More often than not, they’ll say, “I’m an aspiring writer.”
And that's a huge mistake.
Resist the temptation
Writers are self-reflective people.
They don’t want to pretend to be something that they’re not.
They don’t want to be a Hollywood d-bag.
They don’t want to give the false impression that they’re up for some studio movie gig when they live in a studio apartment in Van Nuys.
But whenever you describe yourself as an ‘aspiring writer,’ a little screenwriting angel loses its wings.
1) It's not true
You can aspire to be a member of the WGA.
You can aspire to sell hot dogs on the moon.
But if you’ve ever written a screenplay, you can’t aspire to be a writer, because you already are one.
2) it makes you look bad
It’s the least confident way for you to introduce who you are and what you do.
And if you don’t have confidence in your work, no one else in Hollywood will either.
Think about it…
Say you’ve got a short film that you want to find an editor for. You meet two really great guys at a party. One describes himself as an editor, the other says he’s an ‘aspiring’ editor.
I know who I’d want to edit my work.
(p.s. If you know any great editors, let me know. Chelsea and I are always looking for one.)
3) it's bad for your heart
If you dwell in your aspirations, you won’t have the presence of mind to capitalize on opportunites when they present themselves.
You’ll become mired in the struggle. Maybe you’ll even glorify that struggle. Maybe that will even be satisfying in some way. (The “Starving Artist” archetype exists for a reason, right?)
But why not celebrate your talent instead?
Sure, you haven’t been validated by the system yet.
But your confidence needs to come from within you, not from other people. When you’re trying to make it as a writer, lots of times, all you’re going to have is yourself.
And in those moments of doubt or rejection, you need to look into the mirror and confidently say…
I’m a writer.