As writers, it takes focus in order to achieve our creative goals. Writing is only one part of the process. A career in screenwriting requires the ability to present ourselves as a business. We prepare a product, market it, advertise ourselves, and seek new opportunities for growth. Learn how to take control of your creativity and make it work for you.
Setting goals serves the same function as outlining a script. You do it knowing that things will change. The outline guides you through the conflict leading up to your overall objective.
You are a story – a living history. You write your actions. Your choices are a marker of the life you want to lead. And I know we’re getting deep and all, but I believe it’s important to recognize what we want and take ourselves seriously.
Choose good ideas
What is a “good” idea anyway? A good idea gets you writing. The more you write, the more you can fine tune what works for you and what doesn’t.
It’s important to look at the market, to see what’s buying and selling, and to be aware of other successful writers. As a smart business person, do this, and do it often.
As a creative, follow your gut. See where the business side and the personal side line up.
Writing expands your creativity. Be a writer who writes instead of a writer who thinks about writing. Consistency creates a strong career.
It’s always easier said than done. There’s every excuse in the world NOT to write: work, long hours, family obligations, feeling overwhelmed, writer’s block, anxiety, washing your hair, a significant other eating up your free time… we could go on and on.
Use specific goals to motivate and drive you into action.
I would be surprised if any of us had a stunning, award winning first draft. Hey! It’s possible. Probability suggests that you might just need to keep at it.
Get in there. Edit. Kill your darlings. As Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” What separates the amateurs from the pros is rewriting.
Mix and mingle! It’s hard to put yourself out there. At least, it is for me. Networking can feel like this giant overwhelming task. That’s why I always adjust my attitude and go full steam ahead.
You don’t “have” to network. You “want” to network. Think about all the benefits, and go in with a good attitude. Connect with new people, learn how to conduct yourself professionally, and make lasting relationships.
Learn the basics and know that authentic relationships take time to develop.
Join organizations & communities
Create a support system to help see your goals through. Surround yourself with inspiration.
Talk to people with similar dreams. Go to panels with renowned speakers. See movies at film festivals. Network at a mixer. There are so many options. All you have to do is pick one to start.
The best communities I’ve participated in this year were…
- Young Storytellers: a volunteer program to help children write scripts
- JHRTS: an industry organization providing panels, mixers, volunteer events and more
- WOS Writer’s Workshop: a 6-person group workshopping full scripts
Know how to talk about yourself and your work.
It’s like food – everyone likes food. Imagine trying out a new restaurant and you find their entrees look like a combination of bile and excrement. The chef 100% vouches that everything tastes amazing, and maybe it does, but you can’t stomach the presentation.
Apply that metaphor to the packaged presentation of you and your writing.
Presentation is how you convey that both you and your writing are professional, unique, and worth someone else’s time.
Do not underestimate Hollywood, which is, unfortunately, very much surface level enticement. Being something of substance in this environment is hard. Knowing how to package yourself for the “sell” can take you that extra step.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CREATIVITY NOW!