Friday, August 10, 2012

Writing: "Between Engagements"

My daughter has a long history in the theater: a degree from the University of Texas, experience in places like the Williamstown Theater Festival, performing with Improv Comedy troupes in Austin, Chicago, and a number of other places. That's behind her now, although her training has stood her in good stead for a number of things since (including keeping an inquisitive three-year-old entertained).

Parents learn a lot from their children, including something about their career paths. In this case, I've learned a good bit about show business. And one thing I've come to appreciate is the phrase, "between engagements."

An actor is never unemployed. He or she is "between engagements." They may have been working for six months as a server at The Cheesecake Factory, but they're not a waiter or waitress--they're an actor who's "between engagements."

I think that's true of writers, as well. If we write but have not had anything published yet, we're "pre-published." If we've had one book published, but no one has bought anything else we wrote, we're "working on our next book." And, you know, I think that attitude is good. Beverly Sills said something to the effect that you may be disappointed if you try, but you're doomed if you don't.

So long as we have the dream, we keep on trying. And it's not that our book is no good. It just hasn't hit the right desk yet. Until then, we're between engagements.


James Scott Bell said...

And in this new world of digital publishing, it's also possible to say, "I'm getting paid each month for doing what I love" and "I have a full slate of projects lined up for the next couple of years."

Richard Mabry said...

Jim, thanks for the reminder that there are multiple avenues now open for writers--and thanks, as well, for blazing the trail in them.
Appreciate your comment.