I can’t believe it. We’re almost halfway through 2019. Feels like I haven’t done much these past few months, but I try to measure writing progress in more than output. Thinking time is also writing time, although a working writer needs it on the page. Deadlines help, but if you’re writing on spec you have to set your own.
Old Chinese Wisdom
The year is running away since I last posted. I’ve not been idle, but maybe my goals are bigger than the time allotted. Get representation, finish that screenplay, map out the TV project, etc. These are mountains to climb. Enter contests, pitch productions companies, and network. My living and breathing energy goes into working out which route is best. A screenwriting tutor reminded us of an old Chinese proverb last year and it stayed with me. “There are many paths to the top of the mountain but the view is always the same.” I often think about it.
Many Paths To The Summit
The writing journey feels like a long ascent through barren land, a seemingly endless swamp of ‘no visible progress’, a trudge over rocky ground. It’s hard to see the bigger picture while picking your way over sharp stones and it’s important to look up from time to time and remind yourself you’re headed for the top. I bet the view is great from there, right? But it seems so inaccessible.
I know the reason. I’m taking the third in a series of screenwriting workshops that rewire your brain and get you to restructure your story design process. The result will be worth it in spades, but it’s demanding stuff.
Remember to Count Your Wins
In the meantime, I also have to remember I’ve had some wins this year: a couple of contest placements, a slew of short scripts, insightful meetings with agents and managers. The Hollywood Field Trip was the highlight of the year so far. The viable currency, though, is the script to beat all scripts.
I have champions. Most writers are lucky enough to have at least one, but to date, it’s been hard to move the needle and I know it’s mostly down to me. However, I try to dwell on the successes.
FLAT SQUIRREL (adventure, animation feature script) placed in the Florida Comedy Film Festival (Winners announced early 2020)
ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM placed in the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival
I’ve had good feedback on those and other stuff and loads of read requests from HFT. My biggest success has come from a reorganization of the back room stuff, though, learning new skills and restructuring my process. Besides all that, I’m working on various projects.
I know every writer has their own process, and methods range from, ‘There are no rules,’ to ‘I swear by this template.’ Each to his own. The important thing is to keep going. For writers, there are many paths to the summit but the view is always the same. Well, I must get back to it. Thanks for reading.
Image of La Gusela Peak in The Dolomites, courtesy of PicJumbo