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Archive for the Category "Motivation"

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“.

Web site:

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

How To Be Creative May 12

How to be creative

I was going through some of my old emails the other day and found one with the subject line: “I’d like my crayons back, please.”

It was an excerpt from an article entitled, “how to be creative,” by Hugh MacLeod, that offers 30 great tips and insights for us creative types.

Here are some of my favorites:

3. Put the hours in.
Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.


6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back, please.”


9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.
You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.


13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.
The more you practice your craft, the less you confuse worldly rewards with spiritual rewards, and vice versa. Even if your path never makes any money or furthers your career, that’s still worth a TON.


25. You have to find your own schtick.
A Picasso always looks like Piccasso painted it. Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway. A Beethoven Symphony always sounds like a Beethoven’s Symphony. Part of being a master is learning how to sing in nobody else’s voice but your own.


29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

Selling out to Hollywood comes with a price. So does not selling out. Either way, you pay in full, and yes, it invariably hurts like hell.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.
If you have the creative urge, it isn’t going to go away. But sometimes it takes a while before you accept the fact.

You can read the complete list here, along with links to more in depth explorations of each tip.

Which one resonates the most with you?

Category: Creativity, Motivation  | 3 Comments
If at first you don’t succeed… May 03

Here’s a little inspiration for all those writers out there who have had creative work rejected. Neatorama has put together a list of famous books that were first rejected by publishers.

Here’s an excerpt:

Gone With the Wind – one of the most enduring novels and movies of all time, of course. There aren’t too many people who haven’t heard the phrase, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” But it was 38 publishers who didn’t give a damn originally. When Margaret Mitchell finally found a publisher in Macmillan (Macmillan also published White Fang and Call of the Wild), the book sold in stores for $3 apiece – quite a sum for 1936. Even at this rather high price point, the book sold more than one million copies by the end of the year. It won the Pulitzer Prize the following year, and of course became an Academy Award-winning film in 1939.

It just goes to show you, if you’ve got a good story, keep pushing. Eventually you’ll find a buyer.

For the complete list, go here.

Category: Motivation, Off Topic  | 2 Comments
Originality in Storytelling vs. Artwork Mar 29

About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.
– Josh Billings

Glart and OtokThe Year is 30,000 B.C.

Otok and Glart have returned from a successful hunting trip (i.e. they didn’t catch anything, but both survived).

Otok, captivates his fellow cavemen by retelling the story of the hunt… with certain embellishments to minimize Glart’s role in the heroics.

Glart, gets back at Otok by painting representations of the hunt on a cave wall. He makes his stick man twice as tall as Otok’s.

Later that night Otok sneaks into Glart’s cave with a club and bad intentions. Glart, who it turns out actually is freakishly large, overpowers and mortally wounds Otok.

As Otok lies dying, he uses his powers of language to spin a convincing tale of Glart’s treachery. On the day Otok is buried, Glart is fed to a saber-toothed tiger as punishment for his crime.

Since that day, the war between artwork and storytelling has been raging.

Unfortunately for us screenwriters, on the battle front for originality, artwork appears to be winning.

They’re making Godzilla again? Now they’re recycling their own recycled regurgitations! Just like the burst housing bubble, this one’s going to blow. Only a matter of time before the snake realizes it’s eating itself. Or does the youth market always forgive?
– Anonymous Scriptwrecked reader


As screenwriting descendants of Otok, we’ve all heard the mantra that, “there are no more original stories.” Well I’m not buying it! The art world certainly doesn’t adopt that philosophy.

In the last few months alone, take a look below at some original works of art that have been produced, 32,000 years after Glart first scrawled on a cave wall.

May they inspire you in your storytelling endeavors when you search for your own original idea. Because if they can do it, so can we!

Aggravure by Baptiste Debombourg

Aggravure by Baptiste Debombourg

Click the photo or link to see more pics, and closeups. You’ll never guess what this masterwork was created with.


Egg Art Master Franc Grom sells egg artwork by creating approximately 2500 to 3500 holes in each egg shell.

Egg Art Master Franc Grom

This guy makes beautiful artwork from eggs by creating approximately 2500 to 3500 holes in each shell! Click the photo or link for more pictures.


Jimi Hendrix by Erika Simmons

Jimi Hendrix by Erika Simmons

This artist has created some highly original works of art out of cassette tape. Worth clicking the photo or this link to see more examples.


Muhammad Ali and Bob Marley by Mark Evans

Muhammad Ali and Bob Marley by Mark Evans

Click the photo or link to see more of Mark Evans’ amazing work. Can you guess what medium he uses?

Who says there are no more original ideas out there? If artists are still coming up with new ways to make artwork after 32,000 years, we screenwriters have lots of time left to explore exciting new stories and possibilities.

“The greatest trick Glart ever pulled was convincing the followers of Otok that there were no more original story ideas.”
– Verbal Otok

Dig deep and find your original idea or vision. I know it’s in there. I believe cinematic originality is about to make a resurgence in Hollywood… Riiight after I sell my screenplay adaptation of Tick Tack Toe. 😉

Do you think originality is dead in Hollywood or is it ready to thrive once again? Any non-film sources inspire you?

Want me to personally read your script and let you know if it’s ready to go out? Please take a look at my professional script services.

Category: Links, Motivation  | 2 Comments
Making Time Mar 11

You will never find time for anything, you must make it. ~ Charles Buxton

This photo comes courtesy of my mom’s blog Proverbial Beauty. Despite her very busy schedule, she finds a way to post one of her marvelous pictures, complete with an appropriately thought-provoking quote, every single day.

As a writer, I am particularly inspired by today’s quote (and my mom’s work ethic — go mom!).

How about you? Are you making the time to write?

Category: Links, Motivation, Writing  | One Comment