I’ve been writing professionally (meaning I got a pay check to write!) since I was 19. Like any woman who lives in Hollywood, I’m not gonna reveal my true age, but lemme just say that 19 was a long time and many projects ago.
People who see my perseverance often ask, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing? Well, it didn’t have to do with craft. Craft is easy to learn and easy to practice. What I wish I had known was…
1. … just how long it takes to make headway as a writer! I know there are some lucky writers who hit it big on their first project or first writing gig (ugh, we all roll our eyes and secretly wish to be you). But for most of us, that’s not the case. I wish I had started out with more patience. I still get impatient and anxious at time and that leads to discouragement and despair because I want things to happen sooner, faster, better. A huge part of the writer’s life is just slogging away at pages every day and learning how to foster positivity. I have a good many encouragement mentors… two of my new favs is anything from Marianne Williamson. And DeVon Franklin’s The Hollywood Commandments.
2. I wish I had known not to be so hard on myself, but I guess that’s human nature and my stubborn work ethic. It’s okay to push. You have to push. You won’t succeed if you don’t set daily and weekly and monthly goals. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t write pages. But you also have to play. Which I actually had to learn how to do. I come from a workaholic home. I am still learning how to “be still” and trust the process and the journey. I was guided in this by The Aristist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
3. I wish I had known how to be more thankful at first! I spent a good many years dwelling on the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s—which is negative and basically a huge waste of time and energy. Having a daily gratefulness practice and keeping a gratitude journal fosters goodness and kindness and creativity—not just in myself, but in how I can positively shape the world and the people I see every day. Doing little things every day with love and thankfulness is upper level living. Gratitude attracts opportunity. Gratitude rewires the brain to accept and receive. Gratitude keeps you sane when the rejections come. Gratitude is a form of seeing and expressing truth, goodness and beauty. Who doesn’t need more daily doses of that? One of my favorite books on gratitude is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.