appy New Year! And welcome to Ink Slinger
, the official newsletter of paulguyot.net
We held a contest last month to name this newsletter, but your ideas were, well, I've always prided myself at being the most honest writing instructor I can be, and thus... your ideas were the equivalent of a botched penalty kick. Okay, not all of them, but I was disappointed in your effort, folks. Let's hope you step up your game in the coming year!
is named after a blog I had back in the day. It was comet-like; short-lived, but burned bright while it stormed across cyberspace. 3,000 unique hits a day, which was pretty badass considering this was around the time NewsCorp paid half a billion for MySpace. Remember those days?
debuted on TNT in December and ranked as the #1 new cable series for the entire year
. Thank you, fans! The ratings continue to be strong and as this newsletter went to press, a second season looks very likely.
In February, I'll be traveling to Los Angeles, that's Spanish for City of Angels. Actually, it's Spanish for The Angels, which is a baseball team, but City of Angels sounds better. Where was I? Right, LA. I'm pitching a TV series idea that I am incredibly excited and passionate about. If we sell it, I'll let you know all about it in next month's IS.
And now, some more thoughts on the writing process...
I have friends who race bikes for a living. Not the 10 laps around a .7 mile circuit that's all too often incorrectly called a "Crit." I'm talking about men and women who race hundreds of miles, climb thousands of feet, do multi-day stage races. Unless you know the sport of cycling, you have no idea how tough it is. The level of pain and suffering riders put themselves through on a regular basis would make any NFL player or MMA fighter cry and quit.
Cycling is a team sport, and unique in that all members of the team put themselves through agony so one of them can take the win. Get all the glory. And the money. Most of the team members who do this are called domestiques. They are the unsung heroes of cycling. My company is named after these incredible, selfless athletes.
What does this have to do with writing? The connection I'm making is about the suffering. Obviously, as we sit at our desks typing our little stories, we don't suffer physical pain beyond a sore butt or headache. But we suffer when it's not happening. When the words aren't flowing. Or the story isn't working. We get frustrated, angry, sad, scared. We take it out on our spouses or friends, or take to social media. We beat ourselves up, ask ourselves, "What makes you think you're good enough to actually write something?"
All working writers go through this. But what separates the working writers from the wannabes is that they show up every day. Like the rider who suffers so much the day before that they can barely walk, then still gets on their bike and rides their guts out the next day. And the next.
We all have those rare, glorious days when the words spill out of our brains faster than we can type. When the story takes on that life of its own, and we're just a passenger. But much more common are the days when it's a struggle. When it's like trying to rake leaves in the wind...using a brick tied to a string. It feels impossible. It makes you want to quit. Or at least, put that screenplay or manuscript aside and go do something that will make your ego feel better, promising yourself you'll get back to it another time, that it's just not a good writing day.
I'm here to break it to you—you'll never succeed unless you push through the pain on those days. The pain of the blank page. The suffering of empty thoughts. Good days, bad days, painful days, amazing days.
You want get paid to write? You gotta show up every day.