I've often referred to the Wizard of Oz in comparison to the journey that I'm on. My sister in law surprised me with a birthday present of The Wizard of Oz, the book, which was totally cool. She reminded me that being courageous isn't the absence of fear, but action in the face of it.
The good news is the more active you are in the face of fear, the more the fear abates.
For instance, my writing career.
The first time I sent out queries for "Fatty", I was scared and apprehensive. I needed to see a response to validate the work I had done. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the book did what it was supposed to do. It entertained an audience for one, which is the purpose of any book. People connected emotionally with a character I really feared would come across as unsympathetic.
I thought I'd lose readers left and right because of the continual mistakes "Gina" made. How could anyone feel sympathy for someone who willfully self destructed?
Truth was, I didn't feel a whole lot of sympathy for Gina myself. Which is why I've beat myself up for so long. That negative speak was coming from me about me and it was stopping any good thing from happening to me.
Through writing this novel, I got to look at this character from an adult perspective, with all I've learned being a parent. I went through a bunch of feelings reliving my past, anger at the people in my life who let me down, to finally realizing that as many mistakes that they made I didn't have it as bad as I always seemed to think I did. I went from being angry with my mom to finding a lot of sympathy for her situation. I could understand now why it was easier to hide in work than deal with a stranger.
It makes it a lot easier to move on.
So not only did my audience never lose their love for my character, I actually grew to love that kid. Without realizing it, I comforted that kid who was sad and alone after dad died. That was a pretty big deal.
And most of all, I was truly myself and I wasn't judged by the world as I expected to be. I found out it's okay to be me, to be imperfect.
What a revelation!
But that didn't stop me from quaking in my boots when I sent out queries to those big time agents who have the power and authority to either open a door for my career, or keep it bolted shut. Would they realize the total fraud I always felt I was? That my writing, while I liked it, wasn't really worth millions of dollars to publish and distribute?
Finally I grabbed myself by the shoulders and said, "Hey! You're an optioned screenwriter. That means a professional director/producer believes in you. Studios have continually given positive feedback. Get a grip! You're good! You have something to say! For God's sake.... Say it!"
So even though I didn't hear anything for the first two weeks, I sent out more queries last night after my journal entry. And I wrote a story and sent it to a magazine for publication.
And to top it all off, I responded to an ad for a contract screenwriter.
Michael J. Fox was on Inside the Actor's Studio and he said something that resonated with me. He indicated that he and that class were special - their talent was that they were communicators.
I never thought of it like that. I'm a communicator.
Therefore I have a responsibility to get my stuff out there, because not everyone has that gift and by burying it under fear I'm actually taking that gift for granted. I'm already good, I simply have to convince these big time agents.
That sounds so conceited. My years of religious bondage make that unbearably difficult to write without cringing. I've always waited for "proof". A sale, namely. But the proof is that I can write stories that touch other people. I can take a simple blank page and create a world where one does not exist. I can create people that make you laugh or cry or love or hate.
If I'm not convinced I can do that, there's no way I'm going to convince those agents of the same.
Therefore the Emerald City I'm marching towards is definitely one of self esteem. One that says, I have a right to be here. I have a right to be heard. And most frightening of all, I have a right to be seen.
It all comes back to action in the face of fear.
The next step? A screenwriting conference where I get to pitch industry folk face to face.
I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I do, I *do* believe in spooks...