Compare the most recent thing you wrote to the very first thing you wrote. How much of a difference is there?
One thing’s for certain: it no doubt took a lot of hard work and learning to get you from your skill level then to what it is now.
But you didn’t do it alone, or in a vacuum. You had help along the way from countless resources. It might have come from a book, a class, a writing group, or the occasional someone with more experience willing to help out.
When I started out, that was me. I got my hands on as many books as I could (the one I still recommend – Story Sense by Paul Lucey). Classes weren’t really an option, so I read a lot of scripts and attended a few seminars and expos when I could. I also had the good fortune to be involved with a few writing groups. A lot of this was also in the early days of the internet, so online resources and networking were nowhere near the levels they are now.
But what definitely helped the most was getting notes and feedback. The more fresh eyes you can get to take a look at your work, the better the end result will be. One stipulation: it depends on who you ask. Specifically, someone who really knows what they’re talking about, and whose knowledge and opinion you trust.
This has made a significant difference for me, such to the point that I now have a core group of trusted colleagues I can rely on for quality notes, and I’ve done my best to return the favor to many of them when possible.
And in recent months, as my network has grown and I connect with more writers, I’ll occasionally get an email asking along the lines of “If it’s not too much trouble, would you take a look at this and let me know what you think?” A script. Some pages. A logline. What have you.
I honestly never expected to be on the receiving end of that question, but, schedule permitting, am always happy to help out when I can. It’s the least I can do. Hopefully my notes will give them the help they need.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but it’s kind of nice to think that I might be able to help somebody in the same way others did for me in the past.