This is mostly a letter to myself, as I’m more guilty than anyone, so please do forgive the slightly preachy tone.
It’s been one of those weeks when the same message has reached me from a hundred different places.
In the pub we got talking about how people such as Stephen King and Lynda La Plante write SO many books and scripts.
A long and interesting conversation ensued about what they must do differently to the rest of us. Key among the conclusions was that they probably don’t waste much time sitting round in pubs talking about writing.
Then there was a wise old acquaintance who pointed out that the only real thing that counts, in the end, is a great script. And asked me, pointedly, how many great scripts had I finished this year? (Clue – I haven’t actually finished ONE script so far this year.)
Then a Goldminer referred me to that wonderful book ‘The War of Art’.
I really like this book. It goes deep into the psychology of procrastination.
Problem is, I have the feeling that reading it is in itself a highly disguised act of procrastination.
And finally, an hour spent watching that great TV show “Gogglebox”
(TV definitely WILL eat itself – now they’re putting a camera in a TV to film the families as they watch the TV. Annoyingly watchable.)
Last night’s viewing was key. A couple on screen, sprawled in front of their TV, watching a show about a high achiever. One of the couple turns to the other, says, open mouthed, ‘How do they find time to DO all that?’
I smirked. Couple sprawled in front of TV, ask how people who don’t watch TV get stuff done. Duh.
Me, sprawled out on my sofa watching other people watch other people on TV.
Do your scripts never get finished? Are you not so far along your writing career as you think you ought to be.
Here’s the message:
Stop wasting time.
Do this quick test. As a writer, I imagine you might spend a fair bit of time alone with your computer.
It’s lonely writing a script. And the internet has all that mass of human activity, just a click away.
Think about a site you visit a lot. Facebook? BBC News? Flickr? Stock market prices? Whatever. Guess how much time you spent on it in the last week.
Try to be realistic.
Then check your internet history and add up the truth.
I found that, with just the odd “quick” flick over to Facebook to check what was going on, when I added all those quick visits up, I was sometimes wasting an hour and a half PER DAY on a site that gives me nothing back, helps me get nowhere, gets me no closer to writing a great script.
That’s over a working day a week, gone poof.
Do you have the same issue?
You want to be a writer? Here’s my simple patented algorithm:
A. Finish your script.
B. Start another script.
C. Go to A.
That’s how you learn to write. That’s how you build your portfolio. That’s how you get good enough to attract attention.
That’s how you get to work as a writer.
Oh, and if you’ve been planning to enter the Goldmine competition – get round to it.
So far this year we’ve had less than 100 entries.
The odds of getting into the top five and getting script meetings with some of the most influential script execs in the UK are currently therefore INCREDIBLY high.
And even if we follow the same pattern as we did last year – well, by the time we closed last year we still had less than 500 entries.
Work out the odds on that, and compare it to any of the bigger, more well-known contests that regularly get thousands of entries.
The Page Awards gets thousands of entries. God knows how many entries Amazon and Disney get.
The BlueCat competition has thousands of entries.
The Channel 4 competition – thousands of entries.
I would go so far as to say that with our odds in place, and the INCREDIBLE judging panel who will be reading those finalists, this small, friendly, personally run Screenwriting Goldmine competition might well represent the best screenwriting opportunity in the world right now. It certainly represents an incredible back door into an elevated place.
The contest is here: http://awards.screenwritinggoldmine.com
Don’t miss out on it because you can’t get round to finishing your