Why Are You Writing?

Here’s a simple question to ask yourself. Why are you writing? Far too many people think that writing a novel or screenplay is easy and a quick path to getting rich overnight. While it’s possible, it’s also possible to win the lottery by finding the winning ticket in the trash can. However, chances are good it won’t happen.

If you’re writing to make money, chances are you’re never going to make money. You need to write because you want to write and communicate your ideas with the rest of the world. Whether the rest of the world wants to read what you wrote is an entirely different story, but if you’re just writing for money, you’re writing for the wrong reason.

The right reason to write is because you want to communicate your ideas and you want to constantly improve your own skills in writing. Writing is a skill that anyone can learn. Even if you’re not very good in the beginning, you can keep improving, learning, and getting better. Talent is nice, but persistence and determination is better. People won’t buy your screenplay because you’re talented but because you kept trying to write better and better screenplays until you finally succeeded.

One trap many novice screenwriters fall into is writing a single screenplay and forever trying to promote that one screenplay. Write one screenplay and try to get it produced, but keep writing other screenplays. Chances are good that the more you write, the better you’ll get to the point where the tenth screenplay you write will be far better than the first screenplay you wrote. If necessary, keep writing ten more screenplays because the twentieth screenplay will be even better than your tenth screenplay.

Eventually with enough persistence and learning from your mistakes, you’ll be a far better screenwriter than someone who just wrote one screenplay and hoped to strike it rich in Hollywood overnight.

If you’re writing because you love expressing yourself through words and love the idea of telling stories through film, you’re writing for the right reasons. Don’t give up and if necessary, start small. Rather than tackle a full-length movie, try writing short scripts. The more practice you get and the more willing you are to learn from your mistakes and correct them, the better you’ll get as a screenwriter.

Writing isn’t about getting rich overnight. Writing is about passion, determination, and vision. Money is an after effect, not the goal.

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