04 January, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's traditional on a new year's begining to look back on the past year and what we achieved, think about what we want in the forthcoming year and make the appropriate plans to get it.

Is it just me or are new writers getting disillusioned? Is writing professionally now seen as a pipe dream just as the demand for scripts is at its highest?
Is it possible to write for the fun and sheer enjoyment of it and to learn your craft and not worry about the potential lows of rejection or the highs of acceptance?

After a rejection you might wonder if the hour or so a day spent writing is probably better spent reading to your kids or doing drugs. Most writers deal with that rejection by rushing through the writing process as quickly as possible so that when they get a standard rejection letter it won't hurt as much as they didn't waste too much time. Although of course those writers tend to get burnt out and give up as they don't progress much with that strategy.

Some writers take a bit more time creating and get much further along the route to success but, while feedback from networks and production companies and meeting invites are potentially good for your career, it's still, at heart, a rejection and you still need to find the motivation to start from scratch with a new script.

The paradox is, of course, that if we were accepted that we would have to start a new script - if not scripts - anyway. While commission fees are a useful motivator, trying to write as little as possible to get a career where you have to write a lot does seem odd. The more you write the better you get. So what if your script doesn't see the light of day and you don't get to meet the fantasy cast you imagined playing the characters. If you keep going somewhere down the line a script will get produced.

Looking back at 2005, which may not have been successful, it's an idea to re-evaluate our methods and how we work and what we know. To quote Anthony Robbins (the Shallow Hal life coach dude), “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten”.

Another Robbins quote comes to mind, "You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.”


Jason said...

This is an interesting post. Myself and other wannabe writers I know of have become quite disillusioned this year, in my case partly because I've had to choose to spend time on studying for a medical degree which is rather more likely to provide me with employment than the 'pipe dream' of writing.

Robin Kelly said...

A BBC script editor once told me that the vast majority of writers have another job. I actually resented this dose of realism as an idealistic youngster but now don't think it's anything to be afraid of.

I think it's possible to pursue two careers at the same time but it's OK if all you do for your writing career is write down a story idea or write a paragraph about an intriguing character until you have the time and inclination to progress it further.

Many writers find inspiration in their day-jobs like Dr. Jed Mercurio, providing us with the TV classics of Cardiac Arrest and Bodies.