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How To Stop Being An Unhappy Writer

Unhappy Writers

Are you an unhappy writer? Unhappy writers seem to be everywhere on social media. I’m not talking about recently rejected writers who need a little reassurance and moral support, either. (Tho talking about your rejections is a good idea!).

No, the unhappy writer is that person who has lost sight of the REASONS they wanted to be a writer in the first place.

Reading their threads and comments on social media, they will express frustration and anger. They will wonder why they can’t catch a break … Rage about how ‘lesser’ writers get a break … How ‘bad’ various franchises, reboots, TV shows and movies are …

But guess what?? NONE of this makes an unhappy writer feel better! Here’s 5 things that CAN …

1) Recognise it’s not about ‘breaking in’

Writers get unhappy because they think they are on the ‘outside’ of something. But they’re not. There is no ‘industry’: just people grouping together, collaborating, making stuff. There’s no magic destination where everything is great and every project is greenlit. There is no golden ticket.

2) Don’t seek permission …

Unhappy writers don’t realise they can do whatever they want. Want to make a short film? Start a blog? Publish a book? You CAN do all of these things – and more. Why NOT you? Look into crowd funding. Find out about platforms. Discover how self publishing works. There’s so much info out there on how to do this, much of it free. All you have to do is set a goal and work out how to get it done. Honestly! No, it won’t be easy. Yes, you will have to make sacrifices. But ultimately, just recognise it’s about taking into your OWN hands. Don’t wait to be picked, pick yourself.

3) … Or validation!

Writers look to outsiders to get their validation. They will measure their success by stuff they have literally no control over. A classic example on social media is when contests announce their finalists. Unhappy writers line up to claim their careers are going backwards if they have not placed, especially if they placed the year before. But this is not true. Why, next.

4) Don’t second-guess rejections

This is the thing. Just because your writing is rejected, does NOT automatically mean it is bad. It is just as likely your writing did not meet the remit of the script call or contest for some reason. This means your supposedly ‘terrible’ script could easily fit another remit somewhere else.

But equally, remember radio silence IS rejection. Again, don’t second guess why. It happens. It shouldn’t, but it is easier to say nothing, than say ‘no’. They are not plotting about you, or keeping things from you on purpose. They just want to make their lives easier. Sad but true.

5) Take stock when you need to

If you feel unhappy as a writer, that is a red flag. It probably means you are overworked, or underworked. If the former, TAKE A BREAK. Consider if your current work is what you want. Re-evaluate your goals and consider if you are in the right (write!) place. If not, correct it!

If the latter, your frustrations come from not doing what you want to. So go back to point 2 on this list. Realise you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. So set your goal and figure out how to get it done. Do whatever it takes. I double dare you! MORE: Can’t Get Read? Yes You Can! 16 Top Tips On Becoming A Writer 

Good Luck!

B2W’s book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays will be TEN YEARS OLD in 2023!

To commemorate this occasion, I have revisited book and updated it for its anniversary.

I’ve added a whopping extra 100 pages!! This includes new case studies, plus information on television pilots as well as movie screenplays. Here’s the blurb:

Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays has the lowdown on how to get your thriller feature script on to the page, and how to get it in front of producers and investors.

“First published in 2013, this new edition offers an all-new resources section and a host of new case studies that map the considerable changes of the past decade.

With marketplace disruptors such as Netflix and the first phases of The Marvel Cinematic Universe leaving their mark, new opportunities have been created for screenwriters and filmmakers who are keen to get their stories in front of industry professionals.

This time around, Lucy V Hay doesn’t just guide you through the writing of movies, but spec TV pilots too. Putting iconic, mixed-genre projects under the microscope -such as Stranger Things (horror thriller), Brooklyn 99 (comedy thriller) and Lost (sci fi thriller) – she considers what writers can learn from these shows.

She also argues that the lone protagonist in a thriller has had its day and looks at how the genre is moving into a space beyond ‘The Hero’s Journey’. Case studies to support this include The Hunger Games, Captain Marvel, Iron Man and many more.

Finally, the book considers how the screenplay might be sold to investors, exploring high concept ideas, pitching, packaging and the realities of film finance – all updated for the 2020s – and lays out alternative routes to sales and production, including transmedia such as novels and adaptation, and immersive storytelling online.” BUY IT HERE.

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