3 Big Myths About Writers

Good morning! We’ve found an exciting analysis of writing! That we can agree with! Wotta great way to start a TVWriter™ day!

A plusby Amanda

Megan McArdle wrote an interesting piece for The Atlantic about why writers are the worst procrastinators:

Over the years, I developed a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class. This sounds crazy, but hear me out.

Most writers were the kids who easily, almost automatically, got A’s in English class. (There are exceptions, but they often also seem to be exceptions to the general writerly habit of putting off writing as long as possible.) At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion. Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks. These are the kids who turned in a completed YA novel for their fifth-grade project. It isn’t that they never failed, but at a very early age, they didn’t have to fail much; their natural talents kept them at the head of the class.

This teaches a very bad, very false lesson: that success in work mostly depends on natural talent. Unfortunately, when you are a professional writer, you are competing with all the other kids who were at the top of their English classes. Your stuff may not—indeed, probably won’t—be the best anymore.

She isn’t specifically writing about screenwriting, but I think her points are applicable. I was definitely one of those annoying kids who didn’t have to try very hard to get As in English class. Writing came especially easy to me, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with why I pursued this path.

We’ve been writing prose since first grade, but screenwriting isn’t something we normally study until at least college — so it’s inherently challenging because it’s foreign to us at first. Add in the challenges of actually getting noticed as a screenwriter in Hollywood, and succeeding at this vocation is nearly impossible. It’s understandable that we’re not prepared for the harsh realities of pursuing a screenwriting career.

This all got me thinking about some myths that hold aspiring writers back. It’s important to be realistic and to try to understand the industry from beyond the writer perspective.

1. But I’m Brilliant (My English Teacher Said So)! 

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