In moving forward in a couple of writing projects, I have been stalled several times and found myself Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 9.07.17 AMasking,”Why? Why now? Why now, when I clearly need to get some things finished, become rich and famous and buy the house next door so I can knock it down and make a two-story pool that gets me into Architectural Digest and Tina Turner sees it and contacts me so we can become best friends and hang out all the time and re-enact 80s videos together?”

Perhaps my level of expectations is a wee bit high.

However, as I’ve plunged deeper, I realize I’ve accidentally fallen into a trap many writers fall into. I haven’t been honest.

Even if you’re writing a fun action adventure film, it needs heart. The only way to give any project heart is to take the risk of exploring your own issues and passions through it. In my case, it’s pretty clear-cut (though I can’t speak for what the creators may be exploring through the Transformers films).

I’ve had moderate success writing in my life, but I have friends far more successful. It’s daunting. I’m happy for them, but I want to be successful, too (see above, re: Tina Turner friendship). At my advanced age, I feel everything has to be a success the first draft. Even my characters.

Thus, my characters are facing no real problems. No real challenges. No chances to fail. They are cardboard cutouts with somewhat-humanizing quirks. It’s the Superman Dilemma – how boring is it when the hero can beat anything.

In re-watching episodes of 30 Rock and the League, it’s the losers trying to win that provide so much humor. They may think they are winners, but their delusions make it even funnier.

So, I am going to take a few chances. I’m going to try losing (and letting my fragile, vulnerable precious characters lose). It could be a win.

If not … would one of my more successful pals let Tina know I’m ready to be BFFs anytime?

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