How To Be a Fan Of Your Own Work

Aug 2, 2016 | Industry

It can be hard to separate yourself from your work. You try not to make it personal but, of course, it is. Your writing is the combination of your thoughts, your skills, your life experiences and your passions. To type that first sentence on a blank page is to declare, “I have something to say.” And that is a scary, personal thing.

Its no wonder many writers have trouble interpreting feedback or seeing their work outside of themselves. In the face of rejection, it can be difficult to gather the confidence to finish a project or show it to the outside world.

But, in these instances, why not become a fan of your own work?

What do you love to watch? Are you a die-hard Star Wars fan? Have you seen every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer multiple times? Do you put on My Neighbor Totoro while you fold laundry or The Sopranos when you’ve had a rough day? Did you watch Ali Wong’s Netflix special Baby Cobra on repeat just to catch every single joke?

You know the kind of inspiration I’m talking about. It’s the character, story, dialogue, joke that pushed you to start writing in the first place. Could it be that maybe your writing will someday (whether soon or in the distant future) have a similar impact on someone else? That may seem lofty to think, but isn’t that what we all hope? That the things we love and feel will connect with someone else out there?

Imagine your work through the eyes of a fan. Someone who craves the connection that your work gives them. The way that Scott Pilgrim vs.The World spoke to your soul could be the way that your words, one day, resound with another person.

Lean in to your loves.

Toni Morrison famously said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  This speaks to a fabulous interconnection between writer and fan. You loved that character, that scene, that piece of dialogue enough to type it onto a blank page, to craft a story around it, to give it life. I know you’ve spent an incredibly long time writing, editing, and grinding away at crafting this film script, TV pilot, web series, stand up set, etc. You can get so deep into it that the words float around the page and the entire piece doesn’t seem to make sense to you anymore. When this happens, take a moment to think about Harry Potter. Think about Breaking Bad and Gilmore Girls. Think about those works you love and imagine yourself loving your own works just as much.

Be your own biggest fan. Not only will this help you finish writing projects but it will help motivate you to get your work and yourself out there. It can get you through the tedious task of researching agents who might connect with your work. It can fortify you for the rejection that can and will come your way. It can also help you evaluate feedback from your agent or manager when you get one. It can remind you why you started writing in the first place and even help start you on that seemingly impossible path of creating something new once you’ve finished a big writing project.

I obviously don’t recommend growing too large an ego. But being the often shy and neurotic breed that we are, writers often need a reminder why we do this in the first place. So put on that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and don’t label it procrastination. You’re gathering the motivation you need to write that last scene, send that query letter or even start fresh. We all know the power of fandom, so why not be a fan of your own work?

 

Eva Gross

Director of Big Break℠ Screenwriting Contest

Eva Gross is the Director of the Big Break Screenwriting Contest. She studied writing at Emerson College in Boston and has enjoyed time as a journalist, a book buyer, a script reader and a Collections Processor with the Writers Guild Foundation Library and Archive.