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.