Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Truth is Out There

Great news this week.

Robyn and I have been offered spaces on a TV Development Workshop sponsored by SAFilm. It's an intense two month project designed to help us (and 8 others) pitch to TV execs in October.

We applied at the prompting of a producer/director friend of ours - had to put together an idea for a TV series - never believing we'd get in - but we did. Woohoo!

Needless to say I shall be reporting back to you on all the writing tips and tricks we pick up along the way. Wish us luck!

"Getting paid for your writing, son, is a triumph of tenacity over your intelligence."

I love this quote - it's one of my favorites - not least because it's one of my mother's.

Mommie dearest has always regarded writers - and me especially - as odd sorts. The idea that we would spend a large portion of our day knocking out words has always struck her as, in her word, silly.

A waste of time basically and not the sort of occupation for a sane person. She may be right but that doesn't stop it from being a compulsion for me - and most other writers I know.

I remember once when she came to visit me - which only happens about once a decade. I was at a particular low point. Can't remember why. I think I'd just lost my way after a deal fell through. One of those times, you know?

It was with great glee and insistence that she leaped on my misfortune and told me the situation was a God-given sign that I should give up all this arty stuff and settle down - get a proper job and be normal, as though that's a cure for anything.

That one time I thought she was on to something and I got a job as a storeman then a purchasing manager for a big city investment firm. God how I hated that place - although the experience of working 9 to 5 did teach me a lot about human nature - more especially the dark side of my own.

Three years later, a broken marriage and a near nervous breakdown (I realize that now) later, the City and I parted on bad terms and I vowed, "Never again" - again, like you do.

I shouldn't have listened to my mother but I did. It wasn't her fault. I guess she thought she knew best but didn't really get my total inability to work under other people. As I say, not her fault. Mine entirely for not understanding that you really do have to follow your own instincts, even when they seem 'contrariwise'.

A decade later I was able to tell mom about some of my paid writing credits and the quote above erupted from her.

She meant it in a derogatory way, as mothers often do, in case you were wondering. Implying the intelligence that would have me 'settle down' was again being corrupted by my 'arty' side.

So be it. At least now I'm happy... probably all the more for having hovered near the abyss of the rat race and backed away from its empty allure before too much toxic exposure.

I was reminded of these incidents because I'm putting the final touches to a new writer's resource - due for release next week.

It's called "The E-Files" and its a collection of everything I've learned about making money as a writer, specifically on the Internet.

It's a huge project but something many people have asked me to do - basically to let them know how you can use the Internet to further a writing career - without falling for all the traps that often ensnare would-be professional writers who surf the Net looking for opportunities.

As I'm putting together The E-Files, I'm reminded constantly of the need for an almost blind faith in yourself as a writer. But a faith that is moderated by the feedback you get.

And I don't mean feedback on your writing.

I mean the experiences you can encounter. There are many sharks out there - not all of them evil. Some just want you to work for nothing because you're there - and they think that's what Internet writers do.

Working for free is okay sometimes - if it's going to lead somewhere but most times it doesn't. It takes a particular tenacity (that word again) I think to recognize good opportunities - and profit from them as a writer in a world wide web that is set up to regard writers as odd arty types who will (too often) work very hard for zip.

The E-Files is a genuine attempt to show writers they can indeed take control of their careers and use the Internet to their advantage - as long as they're not naive - and have a good guide - someone like moi (IMHO) to guide them.

For a long time I've been preaching that the real writing jobs are off-line but I know this is not what modern would-be writers want to hear. Especially now that the Net is such a big part of many writers' lives. Many need to believe that the Net can help - and it can, wonderfully, IF you know what to do, how and when and why.

It's my hope The E-Files will finally answer those Net bound writers who "want to believe" the truth is out there!

In the mean time my best advice would be: "Don't take too much advice from your mother!"

She doesn't always know best.

Keep writing!
Your Success is My Concern
The Easy Way to Write


"Don't compromise yourself; you're all you've got."
Janis Joplin - advice from a whiskey-soaked hedonist who died too young to get help. Works for me.
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The Writing Academy

Welcome to the official blog of Rob Parnell's Writing Academy, updated weekly - sometimes more often!