Be Your Own Best Peer Group

“Environment is EVERYTHING.”

Chris Jones, Creative Director of the London Screenwriters’ Festival, wrote a great lead for his article promoting the upcoming festival. And what makes the article even better is following up with this: “No one really wants to confront this, but it’s really simple. We become the five people we hang out with. And these five people may well be the biggest five reasons your career is not going where you thought it would be going when you started your journey.”

Mr. Jones goes on to talk about the people we hang out with and that they may not have the same dreams, goals, or desires as you do. And they may love you, and they may mean well, but most of the time, they are not 100 percent behind your quest to create.

thinking_manAre the people you hang out with holding you back? Do you listen, and say OK, I’ll put this off for a while and then get back to it. I know I do. But what happens if a while never arrives?

Everyone we know, everyone we deal with, even the ones who love us and support us, doesn’t have our dreams. We have our own dreams. It’s what drives us.

Mr. Jones talks about the thrill of working with a large group of professionals on a feature film, the kind of people who make you raise your own stakes and do great work. I don’t work in the film industry, but I know what he means. Working with great colleagues and producing a great product feeds an energy that makes you want to do it again and again. It’s why I’ve stayed in the newspaper profession for as long as I have.

But writing fiction is a solitary pursuit — so who are your peers? Where is that outstanding team that propels you to greatness? Speaking for myself, I sink into the blue devils of self-doubt two or three times a week, only to be pulled out by kind words, interesting ideas, or the simple desire of wanting to tell my story. Sometimes it comes from friends or acquaintances or family, or sometimes, from within.

Truth is, whatever greatness or effort or work ethic I have has to come from within.

This month has been a strange, sad, frustrating month (that I will write about another time), and not to court disaster, but sometimes I feel I’ll be glad to see it end. But that’s not really productive, is it? Taking each day as a blessing, striving toward a goal, being your own best peer group — that is something I will look forward to tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

For all you screenwriters, check this out.

How do you pick yourself up? Who is your support group?


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