How to feel miserable as a Screenwriter

By Corey Mandell • November 1, 2021

1. Remind yourself that successful writers don’t struggle nearly as much as you do.

2. Don’t write if you don’t feel like it.  Wait until tomorrow when maybe you’ll feel like it.

3. Personalize outcomes.  When anyone criticizes your work, realize that they are in fact criticizing you as a person.

4. Ignore your instincts.   Much better to write what other people think you should be writing.

5. Base the success of your entire career on one single project.

6. Believe writing talent is something that you were either born with or not.  Refuse to believe it is something that can be developed.

7. Build in excuses for failure.  Not giving yourself enough time is always a good way to achieve this.

8. Argue for your limitations.

9. Force your characters to do or say things that they wouldn’t really do or say in order to advance your plot or to service some must-follow formula.

10. Hold your work up to standards of perfection.  Especially your first drafts.

11. Define success in ways over which you have no control.

12. Abandon a project once it gets really hard to figure out.

13. Set unachievable and/or overwhelming goals.

14. Complain about the industry and how impossible it is for a new writer to break in.  Surround yourself with other people who believe it too and who will constantly remind you of how difficult it is.



15. Quit.

Corey Mandell

Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Meg Ryan, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Trilogy, Radiant, Kopelson Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures.  Corey is a distinguished instructor at UCLA, where he earned his MFA. He is also a mentor for Film Independent's Screenwriting Lab.  His students have gone on to sell or option scripts to...