Skip to main content

The 5 Keys to Being Unstoppable in Your Screenwriting Career

By Shawn Tolleson, Career Coach

You know what it feels like to be unstoppable in you career. Everything is clicking. Your hard work is paying off. You make new relationships almost effortlessly. People return your calls, and they do it quickly!

Instead of putting 100 (phone calls, submissions, emails, etc.) out and getting one back if you’re lucky, you put three or four out to get one back.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t feel like this most of the time. And, let’s face it, you don’t know how to create this kind of momentum in your career! If you’re not careful, you can go days, weeks, even months or years being stuck and missing opportunities to accomplish the career of your dreams.

So, what does it take to be unstoppable, really?

Great question.

Here are the 5 Keys to Being Unstoppable in Your Screenwriting Career:

  • A crystal clear vision for your career
  • A strategic plan to accomplish it
  • A passionate team supporting you
  • Consistent, powerful execution of your plan
  • Overcoming obstacles quickly to get back into powerful action

Let’s talk about what each of these means, practically.

A crystal clear vision means a laser-specific, concretely articulated career goal. You should be able to answer the question of what you want any time you are asked. You should have it posted above your workspace, on your screensaver, anyplace you can look at it and be guided and inspired by it.

Most of the time we are not crystal clear. Our goal is to write for TV, to sell a screenplay, or publish a novel. These are not bad goals (certainly better than nothing!), but they are not laser-specific. Here’s an example of one of the above in crystal clear form: “By DATE I will be hired as a staff writer on a cable or network primetime, hour-long, award-caliber drama that I love.” See the difference?

A strategic plan means a clear, broken down, step by step plan for accomplishing your goal. Your plan should include milestones every month, and action steps for you to take in the short term.

But, you might ask, I don’t know how to do it! Yes, that’s true. And that’s where a mentor or coach is critical to help you strategize your plan. But here’s the thing to know… everyone who wants to start a business or do something they haven’t done before has the same challenge: what’s the plan? Not knowing how to do it makes it even more important that you strategize your plan.

A passionate team supporting you means exactly that. Even if you’re a writer writing alone, you’ll need a team around you to get your work out into the marketplace and made into a film, webseries or TV show. This means representation, yes, but it also means mentors, accountability buddies, true believers, and more. Avoid the trap of being overly fixated on representation, as if an agent holds the keys to the kingdom. They don’t. And, you’ll need to do 90% for every 10% they do.

Consistent, powerful execution means that you work your plan consistently. You don’t pendulum swing from fits of productivity to lulls where barely anything gets done. There are ways to maintain consistency and they include accountability partners, writing groups, coaching groups, mastermind groups, and more. But, you can’t just hope you’ll be consistent. You’ve got to put a structure in place to make you be consistent!

Overcoming obstacles means how you deal with rejection or changes or set-backs. Do you skulk away to lick your wounds for weeks or months? Or, do you learn from the set-backs, improve your game, and get back out on the playing field?

Do you choose to blame or to learn? Do you choose to make lemonade or lament having a bunch of lemons? Having tools to manage obstacles effectively and get back into action is a big part of being unstoppable and, ultimately, successful.

Watch ScriptMag Editor Share Her Advice on Facing Your Writing Fears

Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares her personal story of facing her fears in order to propel her writing and her career. Click on the image below to watch Jeanne's advice.



Don't Miss Shawn's Webinar How to Ace a Meeting with an Executive, Producer or Agent

Screenwriting Webinar from The Writers Store

Purchase Now!

screenwriting career

At a Glance:

  • Learn what to do so you can walk out of a meeting knowing everything went well
  • Learn how to feel more comfortable sharing yourself at parties and networking events
  • Learn tried-and-true tools to ace the meeting, elevator pitch, or phone call every time