Our thanks to powerful guest blogger and Master Cat! Alvaro Rodriguez, a Texas-based screenwriter whose credits include Machete, From Dusk to Dawn: The Hangman’s Daughter, and Shorts, for pushing us with this piece:
Okay, okay. So it’s not that black-and-white. There are writers who sit at the laptop or the legal pad and symphonies fly from their fingertips like so much neon in a Gaspar Noe movie. But they’re just really good at hiding the fact that at some point in the process, they’re the first kind of writer.
Writing is a question. It’s many questions, I guess, but the first question is, Will I be read? Will reading leave me with a sense of accomplishment? Will reading validate my existence? It’s an invitation to dance — the writer and the prose, the reader and the prose, the intermediaries who shuffle the prose from writer to reader. There are dance steps as careful as a foxtrot, but within that structure, you the writer (even you the reader) can go all Pina Bausch if you desire.
This is a lead-in to the idea of pushing, and the power to push. It’s simple physics but it’s metaphysics, too. It’s the ability to be the wind at your own back at every step of the way, from concept to draft to (may the Great Spirit bless us all) sale to Redbox with many steps and even reversals in between.
The power to push isn’t just about self-help pop psychology, either. It’s also the power to push for a better strategy, to push your own talent to something new, to push expectations higher for your work, to push into the undiscovered, the untried and the unexpected.
At the same time, like any good dance, there’s a counterbalance: compromise. The road to hell is paved with it. But if you the writer can push your signature, your style, yourself into the project, you’ll find that compromise doesn’t mean acquiescing. Pushing coal sometimes makes a diamond.
So get your dance cards out, find something with a good beat you can dance to, believe in your own forward momentum, and push, dammit, push.
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