I know nothing. I want to get that out front so that there's no illusions. I don't know the short cut. I don't know the secret handshake. I don't have friendly puppeteers in high places pulling strings for me. I think a lot of folks who want to get into the arts think that talent is the thing that determines success. A quick look at the slate of TV shows and feature films that come out every year will tell you that's ridiculous. Not only are most of them complete crap but a significant number were made by people who KNEW IN ADVANCE that they were complete crap and just wanted to part us from our pocket money. So. Talent, alone, is not it. NOT IT. It's just one card in the deck and it's not the ace. Sorry. Forget about that. Lock it in a box, weld the box shut, bury it and salt the freaking earth over the grave. Talent alone don't mean diddly. How about beauty or sex appeal? For performers, yes, that's a big plus and, at parties, that can certainly go a long way to getting a step or two farther on the writer track too. However, while performers can go for years, even decades on a fuel of Sexy, at some point, even the most achingly beautiful or pulse-quickeningly hot writer must sit down and actually write. If the scribbling sucks after that, you can be sexy at parties all you like. No one will pay you to write. So. Beauty, alone, not the deal closer either. Connections? Sure. Helpful; If you're Gwenyth Paltrow you'd be a moron if you didn't at least try your hand at the craft in which nearly everyone you and your parents know is engaged. However, if you suck after all those doors have been opened, you still go back on the slush pile. And, again, your relative Paltrow-ness will not sell your book for you (with the single caveat of your already being a star). So what does that leave? Work. Yeah, that's right. Four letters, really unpleasant. Work. Hard ass, boring ass, tedious ass, thankless ass work. Reading. Writing. Failing. Starting over. Over and over. Sucking it up and doing it again. I know I harp on this and I'm sorry. Be thankful you don't know me in person because it would likely get really old really fast. I'm sorry. I wish we could all be Lana Turner sitting at the Schwab's counter. I wish we could all have our Paltrow-ness genetically encoded along with the box of silver spoons. I wish talent was the beginning and the end of the story and I wish it was the middle too. But it's not. It just is not and there's no use pretending otherwise. Writers write. They don't talk about it. Well. Okay, they do talk about it but it's not just talk, if you get what I mean. The ratio of talk to scribbling is pretty low at the end of the day. And, if it's not, you're either Harlan Ellison or Stephen King. I'm betting you're not. I'm not. Nobody I know is. So maybe, just maybe, stop sitting in the coffee shop dissecting Spinoza or regaling your crew with your new theory to explain the disappearing murderer from Macbeth. Maybe, just maybe, you should do as we all do, us mortals, us non-Paltrows. Maybe you should actually write something. Several somethings. Sit your ass down and write.