Funny, my opinion on this whole writing & art & business thing has changed dramatically in the last year or so. All the parts of me that are supposed to be important for artistic integrity have been chipped away bit by bit. I could see it as a tragedy, but I feel more like a phoenix, rising as something closer to a sell out than my 15 year old self would be comfortable with.
Yep, I’m a sell out, more or less. I am, in fact, writing a billionaire BDSM romance serial. How drab and unoriginal, I know. I am the picture of lame. It’s funny how I look at reactions to my stuff differently now. I’m at the beta process for another series, a new adult rock star series (less sell out and more fun for me than the billionaires, though that is growing on me too). Before, I was in a tizzy because dammit this is art, and why aren’t people willing to think about it more!?!?! But art isn’t commercial. Period, end of sentence. There’s a certain value in art and there’s another value in something written to sell.
Nothing wrong with either or right with either.
Maybe I’m phoning it in. Maybe I finally see things for what they are. I don’t know. I have all the aspirations of a sell out but I’m yet to really sell. I’m yet to publish or even finish any of the stuff I consider fit for the masses.
The truth is, I like trying to write more commercial. There’s a great challenge to trying to fit within the norms and whims of a genre. You embrace certain things you’d find utterly absurd outside it. You embrace the formula. You write ridiculous lines and wonder how the hell you ever thought of them. It’s strange. I’m working harder than I ever have before. My daily word count pushes my brain to its absolute limit. I’m sure I’ll be devastated if this stuff doesn’t hit the mark, but right now I feel pretty damn good.
The unfortunate side effect of all this (and my semi-recent decision to mostly abandon film and TV) is that I no longer relate to any of my friends. Funny thing about making all your friends at mixers and acting classes. They’re all about TV all the time. A few, I still connect with about writing. On a certain level, writing is writing. Bitching about having a lot of writing to do is a pretty serious requirement for being a writer. (I wonder. Are there any other fields where procrastination is so normalized?)
The rest, well, we were never great friends. It’s still a bummer. I feel as if I have no one to call. And I’m not up for meeting new people when all the introductory questions are so loaded. “What do you do?” is enough to send me into cold sweats. Well, I’m a writer, but I don’t actually make a living doing that. I’m living off savings right now. And off my husband-to-be. Yeah, a real great representative of female independence. My dad pays for my car insurance if you were wondering. Very impressive of me, I know. Did I mention I’m self-conscious about all this?
Talk about TMI. I suppose I could step aside from the conversation with a quick “I don’t like to talk about work,” but in L.A. everyone wants to talk about their damn projects. I don’t care about your web series or your screenplay or your monologue. I really, really don’t. It’s not that I’m a self-centered jerk. It’s just a subject that no longer interests me. It would be great to not spend an afternoon talking about movies or TV. It would be great to do anything else.
I know, there are all sorts of other ways to meet people. If you missed the casual drop in my earlier paragraph, I’m getting married next month (wooh!). There’s still a lot to do on that front. Way too much in my opinion. I hate that there is so much that doesn’t feel like it should matter–the dress, the hair, the shoes, the jewelry, the menu, the dinner the night before.
(I totally still wish we had eloped/were eloping).
But there is good about having too much on my plate. It means I’m less willing to put up with bullshit. Friend who is late all the time? Stop calling her. Weekly meeting I only sorta like? Stop going. Work routine that I don’t enjoy? Screw it, do something I like instead. It’s nice not having a lot of BS in the way, but without the BS, there’s not much in my life. I write. I hang out with BF. I talk to my parents on occasion. I watch way too much TV. I read way too little (so much research to do).
Basically, writing is another job. An awesome job. A hard job. A very, very demanding job. Unpredictable too. If you don’t treat it like a job, you’re screwed already. If you do treat it like a job, you have bad odds of meeting a lot of likeminded people. Sad to say.