One of the foremost problems that new writers who are intent on breaking into the literary world face is the quick realization that there is tremendous competition. Sadly, many aspiring writers who are not cognizant of the nature of their profession end up quickly demoralized, as they see that their writing is not reaching an audience, not being published, and being heavily critiqued by those who do read it.
I started my writing career primarily as a poet. My friend Russell Jaffe offered me the opportunity to open at his poetry reading if I were to write a few poems, and I took him up on the offer. I realized, free from the constraints of an organized creative writing program, that I had some talent. From there, I started writing many poems. Later on, I was able to get many of them published once I realized how to find and effective target literary magazines.
After finding success as a poet, I was desirous of publishing short fiction. I was working four different positions at an academic institution, spread out over six days. I didn’t have much time or energy left to write when I was off work. My opportunity came when a friend of mine who believed in my writing offered me free housing in rural Pennsylvania and also promised to edit my writing. I took her up on that offer, producing an assortment of short stories that met my standards and were able to get published.
At present, I am a communications partner for a new startup. My duties entail that I be responsible for producing any accompanying books related to the startup once it goes public, in addition to more mundane duties related to day-to-day correspondence and copywriting. As anyone who has previous experience with entrepreneurship knows, sometimes it can take a bit of time for a venture to go public. Being that I lead a pretty Spartan lifestyle, one that is supported through freelancing my services as an editor and publishing consultant, and that the startup needs some time before it can reach fruition, I have a significant amount of downtime. During this time, I have been writing screenplays.
The reason that I’ve chosen to write screenplays, again, boils down to opportunity. My cousin Andrew Friedman works at FOX. He regales me with fabulous stories of parties with Method Man and Seth Rogen. His mother worked for 25 years in sales at Paramount Pictures. Furthermore, my girlfriend Lauren Rubin, as a graduate of Vassar College, has an assortment of high-powered contacts in the film industry. Her mother, Joanne Larson, through her business dealings, also has access to a multitude of producers and other film professionals. This access, and the potential for serious rewards from success as a screenwriter, has led me to conclude that this is the perfect opportunity for me now.
So, in short, to quickly ascend as a writer, leverage any existing opportunities immediately.
If you are unsure of the nature of the opportunities around you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who do I know who has offered to help me?
- Who do I know who has a foothold in any way in the writing community? Would they be willing to help me if I asked them?
- Are there any opportunities local to your area or current life related to a particular type of writing?
I wish you success in capitalizing on your opportunities.