I first thought the keyboard emoji for a heart was a kiss.
The ‘3’ are the lips and the ‘<‘ was the pucker. I used it voraciously, as if I’d found a new toy.
And then the toy broke: I think I posted the ‘kiss’ on a site that auto-changed the keystrokes to a real emoji and up popped the heart.
I was devastated.
I tried to argue with myself that it could still be a heart. I could pick up the broken pucker, the full lips, put them back together and Voila! All better.
Except it wasn’t.
These days, writing is like that for me. I think it’s one thing and then Poof! It’s not.
I have interior arguments and try to fight the panic that ensues. I feel like Jacob, wrestling with the angel who touches his hip, creating a life-long limp.
I have a severe writing limp.
My interior arguments are dramatic. They keep me up at night.
I’ve been working on my script writing. In about two weeks, I finished a pilot episode (yesterday, at about 5:30pm) and my mind was on to the scaffolding skeleton of the next seven episodes. I am on several screenplay websites that offer contests and I was one nuclear button push from separating myself from several hard-earned coins to enter one. I didn’t do it because I while I could have dedicated those several coins to the endeavor, I had other places to put it. Like food. Or the electric bill. How droll, right?
But truly, I didn’t do it because panic entered my interior argument. While one part of my brain was skipping through the lilies, intent on having my hand push the ‘Payment Method’ button (I had everything filled out except that; the script was uploaded, the logline was complete, the genre was identified and notes were offered about what else I planned, and I had checked and double-checked it all), the other part of my brain was calculating the costs.
What if you spend those coins and get drop-kicked at the first round (like you did for the micro-story contest)? You could have bought food or paid the electric bill.
What if they write back that your story idea is stupid?
What if no one likes it?
And on like that for at least a half-hour as I sat, staring at the ‘Payment Method’ button on the screen.
Which I promptly walked away from.
Fast forward to about 3am this morning:
Me, laying there with my eyes open. Thinking about the cold open for Episode One. Thinking about that thing I’d read, that before entering those contests, it’s good to have at least a small portfolio of finished scripts — what if they ask for more? what if they want to hire you and you have nothing else to show? what if they sort of like the concept but are interested in other things … what can you say about the versatility of your work? — just in case.
It’s the just in case that makes me panic even more.
What if you spend those coins and make it to the final round?
What if they write back that your story idea is brilliant?
What if all the judges like it?
Frankly, I’m scared to ask for a reader because I already know it doesn’t exactly follow the usual flow of a pilot script … my Acts 3 and 4 are long, while my Acts 1 and 2 are short.
I feel like the doctoral students I work with: I don’t want to be told that my idea — my baby of an idea that I love and nurture and want to see grow — can’t be. Or that it can’t be that way. Or it isn’t good.
I think it’s good.
I want to blanket the cover page with kisses: <3 <3 <3
And so, I’ll forge ahead and write at least Episode 1. I suspect when I get to the final Act, I’ll press on to Episode 2 and so on until I’ve done them all.
I have other projects that I could work, but they aren’t calling me like this one. I don’t want to take a break from it to add to that (currently non-existent) script portfolio with variety.
I want this.
I suppose I will press on, despite the interior argument and panic until these episodes are done.
I’ll kiss it and put it away.
Or maybe I’ll cough up those hard-earned coins and enter a contest after all. With or without a reader, I can’t say.
And I’ll try to sleep in between.