Don't Think, Just Do

Today is one of those days...

The thought of writing exhausts me.  The thought of not writing depresses the living shit out of me.

The solution: don't think, just do.

Easier said, than done, right?

Well yeah, it really is.  It's a skill that needs to be developed and takes a long time to master, just like any other part of the craft.   And some days, just opening up Final Draft seems worthy of a medal.

I mean, really, on a day like this, you might be lucky to claw out one, maybe two pages.  And they'll be crap.  Why bother?

Well, you know what's worse than bad pages?

No pages.

'Cause all those other writers out there trying to carve out a career?  They showed up for their scripts.  They pushed through the pain.  They pumped out pages.  They trained 'til their eyes bled.  They got better every single day.

The odds are tough in Hollywood.  Writers trying to break in are up against maybe 50 thousand other writers.  (In case you need to know the math, I pulled that very generous number right out of my ass, but it's half-educated.  I vaguely remember reading that the WGA registers 50 thousand scripts a year.  Some would be multiple submissions by the same writers, but other writers would never register, so I'm cancelling those out.  So I'm sticking with 50 thousand, but feel free to double or triple it.  My upcoming point is still valid.)

Yeah, those are pretty steep odds, even factoring in that a huge bunch of them suck.  But think of those crazy kids halfway around the world competing in the Olympics right now.  Best of the best. Those kids over in Sochi, they beat out millions.

Unless you grew up in L.A., you were probably the only kid from your school who grew up to be a screenwriter.  Compare that to the number of kids you knew who were into organized sports.  And every one of them, at some point or another, dreamed of gold.  Endless hours of practice, aches, struggles, and heartache, endless gallons of gas burned up by suburban stretchmark covered moms with muffin tops carting them all over hells-half-acre for competitions.  And most of those kids never made it out of the small leagues.  Hundreds of thousands of wanna-bes in every city everywhere showing up day after day, year after year.

You think you got it tough with your odds?  Try making it to the Olympics.

Get out of your head.  Stop finding excuses, feeling sorry for yourself, or boohooing your odds.  You have to fight for the chance to get good enough to even have a hope-in-hell of making the cut.  You have to show up.

It's like Nike says, JUST DO IT.

Yeah, yeah, writing's not a sport.  But it takes the same commitment, passion, drive, discipline, blood, sweat, and tears.  And bonus; your career isn't over before you're out of puberty!

I'm shocked Nike hasn't designed a line for screenwriters - expandable waistlines, cushioned ass padding, extra pockets for flasks notepads, programmable shoes that automatically deliver you to the fridge and back at regular intervals.  It's a goldmine!  For all 50 thousand of us... which isn't a big market, and is clearly the only reason they haven't tapped it.

Risking life and limb by speeding down a giant chunk of ice at 200 miles an hour is child's play compared to diving into the razor sharp rock infested landscape of your subconscious. Sure, you may never have your mug on a cereal box with a medal around your neck, but if you show up,  you just might see your name on the big screen.

To me, that's worth the fight.

cover photo by Evil Erin
body photo by Teppo TK