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Making A Commitment To Your Writing Career Sep 24

Making A Commitment To Your Writing Career

by Michele Wallerstein
Author of:
MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career

Are you willing to put yourself on the line?

Writing ain’t easy, and that’s a fact. Anyone who thinks you can simply sit down and write a good book or screenplay is living in the land of delusion. Writing is a learned craft. It takes time, energy, a willingness to devote yourself to something that may never pay off, diligence, ego and humility. Writing is a “calling” not a career or job. If you are a writer, you have very little choice about it. It’s something you simply have to do. You may find that you are financially unable to support yourself on your writing for a very long time. Most writers have a “real” job while they slave away at trying to get their writing career in gear. Does having a job make writing more difficult? Yes, of course it does. Does having a job make writing impossible? No, it doesn’t.

People often bandy about the word commitment, but do you really know what it means and what the cost will be? Probably not. The price of your being a writer is high, but try not to forget that the rewards are great. You will be fulfilling your destiny and hopefully, at some point, you will be making a good living while doing it.

The point of all of this rhetoric is to share with you that you will need to be resolute in your choice and unwavering in your actions. Not only will the cost be emotional but it will also be financial. Make your decision and go for it.

Be determined to write more than one book or script without selling it. Know that it takes time, practice and research to become good enough to eventually get paid for your work. Be amenable to moving on to the next project and the next one after that. Be willing to buy that new computer, go to those writing classes, seminars, conferences and pitch fests and the occasional Film Festival. Make the investment in meeting other writers.

Are you willing to spend the time?

Because this is not an overnight success type of career it will take you quite some time to become really good at your craft. It will also take you a good deal of time to break into your chosen field. It might take years to reach your goal. Once you accept this, you will be free to move ahead.

Don’t forget that you will need the support and understanding of loved ones in pursuing your endeavors. They may not be able to appreciate your desires but hopefully you will find a détente with them. Be patient with them and perhaps they will be patient with you.

Are you ready for the rewards?

As a screenwriter you will discover that success comes in all sorts of sizes and types. Success may be getting a job as a staff writer on a TV sit-com when you hoped to become a writer of major motion pictures. Success may be selling low or medium budget films with minor distribution. Success may be writing a great screenplay that is mis-cast and poorly directed. It’s a crazy business with lots of unpredictable results.

The good news is that you may get exactly what you want and even if it is a little off-kilter, it will be wonderful, exciting, rewarding. You will have beat the odds. You will have proven yourself. Writing is a terrifically stimulating and potentially thrilling career.

There are no half measures in your chosen craft. If you have the tenacity and talent, GO FOR IT!!


Michele Wallerstein is a Screenplay & Novel & Career Consultant and author of “MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career“.

Email: novelconsult@yahoo.com
Web site: www.novelconsultant.com

Copyright 2010 Michele Wallerstein. Not be used without written permission from Author.

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One Response
  1. rob tobin says:

    Michelle. Good article but, if anything, you soft-pedaled the challenges and overestimated the chances of being successful. In point of fact is it nearly impossible to make a living as a screenwriter or novelist. That may sound negative, but when you consider that maybe 300 or so films get made per year, most of them written by veterans, then consider how many hundreds of thousands of screenwriters there are, you have to conclude that the odds are not just long, they are overwhelming. If you’re not doing this for the enjoyment, you’re pretty much a fool, because the odds of making a living at it… well, we already discussed that, didn’t we? Still, good article, Michelle, even if it didn’t go far enough.

    Rob Tobin

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