When I made the decision to take a break from screenwriting towards the end of 2013, I thought it was going to be a clear break. In many ways, it has been – I haven’t written anything new or went back and fiddled with any of my screenplays. However, I still get emails from various sectors of the industry (contests, consultants, blogs, production companies, websites, trade papers, etc., etc.) that keep me connected in one way or another. In the vast majority of circumstances, I ignore them – mostly because they’re trying to sell me something (contest fees, consultant fees, books, software). But sometimes I venture forward because they are looking for a script – something that I might have that might fit what they are looking for. That chance is laughable of course because when you’ve been rejected as many times as I have, you just become the teensiest bit jaded and get jolted back to reality and remember why you quit screenwriting (sorry, ‘took a break’) in the first place.
The decision to stop screenwriting and go back to school to get a certificate in technical writing at the end of 2013 is still the touchstone moment for shaking me out of my spec screenwriting fantasy world. As I have stated in a previous post, you can only stand bashing your head against a brick wall and getting kicked in the head so much before it starts to wear on you. That was one reason for my decision, but it wasn’t the biggest one.
As you get older, you worry more and more about the future and what it may or may not hold. As a result, you get a little antsy at your ‘job job’ and realize that nothing is secure anymore. That’s the feeling that befell me and led me to take action to secure my future because the screenwriting ship hasn’t come in for me. In fact, it may be stuck on a sandbar just off the coast somewhere.
I’m a writer. I always have been and I always will be. I will never be a real journalist (or what a real journalist should be – good) because I’m too opinionated and will never be able to be truly objective about anything. Trying my hand at novel writing is still one of my life goals, but it is just as big a shot in the dark as screenwriting. So, after doing some research on what kind of career I could use my writing skills while providing for my future in a relatively steadily growing field, I chose technical writing. I have a pretty good grasp of technical things and appreciate the appearance of good design and layout, so that is what I chose.
It’s stressful trying to work full time and going to school part time, as I discovered when I was completing my first course. That is the reason why I semi-retired from screenwriting. Something had to give. That was it. I can’t work, go to school and concentrate on screenwriting (including promoting myself) at the same time. I tried and it didn’t work. I’m not quitting. That would be the easy way out. I’m saying that I’m “putting it on the back burner” for now. I’ll still keep my eye open for opportunities as they come along, but as for ‘going for it’ and writing another screenplay – I’m done – for this year at last.
But I have to admit that screenwriting has got a hold on me. As much as I want to be a successful screenwriter, and as much as I want it to go far, far away from me right now, it won’t let go because I’ve been bitten by the screenwriting bug. Perhaps I should have swatted it away after I wrote my first screenplay and moved on with my life. But I let it sit on me, then burrow under my skin as I wrote screenplay after screenplay. Now, it’s too late. Although I have successfully resisted its call while I work on my education, after I complete my current educational endeavor, I’m sure it will rear its ugly head again.
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