The Scribosphere Carnival is a weekly discussion from a variety of screenwriting blogs around a rotating theme.
In today’s Screenwriter Carnival, I’m challenging my cohorts to think of one screenwriting myth they would love to correct.
Dispelling myths is important for something like screenwriting, where it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the romanticism and ideals of the craft. Last week’s post covered the idea of being realistic about screenwriting as a whole, and this week I want to carry that thought further by dispelling what I think is a rather problematic myth:
WRITING IS A FEELING
Let me elaborate.
There’s the notion that we as writers are just “switched on.” We are always in tune with our muses and all we need to do is just sit down in front of Final Draft (or Scrivener or Celtx or Slugline or Highland) and BAM…off we go! Writing is a religious experience and we’re not truly writers if we don’t feel it.
I think the only time I’ve truly felt this religious sense of inspiration and enlightenment while writing has been within the first 3 pages of any of my projects. Everything after that initial burst has been a slog, and for the longest time I thought that meant that I might not be cut out to be a writer. Each time this happened I’d feel guilty and ashamed that I didn’t maintain that magical “spark” or that days would go by where writing that one page felt like pulling teeth.
I couldn’t reconcile any of these feelings with that one rare time where I cranked out a feature-length script in a week and felt “that magical feeling” the whole way through.
That’s the problem, though. I put so much importance on the feeling that I never stopped to think that maybe I don’t have to enjoy or draw inspiration from the things I love 100% of the time. Does anyone love their job 100% of the time? No one honest with themselves would say they did. Sometimes it just DOESN’T gel, but that doesn’t mean I hang up the towel and consider the whole thing an expensive waste of time. If anything, it means the honeymoon is over and I have to get serious.
I wish I had some industry myth to dispel, but that’s not where I am right now. I’m still learning and growing and getting this career path figured out. I have goals and I have plans to complete those goals, and that’s where I sit. My sincerest hope is that if you want to do screenwriting as your career that you will a) be realistic about it, and b) not get too wrapped up in the feeling.
Time to get back to this block of action text that just isn’t working. Do I feel like fixing it? Not really.