by Peggy Bechko
Here’s the first writing myth that needs exploding – “Being a writer is a good way to get rich quick!”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA – need I say more?
Well, maybe I do. Yes, it’s true, there have been those rare souls whether through luck, talent, connections or some incredible combination thereof, have become ‘overnight’ writing successes in a big way. I guess that would be ‘get rich quick’.
But, TRUTH – that is so rare you might win the lottery first. Writing, whether script or novel or articles or anything takes time and disciple and it can take a while before the writer is paid anything! Submit, submit, submit. Look for an agent – convince him or her how great you are. Write more. Submit more. You get it and no doubt you’ve been there.
The ones who’ve ‘gotten rich quick’ have almost always taken years to do it. You’re a writer – so write. Write because you love films and want to be a part of it. Write because you love the well-plotted novel and creating one just as good as the best you’ve read is your ultimate goal. Don’t expect a nice safe life on either count and figure you’re probably going to have to have a day job for who knows how long.
Here’s another myth. “You don’t actually have to write that much.”
Really? How does that work? Okay, scripts look sparse, lots of white space and all that. That doesn’t mean the writer isn’t writing a whole lot. There are rewrites and notes and more writing. Ditto for writing novels.
On top of that, very short writing can be harder than writing long (sorry novelists, but I’ve done both and it’s true). Somehow, somewhere along the line almost everyone decided they could be writers. Yeah, well here’s a newsflash. Writers write. If one talks about it but doesn’t do it then one isn’t a writer. And you always have to ‘write a whole lot’. That’s just part of the gig.
Here’s the third myth I have to blast. “It doesn’t take all that much time to write a script. Not like a novel!”
Uh, well, that can be true. You can crank out a script quickly; there are a lot of folks who write for TV who do that, even some feature length writers. But let’s circle back to what I said above. You have to write. You have to write a lot. There are producers with notes. There are editors with revisions.
You think you’re done after you’ve slogged through your 6th draft? Nope. And if you’re on a tight schedule with a script because it’s actually sold – woohoo, yay for you! Go ahead now, make yourself crazy meeting deadlines. Seriously.
And all that is still time. You may be writing all night, all weekend, all month but just because it’s compacted into a tight time-frame doesn’t mean the hours weren’t put in. And, if it’s a novel, oh, boy. Yes, the rewrites and then the re-reading of the galleys takes plenty of time. Writing is one of the biggest time sinks of your life – hope you really love it.
Oh, and in the ‘time’ category, don’t forget the rejection. All writers get rejected – mostly over and over again. And, while that isn’t actual writing time, it is, nonetheless, career time. After all, getting drunk after that last painful rejection takes a chunk of time away from your writing.
So, my advice? Don’t even think about all those myths floating around out there.
Are you a writer? Then focus on your writing and get it out there.
The rest will, with considerable work, get taken care of.
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.