As I sit here smoking a skinny joint from the balcony of my posh Hollywood Hills mansion, I cannot help but remember the days when I slaved away in a dilapidated nursing home for $9 an hour. The management were such scumbags to me there that they fought over giving me my yearly $0.30 raise and settled on a $0.15 raise for one year and a whopping $0.10 for the following. Thank-you sir may I have another!?
During those days when my boss would leave for the afternoon, I’d stare out the window and wonder how the hell I ended up in this mess. I would watch the sun go down slowly from my office window and know it was only temporary and that one day I would transcend this position by a million percent. I hated it there.
I don’t really care about mansions. I don’t really care about marijuana. I do care about options and possibilities. I don’t live in a mansion and I don’t smoke pot, but I would like the flexibility to do so if I wanted to. I have always had an interest in film. When I write my books, I envision them in three dimensions. I see them playing out in my head like the movie and that is how I often create realistic dialogue and dramatic tension. Some of the people I admire most are Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, both writers and famous filmmakers. Both are also individuals who would be considered late bloomers by society’s standards.
Tarantino worked at a Manhattan Beach video rental store until he was thirty. It was around this time a friend with connections encouraged him to write Reservoir Dogs. It took him three weeks to write the screen play and once made into a film it received high acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. The rest is history….
Kevin Smith has a similar story. Smith worked as a clerk at a convenience store. Around age 30, Smith maxed out his credit cards and borrowed money from family to create the epic film Clerks. The production of Clerks cost $30,000. It was filmed with a regular video camera in black and white. Smith used the convenience store where he worked as the movie set. Filming in black and white allowed him to conceal the fact that they were always filming at night (because the store was open during the day) thus giving them more flexibility for the chronological details of his script. After the completion of the film, he entered it into The Sundance Film Festival where it was picked up by Miamax almost instantly.
I love these kinds of stories because they are countless. So many famous and successful people have transcended even povern stricken conditions to arrive at where they are today. One of my favorite metaphysical writers, Wayne Dyer, is another excellent example. Dyer grew up in various foster homes until he inevitably joined the Navy. He was an alcoholic and married and divorced several times. Eventually he became a professor then risked losing everything when he quit his job and went on the road to promote his first book. Of course the rest is history….
I believe this is the “secret” or law of attraction in motion. No doubt these individuals always knew that they wanted to do these things. They probably spent years daydreaming about it. Daydreams are not always in vain, as all three of them inevitably built up the courage to put positive action behind their positive thinking. When this happens the universe always responds. You will reach your goal, it is impossible not to. The only reason you will not reach your goal is if you give up too soon. How bad do you want it? The answer to that is you have to want it enough to work for free.
The best advice ever got was from my cousin, a grant writer. She told me to write for free and take any opportunity I could get. Before her suggestion I balked at the idea of working for free but in retrospect it was because I was an amateur. Amateurs believe that reaching goals is simple, almost instantaneous. They believe all they do is have to put the work down on paper and it will turn to gold. Sometimes people ask me for advice about writing. I usually have to find out their background and experience before I can give them any sort of useful guidance. But when i ask them about their background, my questions go unanswered. They do not want to have a background, they want a foreground, they want everything now. They do not want to hear that unless your father owns a huge publishing house you have to get some more writing behind you. And even then it will be difficult to get anyone to even look at your manuscript. Not to mention, they end up telling me that the manuscript in question has not been outlined let alone written.
We are all dreamers first.
So I pass along the best piece of advice I have ever gotten, to write for free. The response from whomever I am speaking to has always been the same and in reality, it really separates the wheat from the chaff. Most balked at my suggestion, citing that they couldn’t afford to do it for free. Well, good luck then, I think to myself. For one, writing jobs often pay very little, and two there aren’t many of them around. But this is not their plan either. They are not going to get a writing job. Thet just want instant gratification for their time and effort. Look at Kevin Smith. Not only could he not afford to write for free, but he put himself in deficit in order turn his film making dream into a reality. I don’t always get why they expect instant results, most professions do not get instant result. Not only will you end up doing a lot of stuff for free- but you will also end up paying a ton of money to get the opportunity to do those things for free and maybe make money doing them one day. There is actually a name for this concept- it’s referred to college, university, grad school whatever. These are all examples comparable to the concept of writing for free and much more expensive. Someone in medical school is going to go to school and training for a long time before they will make the money back that they put in. Writing for free doesn’t sound so bad now does it? Not only have I written for free, but I’ve supported myself with jobs I hate to do so- now that is true love. And if you are not willing to do what it is you desire to do for free, then your heart is not really in it.
They say the bigger the risk the bigger reward, but honestly this is a question of faith. If this is your calling somewhere deep in your soul you feel will the cosmic assurance that is guiding you. It is really not a question of how or do but faith. Do you have it?