What can I say? I’ve been feeling pretty inspired lately, and so I’ve been doing a great deal of writing. Which is good. And it seems the more writing I do, the more I think about writing. And of course I’m thinking about all kinds of writing. Screenwriting, naturally. Writing about screenwriting. Writing about film. Non-fiction, novels, plays, essays, my next blog post, podcast, status update on Facebook or whatever.
So naturally, the question comes up. Why? Fuck if I know. It’s just something I have to do, I suppose. Fortunately, I get to make money doing it. But if I didn’t, would I still do it? Probably. Goodness knows I certainly went a long time doing it before I got paid to do it. And goodness knows I’ve been paid to write all kinds of things I would never tell you about here. And there are some things I would deny having written if you were to ask me directly!
Years ago, whenever I would meet my agent for lunch or dinner or drinks, he’d always stop me as I reached for the check. “Talent never pays,” he’d say. Many times I pointed out the double-edged meaning in his little catchphrase whenever a project of mine got passed on by an editor or production co.
During what I sometimes like to call my apprenticeship with screenwriter John Michael Hayes, I came to learn what the writer’s way of life is or at least can be. “It’s a precarious way of life,” he told me. “Because there’s no tenure, there’s nothing. You can be successful today and a flop tomorrow. And lots of producers, screenwriters, and novelists have demonstrated that. Nobody knows why. Fads change, your talent changes, and sometimes your luck changes. Luck is a part of it. But to be a writer it’s not something you do on the side. It’s a way of life.”
So with my latest baby out in the world, waiting to be accepted or rejected, or more than likely sent back to be altered to fit someone else’s idea of what it should be, I’ll sit back and observe, go about my daily routines, see people, visit friends, engage with loved ones, and every now and then you’ll see me drifting off somewhere.
Know what I’m doing then? Yeah, I’m writing.
As I always tell Liz, just because you don’t hear me typing, it doesn’t mean I’m not writing.