Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Don't Rush (but don't waste your life either)

This week’s blog wouldn’t be complete without a reference to Kelly Clarkson.  (For the record, I do not love Kelly.  I like her music.  I also don’t love Tina or Adele but I like their music.  In fact, I don’t love any recording artist.  I don’t know any of them.)  KC has song called Don’t Rush or something close to that – I don’t read the CD case while I’m driving.  Great song.  Great message in the song.  I enjoy listening to it.

It’s a good mantra for writers.  Don’t rush.  If you study writing at all you’ve read as many articles as I have about not sending out your work too soon.  Or even sharing it with other people too soon.  That’s really good advice.  But there comes a time where patience will keep you from moving forward.

Allow me to share a conversation I had recently with myself.  (I’m a writer.  I can be eccentric.  (That double ‘c’ construction is interesting.))  Earlier this summer I saw a VW in the parking lot of the train station with a license plate that essentially said, “I make movies.”  I thought, “Hey, here’s a local who loves this too.”  But I didn’t have time to leave a note.  I was actually doing a pre-on trial for murder O.J. dash to catch my ride.  I decided that I’d keep my eyes open and catch him next time.

Next time took 4 months.  I was getting ready to pull out on my way home and saw the car.  I said, “I should leave a note.”  And then I said, “But that’s weird.  I’m not doing that.”  I sat in my truck for a minute and found myself back in high school leaning against the wall at a Spring Fling dance wanting to ask a young lady to dance but fearing the rejection and what she would think of me after.

I didn’t end up asking her to dance.  It was a boring night.

Back in the truck I asked, “How serious are you about writing?”  It was a fair question and I answered, “Serious.”

With that answer I knew I had to step up.  I left a card with a note.  Then I checked my email about 30 times before going to bed.  No response.  “See?  He thinks I’m a nut,” I said.  “Be patient,” I said back.

The very next day I got a response – “Hey, I saw your card on my windshield this morning heading to the train station.  We should talk, I’m looking for a writer.”

So I have a neighbor who does video production, works for a non-profit in DC as a producer, and has a film making degree from George Mason.  Cool.  I watched his demos.  He’s very good.  “You are out of your league,” I said.  “You can’t make me quit now,” I said back.  But I was intimidated.  We’ve exchanged several emails since.  One included Princess Rose.

Turns out I’m moving up a league.

Am I lucky to have seen the car?  Absolutely, but only because I acted.  And that action?  It only had value because I’ve put in the hours to learn and sharpen a very specific skillset – with a portfolio that demonstrates that skill.  So I didn’t rush, but I didn’t use it as an excuse either.

Are you serious about your passion?  Get out there.  You won’t be discovered working under a rock even if you’re amazing.  Remind me next Wednesday and I’ll tell you about the pen salesman.

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