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1. I know more about what makes relationships work than ever before.

2. I know less about what makes relationships work than ever before.

3. The world is a world of grace, not justice. Yes, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. But good things also happen to good people and bad things also happen to bad people. The Universe isn’t out to get you, the Universe just doesn’t play favorites.

4. You create your own definition of success. It’s not going to be (nor should it be) the same as anyone else’s.

5. In defining your own success, only choose barometers that you actually have control over.

6. If someone is going through a difficult time, the greatest gift you can give them is to suffer with them. We all just want to know we aren’t alone.

7. Trying to be “great” can be a frustrating pursuit. Instead focus on being more “you.”

8. Don’t be afraid of change. It may be uncomfortable but I’m not so sure that ‘comfort’ and ‘happiness’ are related to one another. Even if it leads to failure, be proud, that just means you’re trying.

9. Just because it doesn’t happen when you want it to happen doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

10. The minute we think we know better than anyone else is when growth stops. Always be open to new thoughts, new challenges, new experiences.

11. Don’t worry about what the future might hold, envision what it will hold.

12. Take control of your life. Recognize what you can and cannot change. Make an effort to work on the things you can, accept the things you can’t.

13. Love more. Trust more. Accept more. Empathize more.

"To begin... To begin... How to start? I'm hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That's a good muffin."

“To begin… To begin… How to start? I’m hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. Okay, so I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana-nut. That’s a good muffin.”

My favorite quote on Writer’s Block comes from Brian K. Vaughan:

“‘Writer’s block’ is just another word for video games. If you want to be a writer, get writing, you lazy bastards.”

I don’t play video games, but I 100% agree with him. The majority of what we call “writer’s block” is really just procrastination.  Laziness.

So how do you fight it?

Well, I’m going to do some rephrasing and put a positive spin on it here.

In my own writing, what I consider “Writer’s Block” is really “Typer’s Block.”  That is, the actual sitting down and putting words to paper.  I spend all day writing in my head and that never gets blocked.

If you’re feeling Typer’s Block—that is, you sit at your computer and open up your Final Draft doc and you type a sentence and nothing else comes out… just STOP.  Get up from your computer, go for a walk, stop typing and start writing.  

 

You can write anytime, anywhere, as often as you want, for as long as you want.

And you can always give that typing thing another shot tomorrow (after you finish your video games.)

How does your character feel about snakes?

How does your character feel about snakes?

When you think about your friends and family what pops into your mind?

Is it their clothes? Their job? Their abs?

Or is it the thousands of hours you’ve spent together where they’ve gone out of their way for you… or didn’t.

For me, people are defined by four things:

1. How they treat other people.

2. Their dreams and passions.

3. Their environment (people, places, & things that surround them.)

4. Their career.

You may disagree with my order here, but it’s an important lesson to learn how other people see you. To learn how to define yourself. First and foremost, it’s how you treat others. I think that’s pretty hard to argue, yet we spend an awful lot of time trying to define ourselves with the latter two. As a professional writer, treating people with respect and love should be a higher priority for you than to be a great writer.

Now, apply that to the characters you write.

How often do we try to define our characters using career or environment? Those are just facts, paper definitions. They don’t tell you anything about a person.

Instead, write characters that are defined by their decisions, by the way they treat others, by what they do when faced with adversity. This is how we get unique, well-defined characters.

[This is a slightly tweaked version of a post from November 2, 2011]

This question is easier to answer if you aren't hiding your allegiances to protect the son of the woman you selflessly loved your entire life.

This question is easier to answer if you aren’t hiding your allegiances to protect the son of the woman you selflessly loved your entire life.

Hopefully this comes off more inspirational than morose, but…

1. What do you want people to say about you after you die?

2. Are people saying that about you now? 

3. If not, what steps can you take to change that today?

Look back over your twitter, facebook, instagram, tumblr, and/or wordpress feeds:  The “permanent” records of your life that will survive long after memories fade.  What are you leaving behind?

Are you adding something unique and beautiful to the world?

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I’ve been perusing and occasionally posting on The Black Board – blcklst.com’s forums and had the pleasure of meeting writer Sutinder Bola.  We were discussing the idea of success and dealing with rejection in screenwriting and he posted the following inspiring statements.  Reposted here with his permission:

I was at the London Screen Writers Festival in 2010 and Tim Bevan of Working Title Films was doing a Q&A. He’s produced some of the biggest films in the last 20 years. Check him out on iMDB.

Even he said life in the movie business is a struggle. Every picture that gets made has to overcome “No” after “No” after “No”. But every “No” is one step closer to the magic “YES”.

You’ve just got to keep going, rejection is part of the job, it’s just like rewriting, you learn to live with it and eventually get better at handling it.

I also went to a Q&A at the British Film Institute featuring Simon Beaufoy (writer of The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 hours). He said one of the specs he feels most proud of is sitting in his drawer at home because nobody ever wanted to make it. Sometimes thats just how the cookie crumbles.

I graduated from Business School with a BA in Marketing and an MSC in Strategic Marketing and have worked in marketing for nearly 15 years. I’ve had a really good career, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.

But I can honestly say I never felt anywhere near as good as I did when I finished the first draft of my first script. Or the 2nd draft. Or the latest draft that is being polished for The Black List.

I write because I know deep down it’s what I am supposed to do. Sure, I want to make a breakthrough and make a career out of it. And I am determined to do it. But if I don’t, I will always write. It’s what makes me feel good, it’s the best way for me to express how I see the world and what I feel about what I see.

I consider myself to be one of the few people in the world (but one of the many on TBB) who actually know what they want to do with their lives because 95% of people don’t.

Whether you sell a script or not the fact that you showed the confidence, discipline and perseverance to write one means you have already succeeded. I know I have.

You can find Sutinder on twitter.

 

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