Lynette, thank you for your candor (and, being that candor is going for $100 an
ounce in the open market these days, I especially appreciate yours). I
know it's not easy to admit to yourself that you're getting tired of something
that you know you love doing. Actually, I'm very glad you mentioned it
because I'm sick and tired of writing this tedious e-mail column every
week. So I quit.
Ahhh. I feel much, much better now. I think I'll quit more
often. Even though I only quit for a few blank lines, it still felt
refreshing to not have to write for a while (albeit a short one). I think
this quitting business could definitely catch on. Screenwriters could
quit. Literary agents wouldn't have any scripts to read so they would
quit. Producers would quit. Studios would quit. In fact, why
don't we all quit right now? I want you to go to your windows now, each
and every one of you, and shout, "I'm mad as hell and... I quit!"
I have reached that place, that "burn out" moment, when I haven't
even wanted to see or hear about another script. When that has happened,
I've realized (hopefully soon or later or I could find myself dancing around a
bonfire of flaming scripts, chanting "We Are The Champions") that I've
over-extended myself, gone too far too soon (or something like that).
"What have I done when that has occurred?" you ask. Good
question (although I'm the one who really asked it). What I've done, which
has always helped immensely when I've been in that situation, is... quit.
No, not really. Well, in a way... really. It's a form of
quitting. What you actually quit is the pressure. Or, better yet,
you simply let it go. You release this "have to" kind of
thinking from your consciousness. For that's what's really bothering you;
that's what's at the heart of wanting to quit what you love. There's been
so much "have to" that you forgot about the "love to."
I, personally, love to be around screenplays: writing them; analyzing
them; stacking them one by one to make big piles of "unproduced"
works. It's such fun. Once I saw my first screenplay, I fell in
love. (Yes, we do have our problems, which actually started in the very
beginning when I heard the pastor ask me those inimitable words, "Do you,
DcH, take this screenplay to be your lawful wife, to compose and to analyze, to
create and to polish 'till final draft do you rewrite?" But we get
by.) But the work, any work with screenplays (or any writing form, for
that matter) can be hard work at times. (I think it was Shakespeare who
said, "If I see one more sonnet, I'm going to stick my quill pen in my
heart and call it a day.") That's important to remember:
Writing, as wonderfully creative and fulfilling a gift it can be, it can also be
HARD. Just plain hard. And when it's
hard, I recommend you take breaks and juxtapose your "hard" with
"easy." Take walks; take baths; take other peoples' scripts so
you don't have to write so much. Whatever you do, be gentle with
yourself. If you need to take a break from screenwriting, by all means, do
And when you come back to it, you'll feel refreshed and ready to give it
Or you'll just quit.
Either way, no more worries.