Hey, if you’re feeling a bit bleak about your screenwriting journey lately then you need to read this. We all get a little down and this climb up the mountain can seem futile and pointless at times. I myself am going through my own doubt and paranoia despite my recent success stories and having actually gotten an assignment and made a movie. It’s amazing how quick the pessimism can creep back in when things slow down.
So, let’s do something about that. Let’s remind ourselves why we write screenplays and rediscover that motivation we need to not only continue our journey but enjoy every step.
Writing Is Therapy
We find ourselves writing for a reason and that reason is art. What is art? Art is the expression of profound truths by those who possess high emotional intelligence but live in a society that fears uninhibited honesty. Art is the solitary place we go to where we’re free to express what we need to share in a medium that can connect us with those who feel the same. Not only do we communicate what we need to say through our art but we get to discover our tribe through it too. That’s good for us and good for others and ultimately an incredible thing we humans engage in as we use story to entertain, educate, and stimulate our fellow humans. We self actualise from writing, help others grow, and ultimate help define a more wholesome social culture for the generations to come. That’s amazing. What we do is amazing.
We Have No Barrier to Entry to Fear
While we have a pen and paper, we are boundless in our opportunity to channel the wild and abstract in our imaginations into hard copy that can be made abundant and consumed by all. Admittedly we need a typewriter, or preferably a computer, to distill things into a screenplay but times couldn’t be any better. The technology is cheap, the software free, the resources abundant, and the networking at our doorstep. Time is our only commodity and fear is our only hurdle. This is a craft so pure it transcends any need for qualification and begs nothing of us other than the dedication to take in the world and the bravery to delve into ourselves. There is no permit to register for, no license to attain, nor any certificate validate our worthiness, just the commitment needed to pledge our dedication to the art form.
Our Individual Voice Is Incredibly Valuable
Where other roles value conformity ours begs individuality. Our unique voice is of immense worth to ourselves, our clients, and our audience. We all discover our own truths while we walk our own journey and reflect on our experiences. This is a world where diversity is not only an asset but the very foundation of our offering. This is a world where weird is wonderful, where geeky is glorious, and censored sensational. The more awkward a piece we may be in life’s big jigsaw the more fascinating a person we are in humanity’s great puzzle – our clumsy extremities and difficult notches becoming our complex beauty and unwavering authenticity. We all have a tapestry to weave with our words where each tale flowing into the next will form a portfolio we can step back from confident it represents us and the legacy we want to leave.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Competition
We all get to decide if it’s the awards that matter deeply to us or if it’s simply the act of writing, and yes we can chose to care about both in moderation. If we are fulfilling our need to write then we are already winning since we are doing what so many fail to start continue with. Providing we accept that we live in a subjective world, we do not have to see our fellow writers as competitors. We cannot force people to love our creations and, when it comes to commerciality, it may be other writers who find themselves in the right time and right place with their values, tone, and voice. That does not mean they are better artists, just that they are better aligned with today’s marketplace and, in fact, we may find appreciation later in life. We can be thankful we’re writing in a time when it’s so easy to share our work online.
This Is One of the Most Fun Jobs in the World
When we get this right, it’s everything not to have to stop and pinch ourselves to make sure it’s not a dream. Screenwriting can be and should be incredible fun as we open the floodgates of our imagination and take part in adventure after adventure. We get to sit front row with our protagonists, we get to feel every character’s emotions, we get to ride along through the action, and we get to slay the dragon by the hero’s side. Plus, if we do manage to turn our hobby into a career, we get the bonus of getting paid for the privilege and watching a group of talented creatives take our words and turn them into reality so others can experience what goes on in our heads every day. Not everyone is blessed with a visual imagination and even fewer have a highly visual one. What an incredible role in life to fill; to be one of the dreamers.
So, hopefully this blog will serve as a reminder of just how much reward and opportunity screenwriting offers to us not only toward the end of the journey but right from day one. If you you’re thinking of taking up the craft but unsure, let these be the reasons to jump right in. If you’re years into this and feeling exhausted, let these be the reasons to continue.