Today I have a babysitter coming for a few hours so I can escape the house and work on my query for my screenplay. I've been using this week when Jason is away to polish off the sixth draft of my script, get it registered with the Writer's Guild, and now my attention shifts to the business side of getting it represented and sold.
I've been scouring Writer's Market, flagging production companies and agents that might be suitable, and now I have to craft a query that will get attention and intrigue someone to request the entire screenplay. I was confident about this process until I spent an hour last night searching the blogosphere for help and ideas on creating a strong query letter, and my certainty began to flag a little.
I tell myself that editors and agents make the process challenging because they don't want you to waste their time. They want to read good material, they are actively searching for it, but they are deluged by writers and they make it sound like your work must be perfect in order for them to have any interest at all.
Before I started reading all of this agent and editor advice online last night, I thought, "I'm a writer. I can write a simple one page letter with three paragraphs outlining my story and my writing credits. I can persuade someone to keep reading my writing."
I began having a crisis of confidence last night when I wondered if my script was really ready to be paraded around and read by strangers who know movies inside and out. If you're about to ask your dream to dance, you want to be sure that your skirt isn't tucked into your underwear and that you don't have spinach in your teeth. You want to get it right, but "getting it right" is subjective, and there is no empirical way to be sure. At a certain point, you have to take a deep breath, do the best you can, and hit the "send" button.
I do think I'm at that point, but rejection is never enjoyable, in any form. I want to draft a great query, e-mail it to my agency of choice, and hope for a positive response. It's sure to be a bumpy road, filled with equal parts hope and panic, and all I can do is walk it and learn the lessons that are waiting for me. I feel some trepidation, but I can't let that stop me. I must remember that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward in spite of the fear.