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  • Inflexible Dynamo

Not for Nothing, But ...

...You will fail. You will fail a thousand times. Some of these failures will be astonishingly acute. You'll watch your colleagues achieve great successes and you'll feel inadequate, out of the loop. Not one of the cool kids.

But your few successes will be worth both the thousands of dedicated hours spent bringing your visions into tangibility and the disappointments of those awaited emails that say nothing but, Sorry kid, we had this many submissions taken in and we thought a bunch were more worthy than yours. And when these e-notices come from friends, they sting a bit more.

Fact is you will, in all likelihood, not win nearly as many times as you think you should. Your belief in your own work is both your greatest strength and your Achilles' Heel; it will keep you afloat during the Dark Ages and serve to highpoint the bee stings that plague your inbox. Your work will take hundreds of hours and miles of internal digging to bring to the surface—if it's to be any good at all. This comes with a mighty cost. But no matter how good it is—intrinsically—someone will not feel it appropriate for their own purposes. This is not you; this is simply bad chemistry.

(And here's the rub: even if your work does “suck”—whatever that means—somebody, somewhere will take a shine to it. Seriously: how much self-indulgent twaddle have you seen sponsors' dollars invested in that the rest of the audience simply adores?)

The hard part is that you have two choices: persist or change your road. Changing one's road means deciding that you're best served in another medium where the possibility of success has greater odds. That's a very hard decision, especially with the time and heart already invested. It's like going out for a ride and not going back.

But maybe you do have that other ability within you that needs to be explored. We are annoyingly (and maybe overly-) complex creatures, and many times, like in our writing, we need to head west-by-southwest to crank out those six pages that lead us to that One Glorious True North Beat.

Only fellow artists will truly understand your existential pit of despair. In that, at least, you are not alone.

My own plan is simple: have my somewhat voluble yet momentary pity party, then take up my shovel and continue scraping away at the stony Earth, and to completely mix up metaphors, gallop full speed with head down, ears back, heading straight for Masterpiece Barn.

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