Fear of Failure – Aargh!!!

Ya gotta love any interweb post that opens the way this one does. What? You don’t know what we’re talking about? Read on, MacCurious:

FearFTKby Emily Blake

Time for some brutal honesty.

If you decide to be a teacher or an accountant or a lawyer or a doctor or a construction worker or most jobs in this country, you have a clear order of operations to make that happen. You go to school. You get an entry level job. You work your way up. You have a career.

It doesn’t work that way for screenwriters. There’s no prescribed degree that will qualify you for the job. There’s no entry level position from which to work your way up. You have to wave your arms to get noticed, and then you have to hope that what you offer is what someone else is looking for.

I’ve been writing since I figured out what a pencil was, but here I am, a full-grown adult, and still not a paid writer.

Sure, I’ve been validated. I know I don’t suck. I’ve been repped and won a highly rated contest and met with producers who tell me how much they like my writing. But that doesn’t make me a professional writer. It makes me a talented hobbyist.

It’s so easy to get demoralized. Half the time, you have no idea why you’ve been rejected, so you start to second guess everything. Did they think I was a comedy writer? Is it because I’m a woman? Are they looking for something more commercial? Do they not like my snazzy writing style?

Or the worst one of all, the one we all have to face down at regular intervals: What if I’m not as good as I think I am?

What if you’re the kid at the American Idol audition who talks about how amazing he is, then opens his mouth and wails like an angry goat? What if every person who ever told you that you were any good was just trying to make you feel better, or trying to make you shut up, or had no taste themselves, or was making fun of you? What if you are just wasting your time?

You could throw in the towel and go back to looking for a job where your resume and an interview are all you need to get hired, where you won’t be told constantly how amazing you are by people who won’t hire you. It would be so easy.

People do it every day. They leave Los Angeles and go back home, often swearing to return once they’ve gotten their shit together. But they almost never do. Most people take one shot at this, and when it’s over, they fold up their tent and get an office job.

I think about it sometimes. I was a good teacher. I didn’t hate teaching. What if I just went back and made it my career and stopped trying to be something else? That wouldn’t be so bad.

But I’m not there yet.

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Before we forget: The cool pic is from The New Yorker. Ya shoulda known, right?

Five One-Hour Routines That Will Improve Your Life as a Freelancer

Here at TVWriter™ we love the freelancing creative life and find it the most fulfilling way we can think of to do what we love and make a living at the same time. So we’re really glad we stumbled across these cool ways to make it even better:

coolchartby Herbert Lui

Who is your most valuable client? It’s not the one who brings you the most money. Nor is it the one who is most famous. You are your most important client, and that means you need to spend a little time refining your own process each week. Here are five ways to do just that.

Your other clients are important, but at the end of the day, you still need to pay attention to yourself. Business magnate Warren Buffett illustrates this in his authorized biography The Snowball, using his partner Charlie Munger as an example:

Charlie, as a very young lawyer, was probably getting $20 an hour. He thought to himself, ‘Who’s my most valuable client?’ And he decided it was himself. So he decided to sell himself an hour each day. He did it early in the morning, working on these construction projects and real estate deals. Everybody should do this, be the client, and then work for other people, too, and sell yourself an hour a day.

Agencies understand this principle: that’s why they allocate so many resources to creating their own platforms and products. To build their reputation, they will do cheaper (or free) work to align themselves with more prominent brands.

Although you may have a smaller budget than these agencies, you can do what Charlie Munger did – spend just one hour each day on your most important client. What can you do as a freelancer to enhance yourself?

1. Look at Job Postings

When I talked to serial entrepreneur and Circa CEO Matt Galligan about networking, I asked him about his brief stint in product management consulting and how consultants could go about finding work. One of his suggestions was that freelancers should look at company job boards for postings in their realms of expertise.

Although this sounded unusual, it made perfect sense as he unpacked the idea: most times, when companies post a job, they are doing it as a reaction. For example, they needed a developer, designer, or a marketer yesterday. This makes for a great opportunity for you to get in touch with the company as a freelancer.

You can tell them straight-up that you may not be the perfect permanent fit for their team, but you can hit the ground running in the meantime and solve the problem for them in the short-term. Not only will you reduce their workload, but you will also be buying them more time to recruit and hire a permanent team member that truly fits.

There’s your foot in the door. Even though you might be working on a temporary basis with them, you have the insider’s perspective to figure out more of the company or team’s problems – and how you can help them solve these other problems when the permanent staff member inevitably replaces you in your current capacity.

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Famous Writers Who Hate Writing

by Bill Cotter

Sometimes I hate writing. That’s not to say I hate the writing of others, though I occasionally do, and that’s not to say I hate my own writing, though I often do, but rather that I sometimes hate the commission of the act of writing. I hate it when I have nothing to say, which is most of the time, or when I think I have stuff to say but the words are clogged at the nib, or when the ink flows freely but lands on the page in impotent smears, or when the words ring like bells but the sentences flop like flagstones in the mud, or when the paragraphs flare but the chapters fizzle.

i-hate-that-poem-300x300I also hate writing when I have better things to do. Doze, eat cheese and crackers, solve easy Sudoku puzzles, shop for books on the Internet, doze some more. I’ve concluded that even some unpleasant chores are less hateable than writing. Cat box cleaning, evacuating the hard drive of viruses, defeating drain clogs. Sometimes I feel like I would trade a writing obligation for a trip to the emergency room for stitches. More than once I’ve promised the gods in their pantheon a year of my life if they would get me out of a writing commitment.

