Going into the new year with a resolution seems great until the following December when you watch your dreams die during the final countdown, embracing failure like an old friend and crying into a vodka martini. Let’s do it differently this year! Infuse this year with strategy and intention. Your screenwriting goals deserve the best you can give them. Start by reflecting on what you’ve done, what you can do, and then take action!
Treat Yourself Like a Business
As writers, it’s easy to let ego get in the way. But how cruel is it to let your self-esteem fuel the fire? Extremely. It means that the moment you get crummy notes, hit a roadblock in your screenplay, or feel unmotivated, there’s that voice in the back of your head telling you to quit. So maybe you get frustrated and stop until you get a spark to start again.
Imagine running a business this way. Working only when you feel like it, waiting for creative genius to take hold and make you money, twiddling your thumbs while days… Your business would fail.
When you set aside time to write, create a writing schedule, or implement a new routine, take it seriously. I know you can! And you know what? You want to. Kick fear or doubt to the curb and just DO. You’ve probably heard it a million times: action cures fear.
Take Yourself Seriously
The real world has deadlines.
Sure, you’re writing on spec now – so yes, for free – but the goal is to be a working, paid writer. It’s easier to procrastinate when you create your own deadlines.
Right now, you are your own agent. Expect that next draft within the next six months and then hustle!
Create good, healthy writing habits. Everyone carves their path differently and has a separate journey, but there are industry standards, which are important to know. Learn the average time it takes to write a script for TV or features, depending on your interest. Know the rules before you break them, especially since it’s easy for new writers to ignore to their detriment; what ends up happening is that they lose momentum and interest not only from the industry but from their own representation after failing to deliver more work.
So much can be up in the air that it’s important for you to nail your end of the bargain. Write and educate yourself every day!
Write Out Your Goals
Lay out your aspirations for the year, so that you can see it. Once you know what you’re working towards, setting up a plan of action becomes easier.
The first step is always the writing. Once you’ve completed your script, think about other goals like completing revisions, submitting to contests, seeking representation, making it yourself, etc… you dream it dreamer. Know what you want and take it.
While you’re writing, don’t be afraid to network and build up your community. Be actively engaged in what you want to do.
Ask Yourself the Hard Questions
Are you working as hard as you could be? Do you know what you want out of this? Are you afraid of failure? Are you ready to commit to 100%? Is anything holding you back?
Be in touch with what you’re thinking and feeling. Be aware of it, so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. I know firsthand what it feels like to dig a cesspit of uncertainty, sit down and cradle yourself into immobilizing despair. It’s a tremendous charade taking place entirely in your head, but very effective at ruining your work ethic. Acknowledge your fears, but remember your ambition and move forward.
Follow Through on Your 2019 Screenwriting Goals
If this is serious to you, if you want it badly enough, if you respect the goals you’ve made for yourself, then show up to the page. Make writing a routine. Look at your goals and keep yourself on track.
No one can do it for you. You have to do it for yourself. That’s why you’re thinking about your 2019 screenwriting goals.
Luck is being prepared for when opportunity presents itself. So this year, do everything you can to be prepared. Make a list of what you need to do in order to take the next step in your career as a screenwriter.