I had the honor of receiving a reply from Joel Eisenberg, a Hollywood producer whose books are now becoming a television series (The Chronicles of Ara).
So here are the questions I asked him, after reading a post about his journey as a writer.
Would you call your story of becoming a writer…relatable? How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.? I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?
From what you said, I understand that you literally gave up everything to become a writer. Maybe it didn’t seem like you were giving anything up, but from my perspective, it certainly seems like it. You ditched reason and what others would call having a “normal life” (by ditching your job!). I understand that this worked for you in the long run…but would you encourage others to do the same thing, even though this could potentially distort someone’s life…and then, in the end, it may not even pan out the way it did for you?
Just coming to you honestly, thanks for any advice!
Love the questions, Dominic. Thank you and I appreciate your honest feedback more than you know. Let me try to take these in order.
“Would you call your story of becoming a writer … relatable?”
– My path was my path; some may relate, others may not. Remember, Dominic, as I mentioned in a prior reply above – everyone’s path is individual. Some may have commitments with their children, for example, while others may have no children. Some may work 15 hour days to pay bills and work jobs they loathe, while others may have certain freedoms based on the amount of money in a savings account. Your path will never exactly follow another.
However, like John Grisham, who worked countless hours as an attorney and wrote “The Firm” in whatever spare moments he had, like Stephen King and so many others … A person can ALWAYS find the time to write, or send an email query, or replay to a blog post. It becomes then a question of time management and discipline to most prudently work with the tools you have to attain your goals.
“How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.?”
– That was actually my problem for so long. I waited and waited and waited some more … and nothing happened. There were projects here and there, stacks of returned scripts … but my career went nowhere. It’s only when I got desperate that I realized only I could turn all this around. I did something I never did – I wrote that book (and did have a few non-performing films prior) – and it made all the difference for me. I PROACTIVELY kept in touch with all the people who contributed that trod similar paths, and I PROACTIVELY kept up my networking group for years. I got out of my comfort zone. I don’t believe “luck” was part of the equation.
“I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?”
– I made that same observation and asked myself that exact question for so many years. I’ve so been there. But see above. I never stopped writing. I never stopped dreaming. The sacrifices were outrageous and I would not recommend those sacrifices to everyone. But, again, I’ve always had a sort of primal “need” to write; it’s always been more than a simple “want” for me. I made it work. The others who share similar stories made it work as well.
Look, sacrifice is a monster. I ended relationships, risked sleeping on the street, and a relatively new marriage, didn’t eat well, paid bills late … I would not recommend this. But my point is — I found the way. I tell people who attend my courses, speaking engagements and such that they don’t have to go to the extent I have. I did all the work. I learned what works and what does not, and why. There is no road map; if there was everyone would follow it and everyone would share the same degree of success.
There’s not a roadmap, though, but what there is are very specific strategies to save you an insane amount of work to help you get where you need to be.
Not luck, science.
Hope the response helps …
I was so happy that he took me seriously and actually got back to me! I also respected that he didn’t sugar-coat anything; he was being totally honest. Overall, I think what he said was encouraging, but you still get the sense that being a writer is HARD.
What do you think of his response? Thoughts?