It’s really hard to sell something if you’re not sold on it yourself. And, it’s pretty easy to sell something you are super excited about, that you believe in, that you know will make a difference in not just your world, but to the audience it was created for.
Selling yourself on your projects before putting them out into the world also makes rejection so much easier because your belief in something is so strong you become unshakeable. It’s like your favorite show; you can rave about it, and someone might say, “I hate that show.” You’re like, “What? Are you crazy? It’s amazing – the settings, the acting, the directing…it’s just incredible.”
It doesn’t matter how many people say they don’t like it, it will not change your belief in its value.
There are going to also be people who say, “That sounds right up my alley. I’m going to go home and watch right now. Thanks for telling me about it. I can’t wait to watch it.”
So, before marketing your project, make sure you yourself would buy it, watch it, and recommend it to all your friends and family.
When I marketed my first screenplay, I was totally not sold on it. But I did it anyway. I loved the concept, but the script, in my opinion, was crap — it was my first screenplay.
However, I did love the first 10 pages and thought I did an excellent job on them, and I also had validation from my peers that they were pretty good.
I wrote my first script for a particular actor who wasn’t well known at the time, but by the time I finished that screenplay, he had landed a huge role, and my chances of getting my script to him went way down.
I did have an affluent actor in Hollywood I was acquainted with whom I thought might be a good second choice, so asked if he would be willing to read the first 10 pages. To my surprise, he said yes. So I sent him the 10 pages.
He emailed me back a week or so later and asked for 10 more pages.
I froze – I was definitely not sold on the next 10 pages, and I made that mean a lot of things.
What do you think I did?
I did nothing. I didn’t have the awareness or confidence in myself as a writer, or in my project, or, for that matter, in anyone who did show an interest. So not only was my script a hot mess…but as a writer and marketer, I was a mess, too.
If you’re saying things like, “It’s not my best work,” or “It’s okay…for a thriller,” or, like me, “The first 10 pages are good; the rest kind of sucks,” this energy is going to show up in your marketing. If you really feel that way about your project, then it’s time to get curious about why and do something about it. Do as many rewrites as it takes to make it something you are honestly proud of, or…
Put closure on it, thank the project for all the lessons it taught you, all the growth it gave you as a writer, and then move on.
And on your next project, sell yourself first.
Sell yourself every day before you work on it, and sell yourself every day before you market it.
Here’s an exercise you can do as you work every day on your project. It will build and influence that strong belief in the value of your work and help keep you excited about it as you’re in the creation process.
Before you start working on your project for the day…
Take five minutes and write 10 or more reasons why your project is valuable.
This exercise will not only bolster your own belief in your projects, but you will be able to use it to create compelling marketing content or conversation starters when sharing it with others.
Here’s an example of what that might look like.
10 Reasons Why This Project Is Valuable:
- My project was created to be a container for a diverse and unique cast that leaves no one behind.
- The right producer can create this project for under $5 million.
- My project has excellent dialogue.
- My project would be a lot of fun for an up-and-coming Director of Photography.
- A set designer is going to have so much fun with this project.
- If I were a director, this would be a great project.
- There is one scene that will make you cry like a baby, and the next instant will make you laugh.
- There are some take-your-breath-away scenes in this project.
- I love writing this kind of story because I think it’s relatable but confrontational enough to challenge the audience a little. I think those are the best kinds of projects.
- I love this project because it dives into human behavior and how it is possible to change.
- This project has the potential to get me a manager.
If you do this before every writing session, it will influence the way you write, the way you sell, and the way you present yourself as a writer in the industry.
You got nothing to lose by believing in the value of your projects. And again, I don’t mean lying to yourself about the value.
Have the courage to do what it takes to make your project valuable, or put closure to it and recognize that the value you got was from the experience of creating it.
Next week we’ll talk about the third and final belief to marketing your projects successfully: Belief that there are people who want your project.
The phrase “Believe in yourself” gets a lot of eye rolls, like it’s so coachy or Pollyanna…or something you would see on a crafty sign hanging in someone’s bathroom or bedroom.
I actually have a card my friend gave me for Christmas that says “Believe” on it. I must admit – at times, it does feel like some sort of destination.
I’ve thought about this all week, wondering how I can approach this topic without sounding coachy or like it’s just another pep talk.
What came to mind is to simply tell the truth.
We scoff at the phrase or roll our eyes because we think it’s something Pollyanna, that it’s silly to believe in yourself if you don’t have the evidence.
When most of us hear the words “Believe in yourself,” our thoughts automatically go a certain way. (I’m going to use a writer here for an example, but you can use anything.)
It all sounds like:
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I figure out other people’s secrets to success.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I’ve won first place in a contest.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I’m better at dialogue.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I sell my first screenplay.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I know the right people.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I feel more confident in my writing.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when people laugh at my comedy.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I get my first writing assignment.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I get enough validation from my peers and the industry.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I can quit my day job and write full-time.
