Writers often feel powerless in the face of pursuing their goals. They feel helpless in the face of a business they perceive to be difficult to enter and succeed. We fight off overwhelming feelings of confusion when developing our stories. It becomes frustrating to write our scripts and find an audience for our work. The pursuit of professional writing becomes so discouraging it eventually causes writers to stop writing for movies and television without knowing why they ever quit.
But the truth is writers are the most powerful people in the industry, yet we often forget why.
I often forget I can write whatever I want. I simply do not have to write anything I don’t find emotionally compelling to me. My stories need to make me feel empowered, inspired and thrilled. I do not have to write in any way simply because I might believe there is no market for a particular idea, no one will care or there will be little audience for it.
I choose the ideas I want to write. This is the only way to succeed. You have to love what you write and be passionate about the stories you want to tell. If you’re not choosing your own stories in a completely committed way, you will never see it through and ultimately your audience won’t commit to what you’ve created.
You have total power over what story you will write, and most importantly, how wonderful it will be.
This is Our Dream
Professional or otherwise, writers face the daily task of managing the time they need to write. Every successful writer makes a decision to make writing important to their day. We have great power over whether writing will matter to us. We decide if the production of our scripts merit our time.
Writers often forget it’s their choice whether writing will matters. They might believe outside forces prevent them from writing, but every working writer took the time to write when it counted.
How important is writing to you? What choice will you make today?
We can change everything
One thing writers forget when they feel stuck and discouraged is the power to rewrite. We have the power over how many times we can rewrite our scripts. How many times we want to change a scene. We can add characters or remove them. We can move locations. We can cut 12 pages. We can write another draft.
Don’t feel awful over where you stand today with your script, your process, or your career. Pick up your script and exercise your total power over changing it. Develop your script. Be humble. Make revisions. Start a scene over. Exercise your strengths.
The script is your key to success and you are its ruler. Roll up your sleeves and act like the boss of your work.
The Response Today
I often feel a victim of what people say about my work. I receive feedback and it discourages me. I get angry and don’t know what’s next. I wonder if the project is worth finishing or why I keep getting the same feedback. Why won’t they read my work? Why don’t they email me back?
I need to remember I control what kind of notes I receive. I’m the one who calls them good or bad. I’m the one who decides if they are worthless or not. They didn’t arrive that way.
Successful writers learn how to respond to their audiences in a constructive way. We have the ability to respond to the world’s reaction to what we create in any way we see fit.
The choices I make today when the world reads what I wrote affects what I write tomorrow. You are the only one who decides when feedback works or if you stop working because of feedback.
The most common question I get asked is how do I get my work to the industry. Listen, this is the greatest power a writer has. A writer can make anyone in the industry do anything with what they write. It’s that simple. If you write something amazing, everyone will line up to produce it and work with you. I have personally had this happen more than once and all professional writers had the same experience: they wrote something and what they wrote forced people around them to do what they want. Get signed by an agent, get paid for a script, get hired on a writing staff, get produced—–all of it comes from what you write. You have all the power in Hollywood. If you write something special, you can make anyone in town say yes. It’s that simple.
Why don’t we remember this? Why do we think there are mysterious forces keeping us from unlocking the gates? You are the gate keeper. You own the gates with what you write. Yes, you do have the power to not write, to resent feedback, to blame Hollywood for being unfair. But the greatest power you have is what you love to do—-write an incredible story. Writing fantastic, original, dramatic, hilarious stories is our dream and if we follow this dream, we create the freedom to do what we’ve always wanted to do, and our audiences wait for us to do our jobs.
So let’s remember our charge and get to work.