… And That’s Ok


I was forced to concede defeat: I just wasn’t going to make the deadline for the Warner Brother’s Writers workshop. The deadline is today, but I wasn’t reasonably going to be able to churn out a forty page spec script overnight, and even if I did, it wasn’t likely to be my best work, which wasn’t likely to help me get into the program anyway. The bottom line was that I’d waited too long to get started- partly because I was working on other things and partly because I just didn’t have my act together.

Lately, I’ve been very fixated on the shortcomings in my life. I’m two years out of grad school and am still spinning my wheels on my career. I’m about to tip over into the second half of my thirties and I was still wasn earning much more than I had been in my twenties- only now I was spending way more of it on rent and healthcare. Why. Why. Why.

The problem was that I’d raised my head too high and looked too far down the road at my goals, and I was realizing how much ground there was still to cover. It was like standing on the mountain next to Mount Everest and pointing to the summit and going: “I want to go to there” and realizing that it will take about ten years and a jet pack to get there.

So I was working myself into a swivet over it.

The Warner Brothers writer’s workshop was just the most recent item on the long list of “At Leasts”. I should at least submit something to the Nichols Fellowship. I should at least submit to Austin Film Fest screenplay competition. I should at least try to do Pitchfest. Etc. One by one these opportunities had come and gone and I’d failed to take advantage of them: no materials suitable to submit, submission deadline in the middle of the busy season at work, no spare cash for the entry fees, too late to sign up. I was letting opportunities pass me by and wailing about why I wasn’t getting any traction in my career. My resolutions for the year of finding representation and selling my work seemed to get farther away every day.

And yet…

And yet I still seemed to be making progress. Somehow. I’d written four chapters of my novel. I’d done a rewrite polish on a script. I’d finally squared away several old production books… It wasn’t like I was doing nothing, it just wasn’t moving me towards the goal I thought I was aiming for. The more I tried to force myself to concentrate on barfing out a spec script for my application, the less I wanted to do it. I wanted to finish reading my book. I wanted to finish crossing the production binder off my list. I wanted to write on my novel instead. A thousand excuses.

After I gave up on the notion of trying to complete a submission overnight and was flooded with a profound sense of relief. I realized that I’d been trying to force it to be a priority, but really I wasn’t ready to have my heart and mind behind it yet… And that was ok. I was reminded of the year I decided, very suddenly, that I wanted to move from Chicago to LA and the Curmudgeonly Lion had to talk me out of packing up my things that very minute.

“Maybe let’s take a year to plan and do it right.” He told me at the time, and he was right, and it was what we did. And this is why I love him and need him in my life.

So maybe it’s advice that I need to take again: maybe all these near misses with various deadlines are meant to be little flags for my attention saying: “Take note! This is what you need to prepare for!” Maybe this year is really meant for me to be building track instead of trying to run the trains over raw ground.

And that’s ok.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 31, 2018.

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