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Perseverance, Perseverating, and Persevering


When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, I wanted to be a rock star. That was all I wanted to be. Specifically, Springsteen. So I got a guitar and played and played and played. But I never really took lessons, I never really played in a band (well, I tried once or twice), and I was just alone in my little echo chamber imagining that if I tried hard enough, I'd get good enough, and then end up in a band, and then... I had perseverance, really no talent, and was getting no feedback. So, I'm not a rock star.

When I decided I wanted to be a writer, there were initially the same missteps. Writing in an echo chamber, not getting stuff out there, but then I had a little initial success (some options, some people saying that they liked my stuff). The little success was with an indie film script, which then locked me in, for many years, with writing indie film scripts, that got more and more indie, more insular, thinking that that was my thing. Basically, I was perseverating, saying the same thing again and again, but only in more obscure ways.

Now I'm trying to persevere by just trying things, new and different, sometimes awful things, sometimes things that might even be good, but not attempting to re-trace any steps (which is death to art, and just about everything else). The tricky part of writing is that you rarely know when you start whether your project is the best thing or the worst thing ever written. You have to persevere, but not have so much perseverance that you end up perseverating. [That previous sentence, however, was trouble from the start...] Time helps, feedback helps, in terms of re-assessing. The one consistency is that the really good stuff takes time, multiple drafts - namely, persevering. Countless times I've finished a first draft of something, and say 'wait until the world sees this!' And I wait, and wait, and, well... But the process is always good, and humbling, and sometimes you do end up writing something worthwhile.

Even if it doesn't make you a rock star, there is something to the process that's beautiful.

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