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  • Writing Lessons Learned

    June 21st, 2011

    By Danny Manus

    Last week was my 100th Column for The Business of Show Institute. Two full years of writing articles every week. Added to my blogs and articles I’ve written for many other publications and websites, I’ve completed over 125 articles in 2 years. In case you’re wondering, that adds up to about 300 pages! So this week, I thought I’d tell you what writing all those articles has taught me and maybe you can relate with your own projects.

    Writing that much has taught me to be consistent, persistent, and open to ideas. It has taught me to be equally reactive and introspective, because when you can’t find the answers (or even the questions) within, you have to seek them from outside sources.

    They’ve taught me to set a weekly deadline for myself, which granted – I didn’t always make. I’m supposed to turn in my column tuesday morning – but sometimes it was wedneday night. Shit happens. Accept it, don’t beat yourself up, and look towards next week because it’s another chance to improve and hit that deadline.

    It has taught me to write from both my heart AND my head. And if you’ve read all my columns, you’ll know sometimes I write from a place that’s even further South. But that’s okay – because they are all parts of you and they all have something to say.

    It has taught me to do my research, know what everyone else is saying and teaching or preaching out there about the business and screenwriting, because it will only serve to inspire. It’s forced me to read others work and question it. It’s taught me that asking for help when you’re stuck or you have writers block or you think you’re just going back to the same well over and over again – is okay. And someone will be there to supply that help. In my case, it’s all of YOU!

    It has taught me that inspiriation can be found in the strangest of places. Not just in pitchfests and meetings and on the page, but in life. So never be so focused that you aren’t seeing the bigger picture, and never think of the big picture so much that you lose sight of the tiny details in front of you.

    It has taught me that not EVERYTHING I write is going to be spun gold. Some of it – is going to really suck. And that’s okay. I’d say out of my 125 articles, there are 25 or so that I’m not THAT proud of or that I didn’t think lived up to my standard. But it’s better to persevere and get it done than to pray for poetry every time. Because it’s not going to happen. Not everything works and not everything connects with the audience you are writing for. And that’s okay because the bad ones only make you feel THAT much better about the great ones.

    And it has taught me to use what I’ve written to make other things happen for me. I’ve turned some of my articles into full-fledged classes and workshops and I turned many of them into my book, No B.S. for Screenwriters.

    When I started writing my column, I told Marvin Acuna (who runs BOSI) that I didn’t think I’d be able to come up with more than 6 months worth of material.  I was wrong. And I have all of you to thank for that (take that however you’d like haha).  But I look forward to the next 100…one week at a time. And I hope this has helped you look at your writing in a different way.

    For my 100th Column, I recorded a special video recapping my experiences at the recent Great American Pitchfest. If you would like to read (or rather watch) my 100th BOSI video column, please click here – http://bit.ly/klb0HF

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