I know, I do. I’m a great to-do list maker, by the way. I can make those to-do lists in my sleep. I’m not bad at getting stuff done. Nor am I that good. Hey, it’s on my list, even prioritized, but for some reason I never quite get around to the important stuff. I keep putting it off. Then I notice, week after week, month after month as I update my to-do lists, that quite a few of those to-do items—usually the important ones—gets repeated over and over. Sound familiar?
Again, knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. We want the results, so what’s holding us back? Yeah, I know, procrastination, but why are you procrastinating? What are you afraid of? Fear is usually the culprit. Do you fear that you’re not good enough to complete the job, or not good enough to receive the rewards on the other side of that bridge?
I admit, at times, I fear both of these.
One of those items on my list that I’ve been procrastinating on is selling my screenplays. Hey, I did the hard part, I actually wrote them! But I still have to cross that bridge by selling what I wrote. Sure LA agents won’t take a look at me, this writer living in Borneo. LA agents, I’m finding out, won’t take a look at anyone, even if you’re living in LA and knocking on their office door—they don’t have time to deal with you and your movie dreams! They are too busy making deals for their proven clients.
Book agents and script agents operate differently! I can submit directly to a book agent who have clear guidelines for submissions stated in their websites or in other listings. For screenplays you need a script manager, and then, even before they peek at your script, you’ve got to sign a release form (to protect them and everyone in the industry from being sued by you for “stealing” your ideas). After they’ve determined that the script is as good as you hope it is, they can start knocking on those doors for you. Since LA agents have worked with these managers before, they trust them. Together they can put deals together, pulling in actors and producers along the way, to get your script optioned or sold and hopefully, produced.
OK, I know all this, a recent discovery after procrastinating on sending out my screenplays for years (they needed rewritten!), so after rewriting them why am I still standing at the bridge of action, waiting and waiting? Waiting for what? For snow to fall in Borneo?
A good question to ask yourself—how bad do you really want those results? Yeah, I know, really, really bad! Just because you really, really want it is not—and never will be—good enough. You need a powerful enough reason. a big why. If not, you’ll give up the very first time that troll who lives under the bridge says “Boo!” See, you really don’t want it as bad as you claim!
Now let’s say your spouse or loved one or even your child is on the other side of that bridge and you need to get across it to save them from the trolls. Are you going to give up this time? No way! You’ll fight those trolls off, or find a way to outwit them! You’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.
So let’s pretend that these screenplays that I’ve written—all five of them—are my children and if I don’t cross that bridge to contact that script manager then I’ll never be able to save them from those evil trolls. Do I want that guilt hanging over my head for the rest of my life? What about you, got a good reason to cross the bridge and get on with your own life? What's at stake? Your family? Your financial future? Both?
Your family, your loved ones, your children (even your friends) all want you to succeed, but you can only succeed when you cross that bridge. And maybe you’ll get lucky, too. Maybe all the trolls are asleep, so the only troll around is the one inside your head telling you all the reasons why you’re not good enough, why you’ll fail, why you should crawl back home and hide under the covers.
So find an important why, a really, really good reason why it’s imperative for you to succeed in crossing that bridge of action. Trust me; this will not be the only bridge you’ll face. In fact, you’ll probably face several bridges a day, some bigger than others. But after awhile, you’ll get pretty good at crossing those bridges and reaping those rewards on the other side
And your to-do lists might get smaller, too.
- Robert Raymer, Borneo Expat Writer
***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.