You want to be a writer? Okay then, you need to write. It’s literally that simple.
People always ask me, “how do I become a writer?” I mean people I met on planes, at coffee shops, at the grocery store, while at malls/shopping centers, at events, dinner parties. “Oh, you’re a writer? Cool. I have an idea, how do I do that?”
WRITE, that’s how.
There is no other way to be a writer than to write.
The way you get good at it, write every day. You have to, there is no shortcut on this one. It takes time to learn your craft.
You also need to read-constantly. If you want to be a novelist, you have to read novels. It is best to read in your chosen genre. I met someone recently who said that she was writing YA and I asked her what she had read lately and she said, “Oh I hate books for teens.” I was so confused, why write YA then?
***don’t write to trends
If you want to be the next Cameron Crowe—watch a ton of films, study the characters, dialogue, story and to up this to the next level, get your hands on some shooting scripts. It’s important.
TV writers who don’t watch TV? What?? Yes, they exist. They often brag about how they don’t even own a TV and or waste their time, and then they are writing the next great sitcom or drama. That makes no sense to me.
You need to immerse yourself in whatever it is that you want to do. It’s important.
You can also get many TV scripts online. For TV writing it’s a bit more complicated because of formatting for cable, network, primetime, late night, half hour, single camera, multi-camera—-but first—get your characters and story down, then you will need to learn all the above to start submitting. Also in TV writing you must have spec scripts of existing shows—this is beyond important.
Okay, so what are you going to do today??? WRITE!!
If you don’t know how to start, how about at the beginning–get a blank sheet and just get some words down.
YOU CAN DO IT. I know you can!!!
Story Concierge Signature Course launching this summer. Sign up for my VIP newsletter for a chance for a free spot as I will have scholarships available!
I was happy to wake up and hear that I am a semi finalist in the SPEC SCRIPTACULAR put on by TV Writer.com
It’s always nice to hear that you advanced. Writing is subjective and I take rejection well, but this was nicer.
I am not bragging, but just happy to hear it, well see it-my name on that list.
I wrote an episode of Happy Endings for the fellowships and contests. I love the show, always talk in pop culture references so it just made sense.
I am one of those writers who loves writing specs. I also love writing originals, but specs are always especially fun because you are writing about characters you already know and love because they are in your life.
I would love to be a showrunner, but I also love working on other’s shows. I am happy as long as I am writing and that’s the truth.
So here is my segway-I was hired today to write short children’s stories for a mobile app-they are really awesome stories and I was so excited to be contacted and hired. Today was a good day. 🙂
Hope you are all having a great day as well and are writing. Write write write!
Today is the day that everyone Googles and quotes MLK, but I like to be different so I quote Jim Carrey.
“Desperation is a necessary ingredient to learning anything, or creating anything. Period. If you ain’t desperate at some point, you ain’t interesting.”
How true is this? How many of my friends, old and new, have taken a steady payceck over following their dreams? The answer is pretty much all of them and yet I sit here day after day, week after week, month after month struggling to survive because I refuse to give up. I find Jim’s quote to be both true and inspiring.
It is so much easier to take a pacheck and push the create dreams aside because let’s face it, we all ain’t going to be Jim Carrey, and that’s fine. That said, I never want to have regrets about where my life went. Would I like to have steady money? Absolutely.
When I gave up acting for animation and a steady paycheck part of me died and I felt very sad for years, but needed the money, or thought I did. The truth of the matter is that during those flush years in animation I was so low on the totem pole and so buried in debt from college that I was still broke and working 90 hours a week to survive.
When the 2D animation industry crashed I thought about going back into acting, but decided to do the one thing that I was always more passionate about and always afraid to really go after and that was writing.
I quote fictional character George McFly.
“What if they read it and tell me that I am no good? I don’t think I could handle that kind of rejection.”
But at that point, I had lost my first career, I had lost my second career-or thought I was losing it, so I decided fuck it, I’ll do it and I started writing.
It’s been hard lemme tell you about a back breaking thankless from society process that I LOVE! I have never felt better about my choices and love it. Do I get the looks of ‘you must be broke’ or ‘why don’t you get a real job’ when I tell people I am a writer? Of course. Writers are flakey, crazy, unstable, broke, childish, immature, drink too much and loners. I have heard it all.
That said, I am probably some of those things but not all of them and animation is still around-it isn’t like it was, but it is there and I fell in love with it. I love to draw and I love to write, and someday I know things will change. Because animation is so up and down I am constantly worried, or sometimes even desperate and the truth is this. It pushes me to write.
