Entertainment is one of the most competitive industries in the world, and it has a knack for testing the strengths – and weaknesses – of everyone brave enough to try to break in. To stay resilient, it’s important to practice accurate self-appraisal and identify what your weaknesses are. These might include skills you feel you’re lacking, culture gaps, or becoming aware of what your favorite form of self-sabotage is. Once you’re aware of your weaknesses, you can address them and turn them into strengths.
I hate to break it to you: if you have trouble starting, finishing, or brainstorming a project, you aren’t special. Procrastination is often just part of being creative. The trick is to beat your mind at its own game. If you have trouble sticking to deadlines, find someone to hold you accountable. And then return the favor. Don’t want to sit in the chair and get to work? Meet a friend for a working date so you have to start at a specified time. Do whatever you need to do to stay productive. I know some writers who will take a weekend trip to a place they don’t love, just so they can get themselves to stay in the hotel and work without getting derailed by outside distractions.
For more tips, check out my post on breaking through dreaded writers’ block.
Strengthen Your Writing Style
If you’re an intuitive writer who is great with characters and dialogue but aren’t as strong in story structure, you can take a class and remedy it. If you’re incredible with structure but your dialogue and characters fall a little flat, fix that. Here are some top writers’ workshops that can help.
No matter what, keep practicing your craft. Every screenplay, pilot, spec script, and short film you write will teach you something. You may not even be aware of all you’re learning as you go. But the hard truth is that you’re not going to improve very much if you only write one script every couple of years. And I’ve known some people who call themselves writers who’ve done that! (They eventually left the business, saying it just wasn’t fair that they couldn’t get a break.)
The bottom line is this: you can’t be denied if you’re undeniable. There’s so much of the creative process that is out of your control, and it’s your job to make sure you don’t miss out on an opportunity because of a weak spot you could have fixed. So get honest with yourself, identify your weaknesses, and take steps to reduce or eliminate them.
How did you overcome a weak spot in your process? Let me know! I’m @CaroleKirsch.