Monthly Archives: August 2017
You’re writing the next big seller? You’re going to be in the next big blockbuster? Great, now prove it.
Most writers, actors, and other artists aren’t as good as they think they are. I know I’m not. It’s the blunt but honest truth. If you’re going to make it in one of these fields you need someone (preferably yourself) to keep you accountable and honest. If you think you have the ability to be the next big hit then think again. Be as objective as you can when you look over your work. Take off your rose-tinted glasses. Have someone else (another writer, a layperson, an editor, it doesn’t matter) look at your work.
You aren’t as good as you think you are (unless you are, but I’ll come back to that later). There is always room for improvement. Encouragement is always good, but don’t fill yourself up with self-congratulatory nonsense. You don’t have to be your own “worst critic,” but be realistic about your abilities. Practice the things you struggle with. Rewrite that manuscript. Perform that scene again. Paint another landscape. Keep going.
I’m at the stage where I have a few manuscripts completed and I’m bracing myself for a long haul of editing and rewriting. Then comes the slog of submitting my work to agents and publishers. My wife is in the same stage. I know my writing isn’t up to snuff yet because she constantly tells me “your writing would be better if you did x” or simply edits the crap out of whatever I’ve just sent her to peruse.
Also, you need a team. You need people who will encourage you when you’re upset and people to bring you back down to earth when you get too proud. Artists do not live in a vacuum (though many of us would like to sometimes). If you want your hobby or passion to become your profession you need to work with people. You need people to give you their opinions. Why? Because you’re going to go out there and showcase your work to a much larger audience. So prepare yourself for that.
Do smaller things. If you’re an actor take that small background role or that commercial gig. If you’re a writer start a blog and set it up for monetization, write an article for the local paper. If you’re an artist, take commissions. Etc. Some artists have this idea that their work is some sacred, holy thing that must not be sullied by the exchange of money. Well, that’s a damn good way to end up in the poor house (assuming you’re not working two other jobs to support yourself). Drop the pretensions. You should be paid for your work if you’re as good as you think you are.
Now, if you really ARE that good then why the hell aren’t you raking in cash? You should be rolling in it. If you’re genuinely the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling then get yourself published. If you’re the next Sigourney Weaver, Ryan Reynolds, or Meryl Streep then get out there and land some big roles. Also, why are you sitting here reading this crap? Go do the thing.
Finally, if you’re the sort who is their own worst critic: take it easy on yourself. Get someone else’s opinion before you discard your latest effort to the trash heap of broken dreams. Keep working at it. There is no such thing as “talent” there is only practice. Practice beats “talent” every time.
Anyway, I’m finished now, so go do something. I know I’m going straight back to my latest manuscript.
This happened a day after my first experience with crack cocaine.
I'd apparently successfully proved I wasn't a cop, because Teardrop greeted me with a "Hey! white boy!"
I walked up to the makeshift tents in front of the Pov with a giddy, adrenaline feeling in my gut. This was exciting. The danger, the fear, the exhilaration. It's a thrill to say the least.
Teardrop, and the hulking tall and well-built black man with a touch of gray in his coarse, wiry hair, calls out to me. I'm already getting used to being referred to as "white boy." Really, it makes sense, I'm about the only white 22 year old around.
I greet him and he immediately hops in my car. He directs me to a motel a ways south on G street. When we get there he knocks on the door. To my surprise a woman answers and, once she determines who it is, she opens the door.
The woman has clearly seen better days. She's skinny, almost evacuated, her skin is sun darkened (but she's definitely white), and she looks at least 40 or 42. I'm introduced to her and we enter her motel room, which is surprisingly clean. It's then that I find it she's a hooker (should have known).
She's introduced as "Rose" and I tell her my name. Teardrop jokes about how I hadn't even told him my name the night before.
Then, we get down to "business."
The glass crack pipes come out (sometimes called "stems" because they're just straight tubes of glass). I ask what the wadded up ball of stuff is in the pipes.
"That's Brillo, white boy, can't smoke rock without Brillo," Teardrop explains.
They take their hits and Rose passes her pipe and asks if I've ever smoked before. Teardrop tries to stop her from sharing (he seems genuinely interested in keeping me off crack) but I say "No, I want to try it more."
So they give me a little piece of rock and teach me how to smoke. First, you melt the rock into the Brillo then you tilt the pipe down and pull the lighter farther away (so you don't crack the glass) and pull the pure, thick white smoke into your lungs.
Again, the high is really good, but not what I will experience in the future. I get a little more chatty, a lot less nervous, and definitely more relaxed
We spend the next few hours chatting and passing the pipes around until the crack is gone. At that point I decided I should head home (it's late, around 3 AM).
On the way home I think about the cool people I've met so far and about how good the high feels. A small part of my brain warns me I'm enjoying it too much, but I shush it.
Yea, that wasn't my first or last mistake.