“Keep working. Stay positive. Keep focused. Believe in yourself and your talent.”
We’re all familiar with these platitudes and they do help to keep the required energy and momentum going to sustain the constant battle to build a scriptwriting career. However, you’re only human. We can’t live life on a linear track of enthusiasm and optimism. With every up, there is a down, and with every surge of euphoria over a positive response, there is a wave of disappointment from the latest rejection.
Picking yourself up with the usual platitudes can feel empty and pointless. This can lead to a trench of stress and frustration which can prove difficult to climb out of in order to charge towards that battle line once again.
So, how do we cope? How do we rid these screenwriting blues and get on the positive track once more? Here are a few ways:
The tried and tested comfort for the beleaguered writer. Alcohol conveniently provides a dual purpose for social indulgence: drink when you’ve got good news, drink when you’ve got bad news. It can also help to perk you up at your computer when you’re flagging at the end of the day. It’s no wonder that a lot of writers have drinking problems. The temptation to go to the pub at lunch and just stay there is an urge that must be resisted. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to be said for just ‘getting pissed’ (in normal social hours) to alleviate the stress and disappointment of a recent rejection. However, if you’ve got a bottle of whiskey on your desk at 10am, seek some help.
CHAT WITH OTHER WRITERS:
No-one feels or understands your writer-pain better than another writer. They have the strongest empathy because they’re in the exact same position as you. They know what it’s like, the effort it takes, and how the rejections completely suck. They understand the creative impetus that burns in your very soul. Buy them lunch and let loose about that inept script editor or exec. Even better, the writer may buy you lunch to help ease your stress. If you can’t meet the writer, email them for a general chat. Better still, start a blog and rant all you like. Chilling out (getting drunk) with friends or your husband, girlfriend/boyfriend/partner works on a similar vibe.
In the immortal words of Zammo: Just Say No. Personally, I’m not very good with this kind of recreation, it does little to help me relax or feel elated. But you know, it works for some people, so whatever rocks your boat. But Zammo knows best.
Are you so angry you just got to scream, shout and hit something? Whoa there big fella. Don’t do it in your office, you’ll end up with a broken computer and a smashed screen, and that’s not going to help is it? You’ll just end up out of pocket. The urge to smash items that are intrinsically linked to the focus of your anger can be strong but you need to remove it, and unleash your frustration on something else. Go out the back, hang up that dusty rug and give it a good bash while you curse every intern, script editor and exec who has dared to deem your work not good enough.
A more positive alternative to the violent rage option. Loud music is a winner. Shouting the lyrics is a great release too. A personal stereo is a bit more introspective but can provide the lift that’s needed as you listen to your favourite tracks.
Music and exercise would be ideal, but exercise by itself is naturally good. Don’t like the gym? Can’t swim? You can walk can’t you? A sprightly twenty minute turn around the block will clear your head (and the personal stereo will work wonders with this). Fresh air invigorates the body, feeds the brain. Get out. Walk it off.
Now. Feel better? Good. Keep working. Stay positive. Keep focused. Believe in yourself and your talent. You’ll get there.