(Ed. Note: Entry originally entitled “The Exploding Blogosphere”. Changed to “Scribosphere” courtesy of Craig Mazin. See below.)
Nobody knows nothing. When I started The Thinking Writer about four years ago, I coded each page in HTML and recoded the home page every time I added an article. It was time consuming and it had no ability for reader comments. I had never heard of a blog. A few years later, I discovered blogging software. Poof – the new Thinking Writer was born. When I first put up this blog, I located only one other screenwriting blog, johnaugust.com. If there were more, they were pretty well hidden.
Flash-forward to today and the screenwriting blogosphere is exploding. From A-list writers (like the folks at Artful Writer) to a guy who read a hack book on how to write “Screenplays That Sell” and is about to start his first draft of his first idea (link omitted) to those in between (including me), everyone has something to say about screenwriting. It seems that it’s much easier to “be a screenwriter” on your blog than to actually make a living writing movies.
And everyone is offering advice….
Do these people (including me) know anything? Well, not really. Even at the A-lister level, they can’t agree on much. At least they’ve proven they can write and build a career. But they haven’t proven they can show you how to do it. Then there are those with a modicum of experience (like me) who sound like we know a lot. It’s just a writing trick, really. None of us has any magic answers. Then there are the complete amateurs who’ve never worked in Hollywood, never sold a script, sometimes never even really written a script. Still, they have a lot of advice to give, too. And they are more certain than any of us of the right answers.
So is any of this noise worth anything?
Well…sure it is. Listen to everything and everyone. Stay inside the conversation of screenwriting. Pick up ideas wherever you can. You never know when someone will say something that makes a difference. (I heard something from Craig Mazin just the other day that made a difference for me. He said that he considers the job to be writing movies, not writing screenplays. Nice distinction.)
But here’s the kicker. If you’re not writing, the advice means nothing because none of it translates directly into execution. You can’t tell a damn in the thinking about writing. It’s not like computer programming, where you learn a principle and simply use logic to apply it later. No, writing is like playing piano. You must do it to learn it. In the doing, you find out if the advice held any benefit.
So next time you read some great advice here or on any writing blog, just know, we don’t know. We only think we know. And we only think we know what works for us. The only way for you to know what works for you is to do. Look, learn, then do…and do and do and do….
Got it? Good. Now go write.