Starting Out

raise-child

My first post!

And what else to start with, but starting out?

So you want to be a writer, but what do you have to do to be a writer? What does it take to shake off the shackles of the day job and proudly announce that you are a writer?

When I was starting out and I first opened an account on Twitter, I did what many new writers do; claimed to be an aspiring writer. You might also have said you were a “writer learning their trade” or perhaps “…their craft”. You might even have said “trainee” screenwriter.

I was very quickly told, by more than one friend, that I should drop the “aspiring”. If I am writing, then I am a writer. You do not have to be successful or published or repped to be a writer, you just have to write. If we refer to ourselves as “trainee” or “aspiring” we are also putting ourselves down. Self-deprecation can be an appealing trait in certain circumstances but, if we are trying to build a career for ourselves, we want to convey as professional an outlook as we can.

You want to be a writer? Then just call yourself a writer.

And write.

Well, and maybe read a little too.

One of the first bits of learning I did as a writer came through the Go Into the Story blog and refers to four simple numbers:

1,2,7,14

which are simple instructions to:

  • Read 1 screenplay a week
  • Watch 2 Movies
  • Write 7 pages
  • Research for 14 hours

Now, I am not saying you have to do exactly that (and we will come back to screenwriting rules and writing time in later posts) but it is a great reminder of the very basics of what you need to do to be a writer.

Read scripts, watch films, write pages.

So don’t get hung up on qualifications or experience, knowledge of the movies, or understanding all the screenwriting rules, you can learn a lot of that stuff on the go. Just draw on your love of movies and get writing.

Do that and you are a writer!

Do you feel able to call yourself a writer?

What do you think makes you a writer?

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Posted on March 3, 2015, in Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I remember when you dropped “aspiring” and it was a happy day.

    I write, ergo I’m a writer. It’s that simple.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great job, Mark! It’s great to have cool new places to hang out with fellow writers. And it’s great that you’re combining your two passions in the same blog. I’ll be happy to read what you have to say about astronomy. And I’m a big fan of your photographs of the sky!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Angel, and its great to reconnect with you wherever!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hurray, Marky! Looking forward to more posts. Much luck on the screenplay front, too, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cheers! And to you too!

    Like

  6. Mystery Failure

    Well done on the blog Mark – I can really see your presence now (as Darth Vader said to Luke around the Christmas tree).

    How long were you in make up for the photo with Chewie?

    Like

  7. That’s all CGI to make me look less hairy….

    Like

  1. Pingback: Finding Time to Write | Mark Walker Screenwriting (and Star Gazing)

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