I want instant gratification, and I want it now!

Don't be a Veruca
Don’t be a Veruca.

“Hurry up and wait.”

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

“It takes years to become an overnight success.”

“What do you mean you haven’t read it yet? I sent it yesterday!”

You’ve no doubt heard things like these and many others like them before. For a screenwriter, nothing happens as fast as you want it to.

As the contractors and engineers say, “You can have it done right or fast. Which one do you want?”

You might feel like something has to get done or be sent out immediately, but that just ends up being counterproductive. Or worse – has a negative impact. Who among us hasn’t sent out a draft to a potential rep or a contest, only to discover something wrong with it after the fact?

Maybe it’s thinking that the faster you get it out there, the faster the results will come. Those of us who’ve have been doing this for a while know that ain’t how it works. It takes as long as it takes. You can’t force it.

It constantly amazes me to hear writers who claim to have cranked out a first draft of a “surefire hit” in practically no time, don’t do any rewrites, then are dumbfounded when it doesn’t get any responses from the industry or fails to place in a contest. What else would you expect?

You have to learn to control that impulsiveness, and it is not easy. I’ll get an email about a special early bird rate for a contest, and I’ll immediately think “Great!” Then I remind myself that the script’s really not ready yet, and I’d much rather spend the time to work on it until it is. If that means totally missing the contest and entering it next year instead, then that’s fine.

Writing a screenplay is not something you want to rush through. There are so many elements to it, and learning how to do it properly and effectively takes a lot of time.

The only way you can make progress as a writer is to put in the time and effort to be a better writer. It might seem like it’s taking forever, but keep working at it and the results will present themselves before you know it.

2 thoughts on “I want instant gratification, and I want it now!

    • After providing some high-quality notes, a friend said, “Just stop. The script is really good now, and the more tweaking you do on this script will have the opposite effect.”

      So I did. Wasn’t easy, but it was what had to be done.

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