This is a bit of a belated New Year post but it’s still January, so I think it’s fair game.
But where you’re writing is concerned, there are plenty of small things you can do to become a better writer in 2014. (And they are totally achievable!)
We wrote a similar article last year (How to Become a Better Writer in 2013). Consider this article an update on that.
So forget all those other resolutions you made. Losing weight. Gaining muscle. Finally quitting Candy Crush…
Pick an item from this list (or every item), and become a better writer in 2014.
1) read more
Read more scripts. Read more books. Read more everything.
We’ve talked about it before on this blog, but it’s worth mentioning again: If you live in Los Angeles, go to the WGA Library.
Chelsea and I spent dozens of hours there in 2013. All that reading helped us understand the writing behind our favorite TV shows and movies, and that new understanding was evident in each project we wrote.
This year, we’re focusing on upping the amount of novels we read. I’ll tweet about each one, and you can join the conversation after time I ask a stupid question that makes no sense.
So if you aren’t already following us on twitter, do it now!
2) write short pieces
That can be creatively frustrating. Outlining is important, but it’s not nearly as fun writing pages.
That’s where short films, web series, and sketches were our savior in 2013.
Whenever Chelsea and I were outlining one project, we made sure to spend at least an hour or so writing shorter pieces each day.
We tossed a lot of those pieces out, but a lot of them turned out pretty well, and a number five or six were produced in 2013.
So embrace short-form writing. It will sustain you through those dry outlining days.
3) Join Twitter
This is especially true for comedy writers, but does not apply exclusively to them.
Twitter will help you understand how to write with concision, it’s a great networking tool, and it’s even kind of fun.
4) Be Confident
If you want to break into screenwriting, you will probably need to get in someone’s good graces. Someone you meet, somewhere, is going to believe in you.
More than likely, several people will have believe in you in order for you to get your foot in the door.
And nothing inspires confidence in others like having confidence in yourself.
We’re not saying you should be cocky or arrogant. Definitely not.
We’re just saying… Be sure of who you are and what you can do, and don’t be afraid to tell people that.
And for goodness sake… Don’t be self deprecating!
5) Have Better Conversations
In 2014, it’s time to get over that awkwardness!
The trick to being a good conversationalist is to ask lots of questions, listen to the answers, and let that guide you.
Fortunately, that’s also the trick to finding out really interesting stuff about people you know (or even those that you’re just meeting for the first time).
Good writing is rich with detail. Good conversations should be too.
The more you learn about the people around you, the more you’ll have to draw from in 2014.
Here’s how seriously Chelsea and I are going to take this resoultion…
Every week in 2014, we’re going to find someone on Craigslist and pay him or her twenty bucks to allow them us to interview them.
Who knows what those conversations will bring, but I bet they’ll be interesting, and maybe we’ll even make a friend or two along the way.
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