Happy to be done with it

jump-for-joy
Yeah, kind of feels like this

Another chapter has closed in my ongoing quest to become a working writer, or at least an annoying wrinkle has been ironed out.

Following the latest but not-surprisingly disappointing results, my involvement with the  “pay to pitch” practice has come to an end. A person can only take so much before totally abandoning the ship in question.

Simply put: I ain’t doin’ it no more.

How did I end up here? Easy. Desperation.

Despite all my efforts on several fronts, nothing was happening with any of my scripts. I got to the point that I’d try anything.

So I tried this. A few times, each with the same result – PASS, accompanied with a few classic chestnuts. “Couldn’t get excited about the story.” “Didn’t really care about the characters.” “No specificity of the throughline.” (This last one will stick with me until the end of time.)

I even went so far as to do one via video streaming, but technical issues really mucked things up. It’s kind of tough to pitch to someone when they can see you, but YOU CAN’T SEE THEM. Did the best I could, but still another PASS.

I got a survey/questionnaire about this one, and didn’t pull any punches in airing my frustration about it, adding how I couldn’t in good conscience recommend the service to anybody.

A representative contacted me soon afterward, expressing their sympathy and understanding, as well as an explanation that “their policies regarding responses were different now”, and offered a free pitch. I considered it, and decided to hold off unless something too irresistible came along. The rep also offered to help me with the pitch so as to get maximum results.

A few months went by, and what seemed like a solid match popped up. I contacted the rep, asking for their help, which they provided in the form of suggested edits. Each subsequent draft had to be uploaded to a file-storing program for the rep to read it, but I didn’t know if each new draft was replacing the old one, or just sitting there next to it. My emails to the rep were going unanswered, and the deadline was drawing near fast. In the end, there was nothing I could do.

The deadline came and went. Days went by, and no response. Days turned to weeks, and still nothing. As it neared the 2-month mark, I’d decided that was a sufficient amount of time and sent an email to the rep asking what had happened (plus a copy to the rep’s supervisor, just in case).

The response was almost immediate – from the supervisor. This was the first they’d heard about my situation, apologies were offered, along with the promise to give my pitch top priority with that company the next time. I said I’d be in touch.

A few hours later, I got an email from the original rep, who informed me they were no longer with the company (their departure most likely around the same time as, if not before, my original deadline).

Jump ahead a few days, and a response to my original pitch arrived from the company in question.

5/5 in every category, save for a 3/5 in Character Obstacles (which was one of the things I’d cut based on the rep’s suggestions).

PASS.

I sent another email to the supervisor, informing them about this (since I’m sure they weren’t even aware of it) and officially calling it quits. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a response.

What bothers me the most about this whole experience is how easily I bought into the false hope that was being sold. Like I said, I was feeling frustrated and desperate, and this seemed like my only option, which of course it wasn’t.

There are very rough days where I get extremely depressed about my lack of progress, and going through something like this doesn’t help – especially when it keeps happening over and over again. You learn real fast how many hits you can endure before wanting to simply give up completely.

But I’m not at that point just yet.

A lot of writer friends have offered up words of encouragement, and a few positive things have happened recently so as to improve my spirits, or at least renew my belief in my writing skills. Things will take a turn for the better.

The marathon continues, one step at a time. But I won’t be paying for it anymore.

 

Working in a timely manner

train conductors
“Now that’s something you don’t see every day, Chauncey.” “What’s that, Edgar?” “A writer setting a schedule and sticking to it.”

Following the lead of some of my writing colleagues, I’m making more of an effort to establish a sense of order and structure when it comes to my writing and all things connected with it.

It used to be “Write when you can!,” which in a way it still is, but more layers and categories have been added to the mix.

-First and foremost, the setting aside of at least an hour a day to work on one of my own projects continues, be it outlining, writing, editing, rewriting, or polishing. This remains the primary objective.

-Networking. While connecting with people is easy, maintaining those relationships takes effort, and can quickly become time-consuming. As much as I enjoy conversing (albeit online) with people, I try to keep it to a minimum – unless it’s relevant to the project of the moment.

-Related to that is the reading and note-giving for other writers, especially those who were equally as generous with their time to do the same for me. I may not always be on schedule about it (something I’m trying to improve), but I make a point of getting it done.

-Career-building. This mostly involves researching potential recipients for pitching and queries, which means diving head-first into the scavenger hunt that is IMDB Pro. While most of the time the contact info is accurate, sometimes it’s out of date (people move on), or there’s no contact info whatsoever, or the person or company in question hasn’t existed for years.

*True story – researching an agent, I’d discovered they’d apparently died several years before but the email was still in operation. I opted not to query them.

-Overall stayin’ organized. I’ve started jotting down each day’s objectives and “must do’s” in a little notebook, and checking off items as they are accomplished. It’s been very helpful in making me stay focused on what needs to get done, rather than hoping I remember later on.

All of this is still somewhat early in the process, but so far, so good. That feeling of being in control helps make the whole thing seem a little easier, as well as feeling like stuff is actually getting done.

How about you? What steps are you taking to be more organized with your writing?