Be the thing, don’t aspire to the thing / by Jared Jones

writersbewriting:

Fake it ‘til you make it. Just do it. Act as if.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot is the idea of aspiring vs doing. Specifically, thinking of yourself as an aspiring [tv/screen/novel/etc] writer vs thinking of yourself as a writer.

It can be hard to call yourself a writer. I still remember the first time someone asked me what I did and I said “writer” with neither apology nor hedge. It was thrilling. But it’s hard for some people to make that mental leap, because of some misguided but deeply-ingrained sense that you have to have achieved a certain level of success to self-apply that label.

The thing is, if you write, if you regularly apply word to page, if writing is what you want to do and you are working toward whatever goals you have, you, my friend and colleague, are a writer.

Our language shapes our thinking, and when we talk about ourselves in terms of “aspiring writer” or “trying to be a writer”, we do the following two things: 

  1. we tell ourselves that we aren’t yet writers, which hinders our internal development, and 
  2. we tell others that we aren’t yet writers, which might hinder our external development.

To see this through a different lens, put yourself in the position of a TV showrunner. You have slots to fill on staff. You need new people in the room. Are you hiring aspiring writers, or are you hiring writers?

In 2016, think of yourself as a writer. Introduce yourself as a writer. Call yourself a writer. Then write, because you are a writer.

Part and parcel of this philosophy, this blog’s name has changed. It is now called Writers be Writing rather than Someday Screenwriter. It’s named the same as my weekly newsletter (sign up) but also it reflects this thinking. I hope to become a regularly-paid, well-employed screen or television writer in the future. But as I have already written many screen and teleplays, and continue to do so, I’m a screenwriter.