I am not alone in my dark feelings, of course. Most writers, if not all, whether professional, recreational, or scholastic, hate writing at one point, or, in some cases, every point, in their careers, and their attestations to this can entertain, nonplus, horrify, and occasionally provide comfort to the writing-hating writer. For fun, I’ve provided below a small selection of quotations by well-known writers at odds with their business, which I hope the reader will find profitable, instructive, and cautionary.

“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” –Kurt Vonnegut (quoted in “Kurt Vonnegut: In His Own Words,” London Times Online, 12 April 2007)
Kurt Vonnegut

“An incurable itch for scribbling takes possession of many, and grows inveterate in their insane breasts.” –Juvenal (quoted in Satires)

“Writing [a novel] is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.” –Flannery O’Connor (quoted in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose)
flannery oconnor

“Every stink that fights the ventilator thinks it is Don Quixote.” –Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (quoted in Unkempt Thoughts)

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Peggy Bechko: 6 Things that Could be Keeping You from Writing Success

holding-backby Peggy Bechko

So, what holds you back? What keeps you from writing what you want to write, from getting it out there and being published? Recognizing what might be holding us back as writers could well be key in helping us to move forward.

You want to create worlds, right? Whole new places in space, time, and experience for readers to go. And readers, that’s the experience you’re in it for, right? Those new places, those new adventures.

Worthy goals to be sure.

The tripwires for the writer can be things like;

1. A writer can be so motivated, so in love with the process of writing and, indeed, perfecting the work in progress that that writer revises while writing each chapter, after writing sections of the novel, again when the novel is complete. Constantly revising, constantly second-guessing.

Now, I’m not saying revision and rewriting aren’t important elements of creating an outstanding novel. However, there comes a time when the writer has to step away from the keyboard, put down the pen and decide it’s as good as it’s going to get. That if it’s tinkered with further at that stage it’ll just begin to go down hill. Really, it’s like egg whites beaten too long. You can reach a peak – and then it just gets ‘watery’.

2. Then there’s the opposite. The writer who’s so excited, so juiced that he or she rushes to complete the book, doesn’t bother much with editing or even checking for typos and blasts through to publication.


3. Some writers are so delighted, so stroked, so awash in joy when getting a good review for their book that suddenly completing the next one doesn’t seem so important. Sort of like, hey, I done good! Wow, look at those words of praise. I don’t have to market, promote, work to get my work out before the reading public. It’s just going to happen. In fact, I don’t even have to push forward to complete my second because they’ll just be hanging on, panting to read it when it’s released. Any time will do.

Nope, not even close. Always be looking forward to your next project. Always be alert to promotional possibilities and follow through on them.

4. There are writers who want to make a splash, have a big impact, really rattle their readers. They can go too far, cross the line and end up alienating readers. Shock can be good, but too much can be off-putting and cost the writer readers. The good writer, while being true to the story being created, must keep the target audience in mind, the reader. Shake ‘em up, but don’t toss ‘em out.

5. Be sure to listen to your gut. Sometimes too much planning can get in the way of a good story. There needs to be a balance. What ‘feels’ right? Where is the story going? Just because one thing is planned doesn’t mean it can’t be changed for another. Being too rigid, fighting character and story created, can be a factor holding a writer back.

6. Don’t be the writer so focused on performance, turning just the right phrase, in just the right way, in just the right scene to the point where you’re so self-critical you ultimately decide you’re ‘just not good enough’. Writers evolve and change. Writing evolves and changes. So will you. Create, revise, move forward.

Oh, and trust your gut.

Good books are hard to write. Bad books are a breeze.

And now, an eternal verity. We recommend that you put this on a post-it note right in the corner of your monitor. You’ll see why:

Dear Writers, Don’t Forget This:
by Jon Acuff

If you’re a writer, there’s something simple you need to remember:

snoopy-good-writing-is-hard-workGood books are hard to write. Bad books are a breeze.

Writing a good book is a battle. You fight fear and laziness and doubt. Good books take vulnerability and courage and creativity to write.

Do you know what it takes to write a bad book?


The next time you struggle to complete a thought, create a character or make a point in your book and the shadows of frustration creep across the page, don’t forget. It’s OK for it to be difficult. It’s supposed to be.

Good books are hard to write. Bad books are a breeze.

Read more insights from Jon Acuff


munchman’s choice: 10 Reasons You Might Want to Make Some Fucking Art

Okay, I admit it. I’m running this one cuz of the title. Truth to be told, I, young baron von muncher, am secretly a major fucking lover of fucking art. So this choosing this story is definitely a no-brainer:

fuckingartbabyby Jordan Bates

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.” ? Friedrich Nietzsche

I love making things. I always have. I remember as a youngster spending hours drawing pictures of Spider-Man and Dragonball Z characters. As a kid I also played piano (a skill I hope to reclaim) and more recently, I dabble in acoustic guitar. In college I started and continue to write fiction and poetry. A year and a half ago I began creating this blog. As of a few months ago I also make weird rap songs about philosophers, 90s cartoons, and chupacabras.

Creative expression has claimed a significant chunk of the strange and ever-shifting mosaic that is my life and my identity. I spend so much of my time immersed in or producing artistic products that I don’t have any idea what I’d do without that portion of my being. Sort of how I feel about pizza. Art is like endless pizza for the brain (going to regret that simile)—it nourishes and satiates me in myriad ways, some of which I probably can’t articulate.

Luckily, I can articulate some of them, so I made this nice list of reasons why I love making things and why, perhaps, you could also. Typically I shy away from listicles, but dammit, this is the Internet and the Internet loves listicles, so here’s a listicle.  Hopefully you’ll find more substance in this one than in the average Buzzfeed post.

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