For 15 years, I was blocked as a writer until I promised to write one feature film script in a year. Three months passed, and I hadn’t written a thing, so I forced myself to begin.
I finished my first script in 10 days.
So I did it again. And then again.
I’d heard you should write 4 to 6 scripts to decide if you liked it, so I did and then kept going.
Then I remembered hearing that 90% of our ideas are shit, so I figured if I wrote ten things, maybe one would be okay.
Before the end of the year, I had finished all of them.
I continued writing scripts and switched to novels when the film industry left my province. I had good years and bad years, but I kept on writing.
Last summer, I decided to write and share a story daily for a month. Every day, I’d show up and try and figure out the story, typing some as I fell asleep. Many of them still need a good edit, but I finished them.
So how did I go from writing nothing for 15 years to a regular practice?
I let myself write, even when I failed.
Not all of my stories are perfect. Some are absolute shit. Those first ten scripts, and maybe the next five afterward, will never see the light of day. But that wasn’t the point.
The point was to write.
I believe you need to write poorly, to write stories that may not work, and to let yourself fail a lot to get good.
I don’t think you should write stuff you hate, but I believe that you have to force yourself to put words on the page at the beginning that may not work. I think there is a natural self-conscious fear of embarrassment or shame.
You have to push through all of that.
Writing is scary, and people are dicks. They will say things and do things that will hurt.
Ignore all that and keep writing, practicing, and learning.
I think there is a point when you’ll need someone to guide you, or else you are swinging in the dark, and that’s a long hard path. It would help if you had someone to point out your strengths and weaknesses; more importantly, you must listen.
But at the start, just write. I won’t delude you—it’s probably not good. That’s okay because I promise the more you practice and learn, the better you’ll become.
David Gane Newsletter
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