by The Writer
Pride Goeth Before A Fall
Energized by arrogance, I believed in the audacity of hope. Something inside of me kept telling me that if I believe in something and worked hard enough for it, I’d achieve it. Setting my sights on becoming a professional screenwriter over a decade ago led me to many earth-shattering and soul-crushing discoveries. With persistence, I began my journey devouring every piece of knowledge about screenwriting I could find. Labouring over structure, characters, dialogue, plots and loglines I unknowingly piled up the nails of my coffin. Prematurely delivering script after script to anyone who would listen only served to secure my failure and the agonizing defeat of non-responsive agents, actors and production companies. But I was determined to find the visionary who would see my potential. Determined to become a great writer, I learned how to craft stories and how great stories. I kept on reading, kept writing, kept pushing myself and wrote until my fingers ached and my eyes watered from fatigue. There was no way I could fail if I kept pushing myself to write that next screenplay. My naïvety of how the business works was but a mere hurdle. I was confident if I learned from the masters, I could be one of them.
Treading the waters of those that have gone before me meant sacrificing time with friends and family, but I took solace in knowing they would share in my future success. I was, and remain a small unknown fish in an enormous ocean swimming with sharks. Dangerous? Of course, but it’s exciting and I remained unafraid because I had hope. I had a plan to succeed. Yet, wave after wave of overwhelming rejection flooded my inbox each morning. It began slowly chipping away at what little armour I had to hide my insecurities. I struggled to keep them hidden at all costs. At the time, no price seemed to high, sacrifices must be made for the pursuit of ones happiness! Sadness was only for the weak, and failure for the hopeless; those weren’t viable options for me. Each new encounter I had with a blank piece of paper was armour I wore to combat my own doubt and insecurities. Finally after many rejections, I thought I had won the war, but it was only a small insignificant battle too embarrassing to mention. Words were my weapon because they are mightier than the sword and in the war to meet success, it was always just only one script away. Yet, now my dulled mind searches for a sharp object to extract the hurt the words have inflicted upon me.
Using as many words as I could, I decided to fight with the largest army I had ever created and turn the manuscript into an unstoppable force. Sending the constructed documents into uncharted territory, I watched as my dreams ignited, leaving the ashes of a reality I had avoided for over a decade. The sacrifices I had made for a pipe dream were all in vain. The words have betrayed me and the hope that once propelled and energized my spirit has vanished leaving an epic emptiness that words fail to capture. Through the process of writing about life, I discovered my identity and my voice, but also the cost. The price I paid for my blind ambition, seems much to high, but how does one measure the value of a smile, a kiss or a touch from someone you love? You can’t until it’s no longer there. When the supply becomes scarce, the value increases.
The fall that I am currently experiencing is frightening and enlightening at the same time. It’s uncomfortable to accept this truth, and yet I find comfort in knowing part of the truth is I was really chasing love all along. My desire to be loved was so deep and unconscious within my pursuit, yet so clear to once I realized its presence. If I could focus all my attention into writing a piece that someone in the industry ‘loved’, they would buy it, which would affirm that ‘I’m good enough’, and make me feel proud. In turn I would feel the rush of success and those around me would ‘love’ me even more. This kind of thinking made ‘my passion’ a priority over relationships, but it was for a worthy cause, right? Success for all? Perhaps. On the surface the cause seemed worthy, even admirable, but digging deeper I know that proving I could do it was more important. Proving to whom? Not just to my faceless doubters, but my girl friend, my parents, my remaining friends and of course, myself.
What I love most about writing, is also what I hate most. Expressing myself through the written word is one of the most incredible feelings I’ve experienced. It’s also one of the most terrifying, selecting just the right word, figuring out what it is I want to say, pouring out my soul and then exposing it for someone to accept it or reject. This never-ending cycle of madness is like a drug. I should have ‘just said no’, but I truly believe it choose me. Like most addicts, the search for ‘the next high’, is never as sweet as the first. SHAME ALERT: After moving back in with my parents, I found one of my first scripts I ever wrote. It was based on the PS2 game Bust-A-Groove. Because of the weak story line, undeveloped characters, and poor structure I refused to finish reading my script. But, it dawned on me how far I had come as a writer, and how far I was from achieving my original desire. I wasn’t good enough to be a professional screenwriter then. Perhaps I am now, but I have fallen so far from grace I no longer recognize my writing goals. Though I’m tired, I’ve become a slave to writing, and must continue doing it with a new hope that my soul will somehow be liberated.
- inexperienced(or you’re learning) (ayeshazahid.com)