Form letter motivation.

“Every rejection is incremental payment on your dues

that in some way will be translated back into your work.”

James Lee Burke

“Everything is a rejection of you, not your product,

or your script, or a cosmetic. It’s you.”

Morgan Brittany

“I submit all my plays to the National Theatre for rejection.

To assure myself I am seeing clearly.”

Howard Barker

     On Sunday, June 5, I got my first rejection letter (email) in what is probably close to, or possibly exceeding, 3 years.  I think the last rejection letter I got was from a low C-level movie production company that I’d sent a really horrible movie treatment to.  I was 16 and quite retarded.  To be clear, I’ve never had an acceptance letter – so this isn’t the end of some amazing three-year streak for me or anything.  I just haven’t submitted anything to anyone in 3 years.

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I’m in a mood…


A little about me to start us off:

– I hate writing, but I love having written.

– I call myself a writer, but in reality I won’t consider myself a writer until something I’ve written is either published or produced.

– I like coffee, but I have a bad habit of drinking it close to midnight, and not eating anything subsequently, which usually makes me feel weak and energetic at the same time.

– I’ve been writing since I was ten years old.

– My sister is my hero.  I began writing because she was writing and I wanted to be like her.  Still do.

– I’m mostly a very nice guy.  Please understand that this is unintentional.  See next point.

– I grew up in the midwest.  Born in Ohio, moved to Michigan when I was five, moved to West Virginia when I was ten, and then moved back and forth between those states about twice a year for the next 9 years of my life.

– Growing up a midwest boy, I learned to treat others as you want to be treated.  Truth is, we all just want respect – it’s hard to earn my respect, but not my friendship.  As one of eight children, I learned how to solve my problems with people by my mid-teen years: you recognize their faults and you simply ignore them.  Their faults, that is, not the people.  My parents homeschooled me, for which I owe them greatly.  The only downside of homeschooling is that of a lacking social life.  When I finally got “out into the world,” at age 17 when I got my first job, I learned a few things about people in general.  Most important is that nobody likes the person who talks more than they listen.  If you want to be a friend to someone, ask them about their life.  Every day, ask them who they are and listen.

– When I was 15, I became interested in film as a craft and as a career.  Directing in particular, but also writing and producing.  I’ve been on some sets, learned a lot, written some scripts, and watched a ridiculous amount of movies.

– I set foot on my first feature film set when I was 19.  My friend Calix Lewis Reneau called me from Los Angeles and invited me to come stay on his couch and work on his film, Canyon Road, a thriller in the style of Buried and Open Water.  So began my life in Los Angeles.  I came out here, worked on the film as Calix’s personal assistant among other things, and by the end of the shoot, asked if I could sleep in his car.  He said yes, and I can’t thank him enough.

– I’m recently reentering the arena of novel-writing.  I hadn’t worked seriously at writing anything but screenplays for at least two years, but in the past two weeks I’ve written a few short stories, and it feels incredible to be back in the world of literary fiction.

– I’m very fickle and at least as honest, so I frequently tell people about scripts or books that I’m writing that I wind up leaving for another work two or three weeks down the road.  I also have a random desire to join the US Marine Corps, but for the most part that comes only when I’m unemployed.  I’m particularly horrible at finding a day job.


Coffee Shop Daily is an idea I had some months ago.  In essence, it’s a blog about writing – nothing particularly original there.  But I want to include guest bloggers frequently and keep a lively beat here.  I want this to be more of a hang-out than a life-story.  I know I just spent nearly my entire first post talking about myself, but now that the handshakes are out of the way (I really don’t need to know about you), we can sit down for a cup of coffee.  That sounds cheesy, but this is a first post – you’ve got to have a little cheese.

Oh, and my favorite movie is The Godfather and my favorite book is The Road.

Michael Traven