Careers are made up of a million choices, each one with a million possible ramifications. Contemplating the outcome of those everyday decisions can seem daunting, even terrifying. What if I make the wrong choice? What if this decision will lead me nowhere? Should I fail, what will become of me in the months of “wasted” work that results from this course of action?
These kinds of questions are enough to stop just about anybody in their tracks. After all, isn’t it safer just to stay at home and not take the risk? Isn’t it better to just continue with the 9-5 gig, tucked securely behind a screen of anonymity? Because if you never take a chance, you never really face the danger of falling on your face, right?
Screw that. I’ve heard it said that we’ll only ever really regret the choices we weren’t brave enough to make. So I’m continuing my crusade toward an ultimate destination I cannot possibly foresee.
To that end, I recently had another meeting with my good friend Cedric Williams, during which he and I had a serious discussion about forming an official writing partnership. Over the years, he and I have worked on original one act plays and short films, but we never truly took steps to cement our working relationship into something more. The work that we did, however, benefited greatly from our collaboration, and it made sense–to me–to explore the possibility of embarking on a new journey together.
Taking the first steps toward implementing this idea was a bit nerve-racking. Before we met, I prepared a pitch for the idea, expecting that I would have to do some serious convincing. After all, becoming a writing team is a serious, career changing commitment (alliteration, amiright?). How was I going to convince this already-working, husband, father-of-two to take a risk on a crazy idea? Fortunately, he was interested almost immediately.
So, I spent the last few days working on a number of things:
I developed a Partnership Plan, detailing my expectations, intentions, and goals.
I worked on my list of story ideas, a list that includes projects I’ve already developed, to see if any of them would be something he and I can explore as our first joint project.
I further developed my grounded sci-fi idea, conducting research into some of the short stories/philosophies/films/shows that share similar themes.
I have continued to read a new script each day.
I have taken at least one lesson with Sorkin each day.
I explored NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Although this is not writing work per se, having real world experiences is.)
Tomorrow, I meet with Cedric again. Then, we’ll talk about the materials we’ve shared with each other and decide where to go.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m afraid for the future. But I’m excited as well. And I’ll be damned if I’m the reason why I don’t leave my mark. There’s enough other b.s. waiting on the path ahead just itching to inhibit my progress. So I’ll do everything I can to stay out of my own way as I continue my swim toward the island I know is out there.