A screenwriter is someone who writes screenplays on which films and television programs are based. There’s a common misconception that in Hollywood, it’s an easy path to fame and fortune as a screenwriter. Maybe you can write and you’ve watched certain films and thought, “Hey, I could’ve written that!” Well, that kind of thinking is what drives people to think that writing a movie is no harder than writing one. It is actually hard work and a long road to becoming a successful screenwriter, especially in Hollywood. There are numerous failed screenwriters who will be happy to tell you that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A screenwriter has to deal with tons of unproduced, unsold, and unread screenplays of theirs before anyone actually gives them a chance. Screenwriting, just like any other form of professional writing is a craft that must be studied, practiced, and made a priority. The most successful screenwriters of all time didn’t get to where they are by winging it. They were dedicated, consistent, and honed in on their craft. Here are some of the habits of super successful screenwriters to make note of.
Give every project your all
Successful screenwriters know that their name is all they’ve got. They treat every project like it is the project of their dreams. All you have in life is your word, and if you commit to doing something, you need to give it your all. Work like no one knows you, so that one day you won’t have to introduce yourself. Giving 110% in everything that you do will pay off in the end.
Be productive everyday
Screenwriters know that in order to be successful, they must practice. If they don’t practice their craft, they won’t get better. Do something productive everyday. Write something everyday, whether it is writing for a project or just something personal. If you find yourself having writer’s block, try looking at a great script, or something that you wrote a long time ago. Who knows, you may find yourself getting inspired and may spark up a new idea and cure that writer’s block. The only way to succeed at your craft is to nurse it daily.
Take frequent breaks
While you’re being productive every single day and improving your writing, don’t forget to take breaks for yourself. There’s no way you can sustain a level of quality writing and be as productive as possible if you don’t take breaks and refresh your mind. All work and no play is never a good thing. Whether you’re taking a ten minute, hour, or day break, it is crucial to your success as a screenwriter. Do something that you love, something that is going to free your mind from thinking about the task at hand. For me, when I need a break, I enjoy playing card games online, such as rummy, blackjack and solitaire. However, there are so many other things to do like exercising, going for a walk, or meeting friends for lunch. No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to relax a little or else you’ll experience major burnout.
Any screenwriter will tell you that it is impossible to get anything done with a messy, disorganized work space. Not only does it take a lot longer to find important documents under stacks of newspapers, unopened bills, and books, but it literally uses unnecessary brain power when you have to stop working and search for much needed items. Every little annoyance that you put up with literally burn fuel that could be put into your next big project. You can avoid this by always staying neat and organized.
Never stop learning
The most successful screenwriters have a tendency to take the road less traveled. This means that you do whatever it takes to stay on top. Make sure you’re always learning, always reading, always writing. You want to do whatever it takes to feed your mind and learn everything there is about your craft. You want to maintain a beginner’s mind, meaning that you read and investigate everything there is to know about your field. A great way to stay inspired and innovative is to study other areas that are outside of your niche. Some of the best ideas for projects have come from screenwriters adapting concepts they’ve discovered in completely foreign fields.
Take care of yourself
Last, but not least, successful people, no matter what industry they’re in, know that in order to be the best that they can be, they must always take care of themselves. You come first because you can’t pour from an empty cup. Successful people must constantly feed their minds and their bodies with high quality nourishment and exercise. Screenwriting is hard work and it requires endurance. If you want to do great things, produce quality work, and be as successful as possible, you must take care of your temple, above all else. This is essential to achieving a high level of success, especially in Hollywood.