Guest Post by Jenn at Just Say Jenn. She's a writer with work in Yahoo!, Buzz Magazine, Stack Magazine, and Gather Entertainment and writes screenplays in her spare time.
The Importance of Passion and Persepective
Guest posting is hard, yo! I had to rack my brainspace and figure out what a nonsense TV writer such as myself could possibly have to contribute to this blog. So after a few boxes of wine, I decided to write about one of the biggest struggles a writer faces... taking the gigs, or following your passion?
I've been doing this for a while, and it's something I still struggle with daily. When you're first starting out in writing, you're just such an eager beaver you'll work morning, noon and night for nickels or less, just to have your name on something and your work published. I can remember days of writing about completely foolish things like “10 Ways to Tell He's In To You,” and now I have an empire firmly rooted in the “Real Housewives” franchise, I'll let you debate within yourself on whether that's actually a step up anywhere.
No writer is going to tell you they live, breathe, and die for the gigs or beat writing that is out there. We all have passions somewhere. Mine happens to be screenwriting and fiction, not “Five Things You Think Kim Kardashian is Thinking” and I wasn't getting much work done in the things I wanted to be doing. I was logging long hours writing about things I could care less about, and it was taking it's toll. A toll of the bourbon in the coffee kind...well, not really, but you know what I mean.
So that's when you have to have that hard conversation with yourself. Is it the money or the art you're in this for? Weren't we all about the art when we wrote our first story? Didn't the excitement of creating something you're in love with get you out of bed in the morning? I know at some point I was actually dreading writing. I had pictures of all of my editors on a dartboard and I was not a fun person to be around. I chose to be a writer so I wouldn't have that 9-5 feeling...
But money makes the world go 'round...a girl's gotta eat, pay her kids' soccer tuition and get her nails done, right? At what price, though? To live with a screaming banshee woman swinging from the rafters at 5pm on her third edit of, “Guess What George Clooney Had to Eat Today?” Nope. Nobody wants that life.
It's all about balance. You have to keep your mojo firing on all cylinders with the passion, while keeping your name out there and the nickels coming in. You also need to keep your perspective, too. What do you want to be known for in the end? That great novel or investigative piece or a thousand pieces of disposable content? I don't know about you, but I'm winning the 2014 Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Stop laughing, I totally am.
So as you go about your writing, remember that. You should always wake up jazzed to crate something. That's what separates that from the cannibals. If you're not, take a break and find it again. It changes everything.