Being an actor can really suck sometimes.
Dancing in heels can be painful, the lights on stage are really, stupidly hot, and there’s tons of rejection to be faced. It’s tiring and heartbreaking.
So, as a change from theatre, I decided to move in a new direction, not leaving theatre behind, but finding additional avenue for my artistic endeavors. Since I’ve spent my whole life as a storyteller, writing seemed the natural route. I love writing. I really do. I had been doing it for years, and five years ago, I decided to pursue the path in earnest. You know, as a relief from the heartbreak and pain of performing…. Sometimes I am not so smart.
Sure, the barefoot typing thing is more comfy than heels. I don’t have to wear makeup or even pants to write. I can work in comfortable, climate-controlled environments with lots of coffee all for me.
Writing is awesome.
But content edits are worse than the worst tech week.
In tech, you have to do the same dance you’ve been practicing for weeks and finally feel comfortable with. But then they hand you a twenty-pound headdress, flash lights in your eyes, and give you two feet less space.
In content edits it’s more like, “Hey, I know you worked really hard to build this world. Well, we think the story would be stronger if they lived on a version of earth with no gravity!”
And before you even get to edits, you have to go through submissions.
Auditions for actors: you wake up crazy early, pile into a room with two hundred other people who all want the same three jobs, sing for 32 seconds, then maybe they ask you to sing a little more or to come back later. Maybe they smile and thank you; maybe they stare at you like you’ve got three heads. In any case, there’s a pretty immediate reading on if they think you suck and should pack it in and go to law school.
With book submissions, you send an email out in to the ether. Maybe you sent a few pages, maybe not. In an hour, or a week, maybe three years from now, you get an email back either saying “no” or asking for more material. Maybe you get no email at all.
You don’t even really know who read the first email you sent. Was it the agent or an editor? Was it an assistant? Their ten-year-old earning extra chore money? And you have no idea who else was bidding for the coveted contract.
In an audition if a six-foot, blonde belter with double D’s shows up, you’re probably out of the running for Ulla. But with submissions, there is no way to know who else is in that inbox with you. Or if they’re even checking it! Even if you’ve been asked for pages, there’s no way to know if they’ve been read! At least with a callback you know there is a person in the room with you and can be fairly certain if they’re taking notes that they are not, in fact, dead.
All this is really just to say that next time I decide to branch into another art as a form of career growth, smack me.
I am not going to give up on writing. I’ll edit and submit, and submit and edit until the zombie apocalypse makes emailing impossible.
But damn, dude. Damn.