WHY WRITE?

(AKA THE SCRIPTBLAST MANIFESTO)

(AKA MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY’S ABS)
 

So, you’re a writer. Or maybe you want to be a writer. Or maybe you call yourself a writer but you feel guilty about it because you’ve never sold anything and that makes you feel like a hack, even though you got these sweet business cards printed up that say differently.

There seems to be this divide—this magical wall—with “professional” writers on one side and “wannabe” writers on the other. What is it that separates them? Success?

What does a “successful” writer even look like?

Selling a script?

That script getting made into a movie?

That movie getting good reviews?

Those good reviews turning into an Oscar?

Popping open some champagne to celebrate that Oscar with Matthew McConaughey on George Clooney’s yacht? Does he even own a yacht? (Real-time update, you guys—I googled it. He does.)

But strip it down even more. What does all that sense of accomplishment, admiration, respect, and getting to see McConaughhey’s abs up close get you?

Happiness?

Purpose?

A better life?

What if all of those end-goals were available to you—right here, right now?

Work hard but know that it’s not necessarily going to mean you’ll get what you want. That’s not the goal anyway—it’s the work.
— DON CHEADLE

I’ve interviewed a lot of full-time writers and all of them feel like they still haven’t “arrived” yet. Like they still have something to prove, and they’re still the hacks they were before they were making a living at it. Because there is always another level to get to, always another door to walk through. Success, in its traditional definition, is a constantly moving goal (much like losing that last 10lbs is for me).

But let me tell you the real secret to success that no “successful” writers will tell you. (Those bastards.)

It’s joy.

It’s the joy that comes from the writing, not the feedback.

It’s the joy that comes from the creation, not the admiration.

It’s about fulfilling what you were meant to do with your life, not about getting on a yacht (but that’d be super cool, right?).

So, here it is.  The easy two-step process to finding success:

  1. Find what you love to do.
  2. Do it everyday.

That’s it.

Sometimes I’d be depressed and I wouldn’t be able to figure out why. And then I’d be like ‘Oh, I’m not writing. Every time I’d forget.
— JOSS WHEDON

In fact, it’s SO easy you might forget it. So maybe you should stop right now and write it down somewhere.

Success shouldn't be defined by anything you can't control. Don’t put Hollywood’s gatekeepers in control of your happiness. You can’t control how other people are going to react to your art, so start concentrating on what you can control—your writing. That’s where your value is really found: Filling a blank sheet of paper with characters and worlds that didn’t exist before. And that’s why ScriptBlast exists—to help you tell stories that are honest and transparent about your emotions and experiences.

The value that a professional writer gets from finishing a script is no different than the value an amateur writer gets. Your contribution to the world is valuable even if no one notices—even if those who notice don’t appreciate it. Your definition of success shouldn’t rely on the approval of others. Set your own level of success for yourself.

There is no “arrival,” there is no “breaking in,” there is no “making it.”  You’re either doing what you love, every day, or you aren’t. Get rid of the “if-onlys” and the “one-days” and live up to your purpose. Because right now you have everything you need to be successful.

I think it is all right to work for money, to work to have things enjoyed by people, even very limited ones; but the mistake is to feel that the work, the effort, the search is not the important and the exciting thing.
— BRENDA UELAND