Claim Your Victory
“I don’t know if you realize how far you’ve come in a year.”
I said these words to a writer the other day, and when I did I thought “What an understatement!” Flashing back to those initial interactions with her, her progress is obvious — and a bit breathtaking.
When we first met, there was very little to recommend in her ideas or execution of them.
She wasn’t quite getting it. I wondered, frankly, if she ever would. And as a result, no one else was getting it either. No wonder she heard crickets from those agents and producers she sent her scripts and pitches to.
And look now: She has a script being read by a major studio, interest from an agent, and fresh new ideas that have merit — and commercial promise.
All in a year.
This is one of the joys of having my job. I can see your improvement. I can tell you exactly how much better you are at this than when we met.
It’s important for us to claim these victories, to occasionally stop and admit our lives have gotten quantifiably better.
And if you don’t believe me, I suggest you create a “Writer’s Resume.”
Occasionally even writers are called upon to account for themselves and the full arc of their careers. I had to do this recently and was astounded at all the stuff I had to cut out to make room for new successes.
The achievement that seemed so big on the last resume seems small by comparison; look how far I’ve come!
And by the time I finished, I also had the ah-ha! of seeing how the seemingly random flailings I thought were leading nowhere at the time, actually looked planned when seen from a higher perspective. What else could explain how one relationship, job, script, or interaction led me so seamlessly to the next level?
A Writer’s Resume also makes us realize our job is unique. We’re creatives. Not everything we do can be measured in dollars and cents. I love my sales, and love the achievement of them, but I’m proud of every script I’ve written and looking back can see why I had to write each one — even those that didn’t sell.
There are partnerships, ongoing class work, skillsets gained that we can tack on to our Writer’s Resume, including the simple realization of how some aspect of writing and storytelling works.
The arc of our development as writers is not just the puffery of a c.v. that shows the latest thing we can write home about, but the education and experience of a steely pro who, when called on, can deliver.
Would you hire you? What service do you offer that no one else can? What is the poster of you?
These are all questions that creating a Writer’s Resume can help you answer, and help you plan for your next level.
I hope mostly that it tickles you to see what a fun ride this is! My Gosh! The odd jobs I had to suffer through early on, writing on the side, at night in 24-hour restaurants, the moments of clarity when a sudden breakthrough let me know I was onto something! These victories cannot be measured or fully claimed until we see that there really is a plan, and we are fulfilling it every day! Whether we recognize it or not!
- Elizabeth Ditty
I actually just did this last week and posted it on my blog, mostly as a way of letting my friends/readers keep up to date with how I’ve been spending my time. I must admit, though, it was pretty cool seeing what I’ve accomplished in the past year. It also had the added benefit of making me revisit my loglines and seeing how I could improve them, which is always arduous but worth the trouble.
Thanks, as always, for your stellar advice! I can’t tell you how helpful your books and posts have been since I started focusing on my writing!
- Jeff Paterson
Blake, I’m so happy to hear that you’ve had your share of crappy, dead-end jobs like the rest of us in your journey to where you are today!
After a 10 week check-out and a modest fine, I bought my own version of Save the Cat finally, a book that has truly changed my life. I want to thank-you yet again for bringing us this ‘Who’s Who’ of screenwriting structure, and allowing us amateurs a jump start into crafting our own scripts. Your book(s) have given me so much more insight in how to not only put my ideas down on hard drive/paper, but how to view a movie and critique it.
After reading your book, I have 2 requests to read two scripts I have come up with based on your ‘Titlation’ contest. I consider myself picking up your book in May, so I will keep you posted on how my year since I picked up your methods and book(s)/software!
And please know I’ve been trying to force whomever I can to read your book who has a vested interest, and a couple are coming around, but still I have to break down a bit more. Thanks again Blake!
- Sarah Beach
I’ve said it before, but I like repeating it, Blake. Your enthusiasm about storytelling is utterly engaging. You are a terrific cheerleader and instructor. You get people going, urging them to trust themselves and HAVE FUN doing it.
I had a job interview recently, and to prepare my resume, I had to do something like revising of it all. I looked at it and thought “Hey, that’s actually, not too bad.”
I don’t know if I’ll get that particular job (though I’d love it!), but stepping out was interesting. And now… I have a story outline to go revise – redo the beat sheet and all that. ;)
As a complimentary practice, it’s also fun to write out a resume of the future. What you would WANT to see as your list of credits and accomplishments. Maybe 10 produced credits? An Oscar? To work with Spielberg? A no.1 box office weekend? Your movie on a Happy Meal?
This is particularly resonant to me at the moment – things at my job are getting very, very weird, and I’m getting the feeling that I may be looking for a new job soon – at the same time, I’ve been contacted by another production company in a state North of this one that wants me to consider a supervisory position with them, AND at the same time, I feel like my internal V8 writing motor is starting to fire on at least 5 or 6 of the 8 cylinders and that maybe it’s time for me to try to do this full-time – but HOW?!?
It’s all too confusing!!!
I got your book a couple of years ago and it propelled me onto this roller-coaster ride that just seems to be accelerating day by day. I will start my writer’s journal. I will tackle this journey one day at a time and try my hardest to pull it all together. I’ve got stories in me that need to be told, and thanks in large part to your inspiration, they will be.
- Rachel T.
Blake, I so needed this today. I found out about a half hour ago that the job I was hoping would be permanent (for a few years, at least – I need food) is going to be over for me on the 16th. Not much time to job hunt! I’m trying to figure out where to go from here, and your blog today is a reminder to look back and celebrate how far I’ve come in an area that really means something to me. Thank you.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Another terrific blog. Keep em coming!