Q-q-quit our day job? Yikes, what a terrifying thought. And yet there comes a time when a person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do. This particular TVWriter™ minion has been teetering on the edge of making that decision for awhile now. Thanks to the following article, I’m much better equipped to go for it now:
First Steps to Becoming a Full-Time Screenwriter
by Cary Tusan
I quit my day job – not because I’m leaving to go to another company, or because there’s a job offer. No siree Bob. To write. That’s right, to spend my days writing and being creative.
There comes a time, a crossroads, in every writer’s life to “take the blue pill… or take the red pill.” One thing is for certain, it’s not an easy choice. Neither is deciding if yesterday’s t-shirt passes today’s sniff test. I took the red pill, but luckily I didn’t wake up naked in a tub of goo with a giant tube shoved down my throat. Instead, I woke up in bed after my last day on the job and thought “So, now what?”
Here’s what I learned in my first couple weeks of writing.
1) Give yourself time to decompress. Don’t put in your head that you have X number of days, months or years to “make it happen.” You are already making it happen by focusing on the writing. The decompression is all about adjusting, and despite what others might say or think, it’s not being lazy. I’m a TV writer, so what I did was spend time to catch up on TV. Not Mob Wives, Real Housewives of Whatever, or any other Wives. I’m talking about scripted shows that are in the same genres that I’m writing, such as Episodes, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Black-ish. It’s relaxing and research, really.
Hike or go out of town, even for a day. There’s a whole world out there to experience. A world filled with strange, interesting people to write about: a writer’s goldmine.
2) Stay busy. Don’t do busywork, but go out and meet people. Once everyone knew that I was leaving to go write, I scheduled coffee, lunch, or drinks. Whether it was business or personal, it was all positive. There’s something freeing about meeting someone you know in the middle of the day during the week. I was lucky to arrive early for coffee, as everyone in Hollywood also has the same idea, so seating is at a premium.