Like most writers (well, maybe most people), I like free stuff, and recently I have been getting newsletters from Script magazine, possibly because I use Writer’s Market online (see Script history here). Although I am interested in film, I have only written scripts for podcasts and for executive presentations at kickoff meetings, so I was surprised when I found myself reading (and enjoying) the articles about writing in this newsletter, which apply to writers in general and not just screenwriters. I’d like to share three in this post.
Day Job Procrastination
I have been working on a series of posts about the problems writers face if they have a “day job” in business, so I was especially interested in Jenna Avery’s article Get a New Story: Your Day Job Is Not Your Problem. I love the tone since I generally find this kind of article too gentle and pious, and Avery also gives very practical advice. See her challenges and solutions at the end of the article.
I fell into the overtime trap for several years (Challenge #2), and although I felt virtuous and loyal, it was a dead end. Yes, sometimes the problem is shiftless coworkers, but often it’s a sign that your department or the entire company is about to disappear.
At the company where I was virtuous and loyal, the COO once traveled around all the company offices talking about what a great future the company had. The day after he completed his last rah-rah speech, he resigned to take a job with another company. I still laugh hysterically when I think about this example of executive cynicism and kick myself for not following his example sooner.
Finally – Advice on How to Fail as a Writer
My favorite Script newsletter article is Dave Trottier’s Ask the Expert: 3 Keys to Failing as a Writer. I think it is one of the most inspiring and motivating pieces I have ever read, and I now read it every morning before I sit down to write. I won’t try to describe it for you, but here are my favorite lines:
- Failure comes to those who wait.
- Face your fears and back off.
- Remember, the road to Heaven is paved with a helluva lot of effort. You don’t need the pain.
Writers and Solitude
Another article that struck a chord with me, especially as a writer in business, was Karl Iglesias’ Habits of Successful Screenwriters: Be Comfortable with Solitude. I was just drafting a post the other day about how writers can be suckered into staying at a business job when they shouldn’t if they are allowed to work at home, so this article was especially relevant.
Most businesses demand “asses in seats” in cubicles for all non-managers, and don’t understand that many writers can’t work productively that way. I remember much of my business writing career as a constant battle for peace and quiet.