The Reality of Self-Promotion

Is there anything more uncomfortable than talking about myself and sharing accomplishments? I can think of very few things that give me less anxiety. My family is one where we are taught to work hard and be quiet about it. I love that and I’ve clung to that value very dearly.

However, I’ve chosen a career path that has a public piece to it and it’s not a small or trivial piece. My biggest creative dreams are fueled by the desire to connect to an audience. If that were not true, I would write in secret and I would never share my work. I could do that but I choose not to. For me, a really important aspect of all this work is creating things that resonate and promote a sense of connectedness.

In order to find my audience, I have to share my work. I have to share some pieces of who I am. And I have to sell myself at some level. Ew. That’s my first reaction but I’m working to overcome that knee-jerk response. 

One thing that has really helped me goes back to the idea of service. Ava DuVernay gave a brilliant keynote address to open SXSW a few years ago that I keep coming back to. She talked about feeling overwhelmed when Selma came into her life and that her only way forward was to serve the story. I find solace in that when I’m fighting the need to self-promote.

I really, truly wholeheartedly believe that the characters in my most recent screenplay deserve to be seen and celebrated. I could never live with myself if I stood in their way. I want to be their ally and their advocate so I find it easier to step out of my comfort zone when it’s in service of that story. 

For the first time ever, I am finding the courage to step into the world of pitching. I have always run screaming from the idea of pitching a movie idea but I am learning to embrace it. I want to serve the work and feel so strongly that the story deserves to be made into a movie that I am willing to do something I never thought I would do.

I still struggle with consistency but I am trying to get back on track. Social media outreach and talking about myself and my work is still uncomfortable. However, I also understand what I have chosen. I am trying to find a way to enjoy this aspect. By nature I am an introvert so all of this tends to feel like a drain. I fill myself back up by writing—it’s my solitary time where I can be with the people whose stories I get to tell.

I’m not sure what I wish for here. Do I wish for self-promotion to get easier or do I wish for stories that compel me to courageously embrace self-promotion? I think I wish for some combination of the two. Here’s to consistent posting and the willingness to share what is happening in my world!