Everyone has always said green is an excellent color on me. As a half-Irish ginger with fair skin and hazel eyes, my fashion options are pretty limited. Gray washes me out, yellow is out of the question for pretty much everybody, black is depressing, red clashes with my hair, pink flatters tan people more, and salmon is boring. Take a look at my closet and you’ll find mostly blue and green tops, not just because I love those colors, but because they reflect how I see myself.
I’ve been writing since second grade, but because I’m not a prolific force of nature like Stephen King, who writes more than any other human being on the planet, I’m constantly doubting myself. Writers are shamed for not practicing their craft 24/7, and that kind of pressure can really stunt your creativity. In a world where women face backlash for promoting themselves and the quality of my work is determined by page views, it’s difficult to feel on top of the world following one successful article. Last week, I wrote a piece about New Girl that fared well on the internet and HelloGiggles, and the positive response from people on Twitter, Facebook, and email brightened my day. Of course, after the hype dies down and your follow-up articles fly under the radar, it can seem like you imagined the glorious experience — or simply had a one hit wonder.
As I wrote yesterday, I just polished up the draft of my pilot for a 1-hour drama, which has flavors of Glee, Gilmore Girls, and Greek (the three Gs, hah!). My mentor Budd agreed to read it and see whether one of his relevant friends can give me feedback. It’s the nicest thing anyone has ever offered to do for me, but because I’m in the habit of second guessing myself, I said I was worried I needed more guidance before showing my work to the right folks.
“I’m too green,” I went on. “I need to know more about this industry before taking the plunge and trying to pitch my show. I have a journalism background, not a TV one.”
“First of all, you’re not green anymore, so you ought to quit saying that,” Budd said. “You’re turning golden brown, like the colors of fall. Don’t call yourself ‘green.’ You’re very talented but use this ‘greenness’ talk as a crutch and excuse.”
That’s unfortunately the truth. In response to the possibility of failure, I tell myself I’m “green” so if things don’t work out, I can chalk it up to being the new kid in town. I may be new to the TV world, but I am not a beginning writer. I’ve been at this since 1995, when all I wanted to do was emulate Harriet the Spy, fill up diary after diary, create stories, and observe the people around me. I’ll never call myself an expert, but I’ve dedicated my whole life to this, and as terrifying as it is to have an adviser or agent critique my show, this is a risk I have to take. And to get there, I must stop saying I’m green. Because who wants to read the pilot of a girl that believes in her idea but not herself?