How To Know if Writing is a Good Career Path For You.
Written by: Luc Saber - March 31, 2022
DURING the last couple of decades, I came across many people who identified with writing dramatic content, but not all of them were writers, not in the true sense of it. I’m not talking about the quality of their writing— good, bad, or indifferent. I’m talking about the person’s genuine desire, passion, and need to feed their soul by creating incredible worlds populated by extraordinary characters. Writing can be taught, and style can be developed, dialogue can be written, edited, and re-edited until it sounds natural. The voice will also surface with enough practice and soul searching.
In the next few minutes, I’ll attempt to give you my two cents worth of how to test whether or not you’re truly a writer. AND if you should gamble your future on pursuing a writing career.
Before you sit down and attempt to write a screenplay or any other story format, think about your approach to the story and your attitude about telling it. I’m not talking about the format or how to approach character development. I’m talking about that gut feeling you get, the goosebumps you may experience when you imagine what you’d like to write, and I’m talking about the words that are about to burst out of you.
WAIT A MINUTE; you’re not feeling it? You don’t feel like you’re about to explode if you don’t start pouring out the words? Do you think you’d like to be a writer but would rather have someone else do the typing? That’s okay too. Maybe you’re simply the type of writer with the ideas and need a partner who can lay it all out in the proper format because you’re more creative than technical when it comes to writing. Am I right?
Be honest with yourself; if your answer is yes, please allow me to save you a lot of time, grief, trouble, and heartache. If nobody dared to tell you yet, let me be the first to say you’re not a writer, so you might as well stop wasting your time reading this article and consider a career as a film producer rather than a writer.
The bottom line is WRITERS WRITE! Writers have a passion for writing; they need to paint pictures with words, create characters and spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years agonizing over all the details that make it a pretty picture. Calling yourself a writer simply by telling a true writer your thoughts and ideas would be the same as telling a painter what colors to use and where to place them on the canvas. Would that make a good painting? No. What makes a good painting is the brush strokes and the particular composition of colors on the pallet and, in more layman’s terms, that unique skill and touch the painter brings to the painting.
Producers have a unique set of skills as well. Recognizing a good story, knowing what works and what doesn’t work in a screenplay are some of the skills a good producer has, but that doesn’t make them a writer. That’s why producers have ideas or acquire options for stories and hire writers to write the screenplay. But why would anybody with producer skills want to be a writer anyway? You get less respect and certainly less money.
Now, for those of you still reading, let’s get the words, feelings, and images down on paper as quickly and as often as possible. When the idea comes to mind, start writing. Don’t procrastinate or try to perfect your story before you start developing it. The tweaks and changes will come later in revisions and rewrites. Don’t worry about not knowing the format or structure at this point; write your PREMISE, your LOGLINE, in other words, a brief description of your story.
By now, I’m sure you’re full of ideas, and you already imagine camera set-ups and actor blocking. You know your main character’s dialogue, and you’re dying to write it down, but do yourself a favor and hold off. Let that information and creativity stew for a little longer. Instead, write a one-page description of your first, second and third act. Then take each act and break it down into more detail with a skeleton outline. Again, be brief in your description. Don’t commit to any details just yet. You’ll be surprised at the changes that will take place in your story.