Eddie Murphy said this. “If you have something to fall back on, you will. So that’s why I never had a back up plan.”
I heard that when I was like 13 and it helped shape the choices I made. Do I regret going to school for musical theater and hearing over and over that my degree doesn’t count? Not really. I love being in college and it was a great experience and I know if I had gone to business school, or advertising, journalism I would be comfortable now, but at what cost? Giving up on my dream to work in the entertainment industry? No thank you. I don’t want to wake up like Mr. Holland at 60 having missed my true passion.
So this is why at my age I am constantly looking for that next animation job and have a roommate, and am constantly writing and I know that being scared is what is driving me.
Hey everyone! Thanks for reading.
Here is what I am doing these days.
I have three strong original pilots that are ready to go, but due to my age, and many factors, I am going to put the TV writing thing on the side for now.
I started pursuing it in 2007 and then stopped working on my novels and I miss novel writing so much. I did write one last year during NaNo, but then never had time to edit or try to sell it properly, so I have been thinking that the person holding me back is me! I am too scattered.
I still have my film out there and am definitely going to still write screenplays, but am going to concentrate on my novels for right now-unless of course ABC finally offers me a job, or Ryan Murphy-or anyone! Usually when I give up something or switch gears that is when the jobs come pouring in.
In any case, I am finding myself in the same place every fall-waiting for ABC to decide whether or not to put me in their fellowship and working on a novel while strugging in animation-so the only person who can change that is me.
I hope you are all doing well!! Congrats to my fellow TV writers who have recently landed jobs, or episodes, or pilots!
I love TV and this decision is mostly just because I don’t have time to do everything-well okay, it isn’t so much time as money! LOL
Cheers and thanks for following! xoxo
It’s been awhile, sorry about that. I have been writing my daily ghost stories
and that has kept my other blog writing down.
I have started a new spec script for spring submissions, and my own pilots are chugging along. I am doing a complete re write to my first pilot because after a lot of people reading it, they seem to want that.
No news on the film sale…any day now.. please…
Ryan Murphy has not hired me onto Glee yet.. geez what is he waiting for?
That’s about it.. I will be posting film reviews and stuff again soon..
Hope all your writing is going well!
I ran into a fellow animation artist slash writer this morning while out walking my dog and he brought up an interesting point about maybe I am too spread out, like gun fire sprawling across a room in a mob film, am I am scattering myself and my writing around too much?
Hrm? It’s definitely worth thinking about. I believe that I am a bit, so it was no shocker when this was brought up, but on the other hand, I don’t want to be too limited. And, it isn’t like I have a choice in the matter because I get inspired and then I go! Then, there is no stopping me.
So the way I see it, I will get more focused soon, as has been my plan for a while now, but right now, I just have too many projects that I am interested in to stop.
I recently went to a panel at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and one of the Emmy nominees was saying to do what you do and write everything and don’t pigeon hole yourself if you don’t want to. Maybe I’ll be one of those writers than in 10 or 20 years people will talk about me, “Stephanie is crazy, she is always doing a million things at once”, who knows, but I guess I need to think about things so my career can move in the direction I want.
That said, I want to write and I am writing, so in that respect, I am very focused, it is just what I write that is a bit scattered!
Hello everyone struggling, and not, in the wonderful world of television and film writing. How are you?
Didn’t I say about a month ago that I was going to finish one started project every week this month?
UGH! I have been way too busy and a bit too stressed-which goes against my belief system that one should not be stressed- and haven’t accomplished anything.
I envy people who don’t have to work and in fact a friend of mine said, “me and so in so were just saying how happy we are that we don’t have to work so we can write.” OMG! I wish that was the case, but I do have to work to keep a roof over head, so I can write. Another friend told me that working 40 hours a week + 10 for the commute didn’t leave him much time and I was like “only 50 hours?” That would be like a dream to me! I am working around the clock when I am working to try to save money, then when not working, I am spending a lot of my time looking for work.. it is an endless cycle sometimes and I just have to remember that it is what it is. I do write something every day, keep those writing muscles going. Last month I was working on an idea for my new book-I am sending it out this week-well part of it. What the publisher requested.
It is called, Why Is There A Spider On My Head? ~ How to keep your day job and never make it in the industry.
