I am coming to LA to do my other job. My real job because writing is not (yet) how I make my living. I am a TV Producer which means I need to be meeting with writers, studio executives and network executives. So I am going to LA to do some of that.
In my first year of producing, I came to LA every month or so to pitch a new project. Somehow I thought it would be easier. I thought that I would pick a writer, come up with an idea, run it by my studio and I would sell it to a network. But it was not that easy.
It took about six months before I sold my first project.
It’s a process.
When people ask me, “What are you up to?” They expect me to talk about my television projects. My projects that I am proud of. My projects that I have in the pipeline. My projects that are getting made. But my projects are all in various stages of development. Some are further along than others. But when people ask you about your television projects, they want to know what they can go home and watch right away. They are not interested in what you might make someday, maybe, in about a year… IF ever.
What I really want to talk about is writing. My writing. This blog. This project that I’ve been working on for months and months. Almost two years of my life, as a writer, are contained on this site. Now that I’ve shared it with my friends and family, it’s actually “live” and it’s scary, but it’s also really, really fun.
But in the week leading up to my “come check out my blog email,” there was one person I hadn’t shown it to yet. My husband.
I love my husband. He might be the smartest person I know, but all of that intelligence comes with a price. He is extremely cautious and at times very critical (although he would say the same about me).
My husband read the “book” and was (mostly) encouraging. He loves books. He loves to read. So he thought writing a book was (mostly) a good idea.
But when I decided to convert my book into this blog, he started referring to this as my “vanity project.” That term reminds me a lot of the term “trophy wife” or other such catch phrases that marginalize people and their assets to something dismissible.
He finally sat down and started reading some of my more recent posts. When he finished reading, he looked at me with concern and said, “You can’t put THIS on the internet.”
It was a true gut punch. One week before I planned on announcing my blog, he had just thrown a 500 pound cold wet blanket on my bonfire of joy.
“What do you mean I can’t put this on the internet? It’s a blog. It’s the book just expanded because I kept writing.”
He said, “But anyone could read this? Why would you want that? You are opening yourself up to ridicule, criticism, money scams, identity theft, con artists and stalkers.”
“Huh?” was all that came out of my mouth. Has he actually ever seen the Internet? It’s not like he doesn’t have two computers, an iPad and an iPhone. I’m not sure what he thinks people have been doing on the Internet for the last 15 years.
But moreover, I’m not making a sex tape. I am not publishing my diaries. I don’t mention his name, the names of our children or even the name of my dog for that matter. I asked him what the difference is between a book and a blog? He said, ”A book is not available to everyone. They have to buy it. The internet is free and permanent.”
So, if I charged for this, it would be different?
We debated back and forth about the difference between buying a book online and the internet. The permanence of a book you can’t edit vs. the impermanence of posts you can change. We debated the difference between autobiographies, stand-up comedians, famous people who talk about their feelings and unknown people who talk about their feelings and then develop a following from that. Apparently, the real issue is that I am honest about my feelings about stuff (not even anything controversial). Just stuff. But somehow he fears that this can only lead to bad things.
This debate went on for days. Why would I want to do this? What’s my ultimate goal? No rational person would ever write about something and let the whole world see it. Apparently, he has never seen YouTube, Instagram or read the thousands and thousands of blogs written by housewives, comedians, business people, teenagers and the like.
Finally, we found a compromise. I would write under a pen name.
So, two weeks ago, 52 Mondays had its official premiere. I invited a few dozen friends to check out my blog.
But as soon as I clicked send on the email, the crazy thoughts began swirling in my head:
What if they didn't see my email?
What if they can't open the link?
What if they can't navigate the website?
What if they don't know how to share it?
What if they don't comment?
What if they don't like it? Awkward.
Maybe it was too much?
Maybe I am too much?
Maybe I can’t write?
Maybe I shouldn’t write?
Maybe my husband was right?
Maybe it shouldn’t be a blog?
Here we go again… Hello Ursula.
I find myself saying, “Don’t be attached to the outcome.” It is the number one principle of being Zen.
But I am too attached to the outcome. Which makes me sad that I am not more Zen. But part of being Zen is not judging. Not judging others. Not judging yourself. So, I guess I failed the second rule of being Zen.
I also killed a fly in my kitchen this morning. I am pretty sure that killing anything is not Zen. So strike three.
Now it’s Monday. I woke up feeling pretty unenthused about having to travel to LA. I have no new projects to roll out to the networks on this trip. The weather report says that it is going to be over 100 degrees in Los Angeles this week, which seems a little hot for late October, and I don’t love the logistics of traveling to begin with.
But in spite of all of that, I was really excited about getting up this morning and writing a post. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about, but I knew a five hour flight was going to be the perfect time for a little self-reflection.
I made it through TSA security pretty fast (which is always a bonus), so I decided to have lunch at one of the airport bars. Nothing looked good on the menu, so I went with a cold beer and french fries. I felt like a rebel. No salad. No protein. Alcohol in the middle of the day. Was I on vacation? Nope. I was getting ready for my business trip and I was celebrating my inner bad girl.
The french fries were piping hot and crispy. The beer was ice cold and bubbly. Suddenly I realized that in spite of my reluctance to go to Los Angeles today, this Monday was turning out pretty great.
That’s when I remembered. Every Monday, for almost two years, I have been working on this project that I love. A project that has almost “died on the vine” many times, but continued to thrive. A project that sometimes fills me with self-doubt, and may not have any financial reward, but a project that gets me out of bed in the morning... because I am writing.
So I was thinking that the secret to curing the Monday Blues is to do one thing that you love every Monday. Something that you look forward to. For me it is writing. I’d love to hear what it is for you in the comments or send me an email.
And next time when someone asks me, “What are you up to?” I think I am going to start saying: “I’m writing a blog… and it’s awesome.”