There are some days when I think I’m an honest-to-goodness genius. On those days, I feel like a veritable gift to this world, like sliced bread, or sunshine, or Jesus. I can cure ignorance. I can defeat stupidity. I can bring about a new age of enlightenment with my words. Someday, somewhere, there will be an uber-flattering marble sculpture of me, in a pretentious garden overrun by hipsters and indecipherable modern art, right next to a Starbucks.
On other days, I feel like an honest-to-goodness nutcase. I’m a meager also-ran, something that never quite lived up to the hype, like fungus, or acid rain, or JaMarcus Russell. I can’t write. I can’t tell jokes. I can’t slowly corrupt the hearts and minds of the general public. Someday, somewhere, I’ll end up shuttered in a small studio apartment, typing away as my cats nibble on my toes because I haven’t fed them in two weeks.
Welcome to the roller coaster ride of the potentially-bipolar, oft-alcoholic television writer.
Unlike “suits”, who can point to their steady paychecks and flashy business cards to justify their existence, television writers are simply defined by whether they’re working or not working. If it’s the former, then they’re poppin’ bottles at the club and brushing up on pedophile jokes for the writers’ room. If it’s the latter, then they’re eating condiments as dinner entrees and telling family members that they’re working on a novel. As a new writer, the insecurity of it all is a bit terrifying. One person can think you’re great; another person can think you’re a flaming pile of feces. Rejection in the writing world is commonplace. You often hear that it’s not personal, it’s business… But when you’re the business, inevitably any rejection can make you feel like you’re one step away from homelessness/extinction.
Of course, it’s exhilarating to live a crazy, volatile, follow-your-ridiculous-dreams kind of life. For now, I’m OK with the fact that my bipolar writerly life sometimes involves me eating ice cream in bed, watching House Hunters on repeat, and feeling like a failure. But I’m banking on having more good days than bad ones. And if that’s the case and all goes well, I’ll probably turn into a self-absorbed, self-involved, narcissistic prick with a marble statue. I’m sorry. Please don’t pee on my statue.