I think that all my years in the entertainment business-so affectionately called “the industry” by industry folks and pretty much everyone in or around Los Angeles-will help people learn what took me years to learn. I am of course using sarcasm, wit, jokes and funny stories to get the points across, and I am sure you will love it!
I have mostly otherwise been working on my newest multi-camera sitcom, Ellie From Chicago. I have three episodes pretty much done and hopefully will send them out soon. If anyone wants to read, I welcome feedback? Lemme know!
I hope you are all fabulous and productive!!
Well as most of you know I have started the “Ryan Murphy hire me” campaign, and of course am submitting for Glee, the ABC Fellowship and all the usual suspects out there.
My feature film-The Airport Bar-is still in a deal-UGH Hollywood! Come on, I am on pins and needles and really need the cash for my new apartment!
I am also starting my second screenplay and then working on all the stuff mentioned in that last blog about what I am doing.
This all said, I have been approached my a Hollywood studio about optioning my second novel into a film!!! I hope, that would be soooo awesome!! Please wish me luck!
I am very spiritual and will know who of you sent me luck and give you all jobs when I am in a position to do so-you know head writer-showrunner-etc…
Hope you are all doing fabulously!!
People always are asking me, “what are you writing?” then five minutes into it, they are sorry they asked, because unlike a lot of aspiring writers, sorry but it is true, I write ALL the time. I don’t get writer’s block. I don’t procrastinate. I don’t have ideas in my head only-but there are a few there that haven’t quite made it to paper-I am only one person.
This Thursday I was at the Sublime Primetime event at the WGA with some of the Emmy nominated writers. Steven Levitan from Modern Family was there and his advice to new writers-to write.
I have always been the type to “do” and not “try” – I learned that from Yoda-okay someday I will write the blog about how everything in my life relates to some film or tv show-yes it is true.
You want to know what I am writing?
I am doing a lot, so here goes, let me sum it up.
I am currently working on:
Three spec pilots-why three? Isn’t that too many? Are you not focused? – are all probably questions in your mind, but no, not for me. They are three very different shows, and I am working on all of them when I get inspired for each of them. That said, one of them, ‘Ellie From Chicago” my multi-cam buddy camera-which is friggen’ hilarious by the way-is leading the pack right now-mostly because my voice comes out the strongest.
Rewrites on my 4th novel-that is pretty obvious-but as some of you know, I am published under the pen name, Micheline McAllister, and I have a 3rd and 4th novel that aren’t yet signed to any publisher, or agent yet-I am reworking the 4th based on some feedback and time. Time is the best critic for me. I write something fast and then step away and come back. Today I figured out a brilliant way to make my newest book-Slanted Houses-even better. Okay and since it is set in San Francisco-I can write off my trip-double bonus!
Spec TV Shows of existing shows-why? Because you have to, you just have to unless you are lucky enough to know a guy who will see Ryan Murphy in the locker room and pass your script to him. It is part of the rules. What specs? Well I recently switched back to comedy, so I put aside all the brilliant dramas I have written in the past 3 years and have 5 hilarious shows that I am sending out. 1) The New Adventures of Old Christine 2) The Big Bang Theory 3) Two & a half Men ————and here is where I break the rules and just do shit that I want to because it is so funny in my head. For my 4th and 5th spec show of existing shows I have some out of the box thinking and if you want to know more-get me in the locker room with Ryan Murphy and I’ll send them to you!!
Shorts – because I love writing short stories and I have a few published in graphic novels – shameless self promotion here-THE TROUBLE WITH KATIE ROGERS– and I have sent some to the New Yorker and several chick lit rags.. I just love them.
As well as my blogs, Micheline’s blogs, Letters to agents, statements of interest, emails, messages, Twitter, Facebook-I am writing all the time, every day and someday I will be totally ignored by Hollywood-the music will play before I manage to thank my dog before walking away with my Emmy and groping Leonardo in the hallway.
So that is that. I am writing so many different things at any given time, that it is actually hard to answer, but I am writing. I write because I have to. I don’t write for anyone else. Sure we are told to write specs, but I really enjoy doing it, or I wouldn’t. I write novels as part of my ‘get poor’ fast scheme-because I love them-
Shit I almost forgot about my old spec pilot-The First Year-which I am rewriting as well and my film-The Airport Bar-….and am penning a new comedy that has Jason Segal all over it-anyone know where he showers after a workout?
Keep writing and thanks for asking me, as you can probably tell, unlike most writers-I am anything but shy!!