I’ll believe in myself as a writer when I see my work on the big screen.
Longing for something you don’t have but think you need will not create your success.
You’re using the things you say you want in life to beat yourself up because you don’t already have them, and then telling yourself that until you do have those things, you’re not going to believe in yourself as a writer.
Thinking those thoughts will block you from accessing your creativity, your resources, and the abundance of all the opportunities that are around you right now – at this very moment – to move toward those things you want.
Waiting to believe in yourself is like giving your power away and hoping someone will eventually give it back to you in some improved, perfected form.
You can’t get there from here.
“When I get the results, I’ll believe in myself.”
Not a strategy I’ve ever heard a successful writer, actor, artist, or entrepreneur use to their advantage!
What are you telling yourself about believing in yourself as a writer?
What do you believe you have to be good at?
What do you believe you need more of?
What do you think is the evidence you need to see to believe in yourself as a writer?
Stop and answer those questions. That’s the first step.
Believing in yourself only requires one thing.
That thing is to have your own back no matter what happens, good, bad, or neutral.
To start shifting into this mindset of having your own back no matter what, develop self-awareness about what you believe and be willing to call yourself out on any BS that comes and starts with “If only I had this,” or “If only I knew the secret to this.”
Replace those thoughts with better ones.
I choose to have my own back at every stage of this journey.
Where I am right now is exactly where I am supposed to be. I can only be here right now.
I am a writer because I write.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~ Arthur Ashe
When I think it’s better over there, I miss all the opportunities and resources available to me right here, right now.
So, what are you telling yourself about the resources, the people, the opportunities that are around you right now? Are those thoughts serving you? If not, how can you reframe them into thoughts that will?
You’re still going to have those thoughts about not-enoughness, or “When I am this or that, I’ll believe in myself.” I almost didn’t record this tiny talk because those were my defaults. I don’t know enough. I don’t have the right words.
Now you know you can change your thoughts.
You don’t have to keep them just because they’re the default thoughts that pop into your head – that is really the key. You’re not a victim of your thoughts. You can change them and choose to believe different thoughts when the ones you’re currently thinking are not serving you.
I hope this made sense to you and that it helps you look at the idea of believing in yourself far beyond just a simple coachy catchphrase.
Belief is everything if you want to achieve what’s important in your life and shift into a space where you can start tapping into what is available to you right now – right where you are.
In the next episode, we’ll talk about belief in your project. I hope you’ll join me.
We still have six months left in 2021, so if you’re interested in accessing more of your creativity, getting out of your own way, and getting serious about getting your work out into the world where it belongs, I can help. Book a free consultation here.
If you know me well, you already know the answer.
My all-time favorite writer and artist is one of the most polarizing people in the world of film critics and moviegoers, and they love to bash him.
Notice I didn’t mention the industry. One rarely hears of anyone badmouthing him if they’re in the industry. Only the critics and consumers.
I will get my highest amount of unsubscribes from my email list for declaring his name.
He’s deeply in love with his projects, unapologetically.
I’ve heard the verbiage “I hate” used before this man’s name more than any other artist when mentioned in conversation and media.
He’s often called a hack and plagiarist by the same people who love Disney and Marvel. I find that interesting.
He only makes movies he wants to see.
He figured out what people are looking for in a movie by working in a video store, sleeping in the parking lot out back, and writing a screenplay that changed people’s lives, whether they enjoyed the film or not.
He is confident in his ability to create stories with all the tools and inspiration he’s gathered over the years, and he puts his own unique voice and style to his writing and filmmaking using an unmistakable signature.
He likes to challenge movie conventions and abuse them.
He’s really bad at grammar.
He’s more interested in the journey than the destination.
Music is his co-writer.
He has complete control over all his films.
He’s been nominated for awards 284 times and has won 170 of those nominations.
Five Oscar nominations and two Oscars.
His stories are 1000% character-driven.
He’s resourceful and wrote a script for someone in exchange for the effects he wanted in one of his films when he was a lesser-known writer. This ended up being the film that put him on the map.
Have you figured out who he is yet?
One more hint. I named my cat after one of his films. Actually, my cat came with the name, and I kept it because it was one of his films.
Whether you love him or hate him, here are the secrets to his cult success; follow them and success can be yours, too:
- Believe in yourself as a writer.
- Believe in your projects.
- Believe there are people who want what you have to offer.
Achieving success as an artist can be challenging, and the temptation to cave to others’ fears, insecurities, and individual agendas can be overwhelming. I can help you navigate all that. Book a free consultation and let’s chat!
P.S. Here’s an appropriate playlist for this email.
In this episode, I share how to build the most important muscle in your life.
Hey, if this message resonated with you and you would like support building your showup muscle, getting your projects done, and out into the world, book a free call with me. I live for this!