A letter to a fellow scriptwriter


Dear friend,
I went through your blogs. You dont have to be apologetic about them. I would say that you can write. And half the battle is already won. But dont try too hard to make people laugh. Try out all genres in your writing. You may like humor, but you may be better in something else.

One thing I have to say to you beforehand is that I am not a professional writer. I am just a struggler like you only. I have got some offers but right now I would like to punch the keys some more before I am ready to jump on that. What I am trying to say is that whatever I tell you is not written on rock.

But this much I must tell you. Writing blog/screenplay daily when
board exam is near the corner- bad bad idea. Its not because you may fail in board exams. It shows me a chink in your motivation in writing. I would call what you are doing as ‘anxious avoidance.’ You are using writing as a philosophy to avoid facing the anxiety that is going to be provoked if you open the text book and go ‘o man-what have I done?’ You are just postponding the inevitable regrets that you are going to have.

Writing is not a roller coaster ride that you jump into. Or a dose of
heroin that gives you a momentary high. Its more like a painstaking ‘grain by grain’ exercise of an industrious ant. What is relevant is the consistency and not the individual peaks that you attain. To be successful in writing talent is not enough. The best talents in writing end up as salesmen or librarians. The world never knows about them. To be successful you need patience, shrewdness, social skills and perseverence. The key is not to sacrifice just for the abstract notion of being a writer. If someone skips an job interview because he had to meet a publisher on the same day I can understand that. It is called calculated risk. But if some one is not paying attention to board exams because he wants to write a screenplay (for which no one has given him any dead line) I cannot understand that.
I am afraid that such kind of passion may not last long. And if 5 years
down the line if you suddenly feel that being a writer is overrated (trust me on this, no one including you is immune from suddenly feeling so) what would you think about the prices that you have paid?

I dont know about whether I will be a successful writer or not. But I
have been writing something or other all my life. And would continue till the end because I enjoy the process. There were times when I was studying continuously for 6-7 months at the rate of 12 hours per day (no exaggeration here, substract the time for sleeping, eating and bathing, the rest of it I was reading) and even during that time I used to write something for half an hour. In that competitive atmosphere half hour per day was something costly, but I put up with that.

It may not pay off. But atleast I knew when to lie low and in times like now, I leap. Today I wrote for 3 hours after work. The basic thing is that one should have the discipline to make and follow rules. Write something everyday for atleast 5 minutes- that is the golden rule.

You are only 17. You have age on your side. At your age I didnt even
know what a screenplay is. (I am 28). Why the hurry? Trust me. You will not be ready until you write atleast 10 screenplays including rewrites. That is the usual average for scriptwriters to hit a competency level. So are you planning to freeze carrying on with the rest of your life and finish writing that 10? And then what? What if no one pays any notice? Pick up the lost ends then? My advice is always BE PREPARED FOR FAILURE. And the best plan is an alternate plan. If you have an alternate vocation, you will never have to write under pressure. An alternate source of income helps you to enjoy your writing. Film industry is not a fairy land. And never offer your scripts to someone without copyrighting it.
I have added your blogs to my favourites list. I dont want to link
them in my blog right now. Because I first want to see whether you will be around after 6 months with the same passion. Or may be I wont be around. Who knows?


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