One of the main differences that distinguishes amateurs from professional writers is that amateurs sometimes write. They write when they have the time or when they feel like it, or when they take a class and have an immediate deadline, whereas professionals write on a regular basis. Professionals set a writing schedule and stick to it no matter what. They understand that consistency is critical to success.
In a recent New York Times profile on Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian shared one of the reasons why constant practice is so important. When asked why he still insists on getting up on stage every week to work on his comedy, even though he’s clearly an expert with decades of experience, Seinfeld responded, “I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. Reading that changed my life. I used to wonder, why am I doing these sets, getting on a stage? Don’t I know how to do this already? The answer is no. You must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop.”
Yet for many writers, sticking to a writing schedule is a difficult battle against doubt, anxiety and good old procrastination–a fight they far too often lose. So with that in mind, I’d like to share a powerful weapon you can use to help win this war.
Break the damn glass
There’s a story about a group of people asking a Zen master, “How can you be so happy in a world of such impermanence, where you cannot protect your loved ones from harm, illness and death?” The master holds up the most beautiful handcrafted glass and replies, “Someone gave me this graceful, delicate glass. And one day the wind may blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. I know this glass is already broken, so I am able to enjoy it incredibly.”
The trick is to break the glass before you sit down to write.
First, jot down all the things you’re afraid might happen when others read your script. Some will be perfectly rational fears. The studio that hired you to write it might hate what you’ve done and fire you. Or maybe it’s a spec, and your representation won’t find it strong enough to take to the market. Even worse, they might drop you as a client. Or people you respect will find the script lacking in ways you have no idea in hell how to fix…
Read the rest of this article from Film Independent.