But I'm not just an actress; I'm also a writer! That's a lifetime of constantly wondering, "Am I really any good at this?"
I was at a self-tape studio a few weeks ago and the owner asked how I knew my friend who referred me to him. "Oh, I met her in an acting class years ago, and after class ended that night, I went up to her and said 'I want to be as good as you are!' and instead of being creeped out, she was flattered! We've been friends ever since!"
He nodded, "You ARE as good as she is."
Whoa. Cause, she's really, really good. "Thank you!" I said.
He continued, "Where you are now; you know the craft. You know it. You now have to no longer think of yourself as an actress, but as an artist. You're an artist."
I inhaled as deeply as I could. "I will never, ever forget that," I told him, tears welling. Validation!
Why did I feel like I couldn't? Why did I feel like I still mostly didn't know what I was doing? That I wasn't "really" a writer? I was 13 with my first writing gig as a columnist for our city-wide teen newspaper. I've been writing for years!
Where did my confidence go? Why did it go anywhere? Why did my struggles with one career bleed into the other?
But I wrote a book. And refined it. And made it better. Switched some things around, added more, added more, refined.
And I thought....you know what? I think this is GOOD. And if there was ever a time to fucking try something, then it was to see just what would happen if I sent it out to publishers. And that meant learning how to write a query letter, and learning how to create a book proposal. Which I did. (Thanks Studio City Library!)
But like I said, I thought my book was GOOD.
So off my queries went, into the electronic world of 0s and 1s, knowing full well I was going to focus on other things, and then figure out how to format my manuscript for self-publishing on Amazon a few months later.
And then, craziness:
Fifty percent of the publishers I submitted to said, "You're right. This IS GOOD. We know it will make us money."
I called my husband and read him the email from the first publisher saying they wanted to publish it. I choked up and cried.
May your hearts all feel as full as mine right now.