guess what? It totally counts. The fact that literary titans like Neil Gaiman have a blog should be proof right there that being a “blogger” is not and should not be a scarlet letter.
There's been a lot of really fascinating and needed discussion lately about the value of writing, especially for those of us in the fringe/genre film world. The internet is a huge blessing, making everything more democratic than ever. Of course with the landscape bigger than ever, it also means that there is more work to sift through. Even more troublesome is that it also ups the odds of having someone opportunisticly cribbing some of the words that you worked hard to craft. Of course, does that mean you shouldn't put you and your work out there? Hell no! When you're creative, at the end of the day the biggest priority should always be the work itself. If the cult of personality is something that is your main goal, then just be a celebrity and leave the art to the people that actually care. Also, ego? Check that at the door too. Doing anything to be “cool” is about the uncoolest thing in the world.
Writing is a field that will give you ample scar tissue, so to quote one especially mediocre Van Halen song, “you've got to roll with the punches to get to what's real.” The cream inevitably rises and the karmic scale does get balanced. Being a “real” writer isn't just about getting paid and published. It's about getting rejected, having someone leave a shitty comment or an editor bypassing your hard work for one of a lesser quality. Yet it is the negative that makes the positive all the sweeter when it happens. Getting your work out there and connecting with both like minded readers and writers is far richer than any of the annoyances that come with it. The more you explore, the more you realize that the good far outweighs the bad.
Being a film writer has a lot of blessings. That moment of not only moving a reader but sometimes even the artist whom you are writing about is tantamount to magic in this world. It is those moments that make up for any dramas or depression. Getting to explore and write about the language of cinema is what I live for and even when it can drive me crazy, it is without a doubt, my path. It's not even my chosen path, because it chose me long before I chose it and I would not have it any other way. Play people, especially your readers, for chumps and they will return the sentiment two-fold. But treat them with respect and the right ones will always, always get it.
Dedicated to Larry Gibbs and Andy Copp. Two friends that loved film and cut out from this plane too soon. Thank you both for making a special mark in this world and my life.