Blogs by Pamela C Labud
6/13/2005 2:48:07 PM
Nothing like an old Beatle's tune to get you in the mood.
I know it's been awhile and I profusely apologize for taking such a long time to come back here. I really do enjoy letting my hair down, so to speak, and this is a great place to do so.
I also wish that some of you gentle readers would drop a few comments off here and there, or maybe even a hi-ya! or something. I'm basically chatty person at heart!
I got the chance yesterday to meet with a dear friend whom I hadn't seen for a couple of years. Esther Lutrell is an amazing woman who has forged her career in one of the most fantastic and cool places in the world, the movie industry. A talented writer and a saavy businesswoman, she's navigated among the giants of the Hollywood dream factory and managed to stay on top of her game for a very long time.
Not only that, Esther now takes her wonderful experiences in film and gifts as a writer and continues to share them with wannabe screenplay writers, such as yours truly. Obviously I could gush on for hours about this wonderful, talented, and awesome lady.
All gushing aside though, I had a terrific visit with her yesterday. Sadly it was a short one. She's smart and funny and I could have spent hours dishing with her.
I was fortunate enough to have been one of her screenwriting students, an experience that not only helped me to learn a very fascinating trade, but one that also helped make me a better writer in the process.
Anyway, Esther's first mystery,"Murder In The Movies" came out recently and I'm tres excited for her. She knows the movie biz like no others. (She's also written one fantastic nonfiction book, Tools of the Screenwriting Trade. If you're at all intersted in writing for the movies, you won't want to miss this superb text.)
Sitting at dinner with her yesterday, she asked the one burning question that everyone who has ever envisioned themselves as an author asks.
"Do you see yourself being able to quit your job as a nurse one day and support yourself with your writing?"
Although I've been asked this question hundreds of times, (and lo, there are lots of people who assume that since my first book is 'out there' I'll be handing in my notice any day) her innocent query really set me back.
Of course, the pat answer I had was: "Almost every minute of every hour of every day." Grin.
I bit my tongue at that, because, oh wide-eyed fellow readers, authors, and authors-in-training, it is a question that deserves answering.
The truth is that I very much want to write full time and leave my working class woes behind me. Nothing would be more awesome than gearing my existance around my fantasy stories. I'd love to spend long hours listening to tunes on my cd player and living in that wondeful place all writers get to when they are in their 'writing zone.'
It's like a runner's high to be so deep in your characters that they become living, breathing individuals on a magic carpet ride and ones who are nice enough to take you along in the process. It's heaven. It's nirvana. It's da bomb.
To make money at this endeavor is beyond belief. It's like being ten years old and having every day be Christmas morning.
But to do this for a living? Hmmm, that's a scary thought.
It's scary for me because for 23 years I've not had to worry about where the next check is coming from. After 15 years of marriage, my hubby and I have managed to put together a pretty comfy existance, and betting it all on any chance that my 'brilliance' (I say that with my tongue way far in my cheek) will be able to support my family is unimaginable.
No, it's down right horrifying. What if my mind goes blank and nothing else worthy ever comes out again? What if we end up losing everything because I couldn't pull it off?
Think about it. Pleasing one or two people is a tough job most of the time. But being so talented and smart that my stories would delight the masses is a huge undertaking. It's down right terrorizing. Worse yet, knowing that my family's existence depends upon it? Ugh.
I like security.
I like a bi-weekly paycheck.
I like not having to worry what will happen if I turn into a writing disaster and can't sell another book.
I'm a realist. I know that this is a huge industry. In RWA alone there are at least 9000 other romance authors who have the same dream as me. I know there are only so many pubishers, so many top 10 bestselling spots on the New York Times, and USA Today. I know reality when I see it.
Does that keep me from wanting to do it, though? To work full time as an author and never have to worry about such mundane things as paying the rent?
Like everyone of you, I say absolutely not. I have my dreams and I hold on to them with both fists. Chances are if you're reading this, you're the same way.
So, I looked at my friend and said something like, "Of course, that's always the plan, but it'll be a while."
First, there's no knowing whether or not your book might be the next big thing. That in itself is reason enough to hope. Our stories might catch fire and burn down the charts. I know I hope they do.
Besides, there are lots of people who would bury you with the hard facts.
Yeah, yeah, we all know them. "Less than ?% of all authors ever make it past the first book, the average income for a paperback author is "x" number of dollars per year, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah..."
Caution: sappy writer gibberish ahead. Don't give up your dreams. Dreams are the air that we writers breath, the music that we hear in our hearts, the life's blood that sustain us. So, dream away, fellow authors.
And don't forget to enjoy the ride along the way.
There are always over night success stories. We've heard them because they stand out in the crowd. Sometimes being an overnight success takes years. Sometimes decades.
So, to my friend Esther, and all of you dear one's I've not yet met, keep working hard, as I promise I will, and maybe we'll sit around a big table one day tipping our wine glasses and dish about our experiences in the publishing industry. Until then I'll be here tapping away at my keyboard and humming that cool old Lennon/McCartney tune, "I wanna be a paperback writer..."
Happy reading! Pam.
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