MILEPOSTS


A couple of years ago I accepted the challenge to write a screenplay...in 30 days. I wrote like a fiend for a month and finished with characters I loved, 3 complete acts, and a brilliant twist at the end. It was such a great feeling. For the first time in my life I really felt like a writer!

Everyone asked what was next. Honestly, I had not really thought too much about what I would do when it was finished. I found a reputable script consultant who lives in Hollywood, and I took advantage on a special he was running on his website.

I sent him the first 10 pages and an outline of the story, and a week later I was sitting in my car on a lunch break waiting for his phone call. Would he love it? Would he understand the twist at the end? Would he be blown away by my creative genius? I knew the script wasn't perfect. I told myself I could do any revisions he recommended. After all, the guy has worked with Tom Hanks. He knows his shizzy.

Come on, friend, you can guess where this is going.

After 5 minutes of answering his questions I knew my work was crap. Crap Crap Crap. Don't get me wrong; Erik was professional and kind and......right. 

I had some major problems with my plot. 

For the next 25 minutes I stuttered and stammered my way through trying to explain the conflict, the  beats and the twist. After making a super awkward joke, I hung up and went back to work at my grey cubicle and tried to figure out what just happened. I was embarrassed. Deflated. Frustrated.

Honestly, I was pretty hard on myself for a while. But looking back now, I see some things. 
  • I started and finished a big project. 
  • I put myself out there for some constructive feedback.
  • I learned from said feedback.
  • I learned writing a compelling story is almost as hard as living one.
  • I'm more appreciative of a good story when I see one.

I haven't gone back to that script. I think it's too sick to ever be made well. 

But that script is a milepost for me. Sometimes it feels like my life is stuck; like I'm repeating the same day over and over and over. That script is a reminder that I'm moving forward, even if not everything works out the way I want it to. That script reminds me that sometimes we need to do hard things, even if we're not very good at them the first time.

We all need mileposts in our lives, especially if they're kind of a bummer. It's best when they make us uncomfortable and awkward. This wakes us up. 

These days I try to create mileposts for myself, so I can look back and see I'm moving in the right direction. And if it's been too long since the last one, or if I'm not moving, I create a new one. These mileposts aren't to show me where I've failed. They are to remind me where I've been and what I've learned. 

And I'm thankful for them.

What about you? Can you think of some mileposts in your own life? Is it time to create a new one?


Comments

  1. You know my milepost is coming this weekend in the form of 13.1 miles...will let you know how it goes. :)

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