In the last and final part of how to handle rejection, I’m going to concentrate on how the whole “one door closes, a window opens” — though a window is much smaller than a door and easy to miss. I concentrate on this because rejection is an integral part of being in this profession. Oscar winners, People’s Most Beautiful, everyone — except maybe Spielberg, Abrams, Smith, Jolie and Pitt — suffer from rejection. (Before I go: please, please send me your stories. I luv to connect and learn from other writers. And send me your blogs if you’ve written on this in the comment section.)
It’s essential to develop a thick enough skin to keep going while still having enough sensitivity and flexibility that’s required for experiences to flow through you — and not burn bridges due to emotion. One thing I’ve learned in this business, it really isn’t personal most of the time. And even if it is, not everyone likes you: so the hell what…In fact, the better and more influential you get, the more haters will come at you.
So in the midst of my self-pity and looking into law yet again, I started to examine the Why of this incredibly difficult career. And I kept writing. This is crucial. Just keep writing, whether in journals or blogs or for me, as a journalist and copywriter, I had many opportunities that were not necessarily scripts. I kept writing something.
And I watched a lot of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” When the show was actually on TV, I either had strict TV parental control, curfews or rehearsals/performances at night without DVR’s back in that day. Whatever it is, I am hooked. Watch an episode a day. Not sure why Buffy does it for me. My hub thinks I’m addicted. I tried to protest until he told me any addiction is when feel-good hormones are released and you just want to keep feeling that. Maybe I am. Maybe ’cause I luv the Angel chemistry. Maybe ’cause I identify with being a total outsider in high school without the advantage of being a slayer (totally enrolling my daughter in martial arts or kickboxing through her teen years).
Like “Girls,” which made me realize to honor your authentic voice no matter what the naysayers say, and “The Voice,” which is another show I just love and I cry at almost all the stories, Buffy caused another Ah-ha! moment. Thank you, Joss Whedon (and for “Firefly” and please make Avengers 2 awesome and hire me for anything even an overqualified PA if by some insane reason you’re reading this just because I hashtagged you).
I digress. Random writing and wallowing in Buffy made me realize that I LOVE sci-fi. I love dramedy. It’s why I worked at Miramax, um The Weinstein Company (give Miramax name back!) I love that type of work. More so than straight up comedy. Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE comedy and love to laugh but as a writer, are one-liners, punchlines, and sketches my driving passion and forte? I realized that maybe not. If I was in a writer’s room for a sitcom, I’d have a lot to offer in terms of structure, story, characterization, but I couldn’t be the one to punch up the jokes. In fact, my Slamdance feedback was just that: “great at capturing voices, solid structure, original storyline, need to punch up the jokes.” I was like, YES I do, thank you Slamdance for nailing that. (BTW: submit to Slamdance and you get feedback which is pretty awesome rather than a black hole, which is where all other entries go along with your socks and mittens).
To not be good at every aspect of writing is fine if you’re a working writer because the best writing rooms have people of all strengths and weaknesses to balance it all out. However, it’s an issue if you’re not a working writer and your specs have to be stellar. You can write shit after you’re working because let’s just take a look at what gets on air. Yeah. Good writing becomes optional. Make it, write shit or suffer as the network turns it into shit, it’s all good. At least due to a paycheck, you no longer have Ramen and cheap, headache-inducing wine to drown your sorrows in. You can afford rent and take-out noodles from a place that most definitely isn’t a front for a cartel. But starting out, be stellar. Spectacular. Sliced bread. Rainbow sprinkles.
So the ultimate lesson from rejection: sometimes shutting up and wallowing — but still writing — can help you find your voice. It helps refine your path. It gives you your Why and a better How. And that’s what good writing is all about: your voice and the path by which you’ll get to where you want to be — and where is it you really want to be? In this business, success can mean many things and in many genres and many mediums.
And with that…she’s back! (imagine me making Angelina’s face..and I will imagine myself looking that hot doing it instead of like I have gas)