But there are plenty of successful screenwriters. They all start out as just another nameless amateur face in the crowd. But they rise above, thanks in large part to the techniques and habits outlined below.
1. Learn Everything They Can
What you can do: Check the TV/Film/Video section of Craigslist and volunteer on a local production. Better yet – produce a piece of your own writing.
2. Constantly Re-Evaluate Themselves as Writers
This is the number one thing you can do to maximize your chances at success in screenwriting.
What you can do: Instead of re-evaluating each of your scripts after they are written, use every new project as an opportunity to evaluate your process overall. You can grow as a writer, so do it now.
What you can do: If you’re in LA, spend as much time as humanly possible in the Writer’s Guild Library. Chelsea and I spent about 40 hours there last week, and it didn’t feel like nearly enough time. If you aren’t local, read screenplays online, or plan a visit to LA just to check out the library. It’s worth it.
4. Value Your Work
What you can do: Listen to your gut. Don’t over extend yourself. Don’t undervalue your work. Don’t promise your work away for free. It’s that simple.
5. Find People Who Are Better Than You
What you can do: Join a local theater group or writing group. Find better, more experienced writers and learn from them.
6. Stay Positive
What you can do: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or insecure, just write. It’s the perfect and most productive procrastination.
7. Set Achievable Goals
What you can do: Whenever you finish writing for the day, write a to-do list for your next writing session. Set goals. Stay focused. Meet them.
8. Celebrate Small Successes
As long as you’re making progress from one script to the next, your time is not being wasted. But remember: When you stop trying to learn, you’re in dangerous territory.
What you can do: Next time you finish a script, do something special. Acknowledge your success to fuel yourself for the rewrite process.
9. Take Criticism Well
What you can do: Join a writer’s group, either online or in your city. The more you get used to criticizing other people’s work, the better you’ll be at understanding the notes you receive. Never take them personally. It’s a boring waste of time.
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