Seeing one’s work produced, presented, or otherwise made available to an audience invokes a special feeling of honor and joy. I have been fortunate to experience both on many occasions, thanks to my works for stage, screen, and print.

If you, too, have known that good fortune, be thankful and circumspect—we both know that the business is not entirely a meritocracy. And if you haven’t (yet), keep working, hone your skills, create from your heart and soul, and never give up.

And don’t ever pronounce yourself a failure. The world is full of people who are chomping at the bit to do it for you. You need a strong middle finger to mount a defense.