I believe that impatience is a virtue. It took me 18 years to sell a screenplay. That was seven years ago, and I may never see my screenplay made into a film, but I can’t control what happens to the funding and production of the script at this point, anyway. During my 18-year quest to sell a screenplay, until a producer finally bought one of the nine scripts that I wrote, I filled four filing cabinets full of rejection letters, hired and fired four literary agents, won awards in six screenwriting competitions, and came up with ideas for more movies than I have time to write.
During the 18 years that it took me to sell my first, and I hope not my last, screenplay, I was twice divorced, survived eight corporate downsizings, lost a parent to cancer, moved a dozen times, got a masters degree in something completely unrelated to screenwriting, and then published a humorous memoir about my 18 years of rejection and one day of victory, but never lost sight of this goal to one day walk into a darkened theater with my popcorn and sit and watch what a director, actors, and hundreds of movie-making professionals did to interpret my script.
My impatience and passion was sustained with the knowledge that I wasn’t entitled to anything. Whatever else I gained or lost in life, no one could take away my dream, or the energy to pursue it.
Impatience has gotten a bad rap. Except that Webster’s Dictionary defined impatience, at least the second definition, as “restlessly eager to do something.” The Roman official Cato said in 200 BC that “patience is the greatest of all virtues,” but he never sold a screenplay.
Now at age 53, this pursuit to write a produced movie has consumed about half my life. I’m not there yet. So, I’m going to continue to be impatient. One day at a time.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.