Transmissions from a debut author #4: Goalposts

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about moving goalposts. How the human brain has this awful tendency these days to do this over and over and over in life, if we aren’t careful and aware. I feel it in writing often, but it’s also something I see elsewhere in life—you get the job you want, but then you want something more—more money, more prestige, more more more more more. The mores can fucking eat you alive if you let them. If you live your life in them, they will tell you that NOTHING you do is ever good enough.

It’s funny. A year ago, I had just gotten signed with my agent after spending 3 months working on an extensive R&R on my book. I was SO proud of myself. I was excited to go on submission, excited that I had accomplished so much already.

And then, as soon as we did go on submission, my brain was like this: IF YOU DONT SELL YOUR BOOK YOU ARE A FAILURE. No longer was it great that I got an agent, that I had accomplished this THING that I’d worked for for so long.


It was about the next thing.


And then we sold my book.

And now it’s about the next thing again. The unknowns. The “what’s going to happen in marketing & PR?” The “look at this other book, look at what IT is getting that mine isn’t - why didnt you write THAT BOOK, Liz?!!!?” (Why didn’t I write that book. Why didn’t I time this better. Why didn’t I do more more more more more MORE)

Keep moving goalposts and you’ll suddenly be so far down the line that you won’t even be able to see where you started. Won’t be able to see how much you’ve already accomplished. Won’t be able to celebrate anything as it happens, because your brain is already gone.

Remember when you finished writing your first book? Or even the first chapter of your first book? Remember that FEELING—the amazement that you did this thing. You wrote something. You created something out of nothing. You did that.

And you did this - whatever it is. You TRIED. That’s more than a lot of people can say. You went for your dream, and you TRIED, god dammit. And that is something to celebrate, no matter where in your journey you are. Celebrate what you’ve done; celebrate what is right in front of you.

Because the mores will eat you alive.

Liz Lawson

Over 7 years in the music industry, Liz has worked as a music journalist (Paste Magazine, Tiny Mix Tapes), a music publicist (Orange Twin Records, former home of Neutral Milk Hotel), and now a music supervisor. She started her career working for illustrious music sup's Gary Calamar and Alyson Vidoli, assisting on shows like True Blood, Dexter, and House, and moved on to learn as a music coordinator under Carrie Hughes (The Hills), where she worked on several shows under the Viacom blanket (MTV, CMT, VH1). Never one to rest of her laurels, she managed to scored her own show (Black Ink Crew, VH1) several months later, and soon found a home music sup'ing that show and multiple indie films, including "May the Best Man Win" which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2014 and was directed and written by Andrew O'Connor of Peep Show fame. She's currently branding her business as Vinyl Rules Music Supervision, and is currently music sup'ing Black Ink Crew and well as two indie films: A Light Beneath Their Feet, starring Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black) and Madison Davenport, (Noah). Zen Dog, starring Kyle Gallner (the upcoming Clint Eastwood picture American Sniper, Veronica Mars) and Clea DuVall (Girl, Interrupted, Argo).