Adjust Your Screenwriter Self-O-Stat


Do you dream about screenwriting, but don’t do anything about it?

Are your SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS paralyzing you?

Were you always told (implicitly or explicitly) that writing screenplays (or anything other than a “normal” job) is too hard?

Writing a script is hard. Damn hard. But that’s no reason to not live your dream. In fact, it’s a reason to embrace it. With both hands.

Our primary ego state of cognitive development lasts until ages 2-3 in most children. Until that time their sole purpose is it eat, sleep and seek comfort. They unconsciously imbibe subtle messages of self worth and achievement from their parents, but have yet to solidify them into thoughts and feelings.

By age 7, children enter their next ego state, at which time, they have developed the ability to reason, a sense of identity and validity. Most of these values are imprinted into your unconscious mind by age 7. Too many negative values can be the root cause of our self-limiting beliefs about why you can’t be a successful screenwriter: I’m too old, I’m afraid of failure (and success), I don’t have any industry connections, the odds are overwhelming, I’m insecure, I don’t have an agent, I don’t have time to write…

Let me tell you my screenwriting friends, once these negative beliefs are galvanized in your mind, you will continue to engage in destructive, self-sabotaging behaviors to validate these warbled beliefs. Mostly without being aware of it.

Psychologists believe that this sub-conscious imprinting of your belief systems affects our conscious limiting beliefs, which are misconstrued as reasons (excuses), but are really symptoms.

Our belief systems (not reality) affect our judgment and emotional responses to both familiar and unfamiliar situations. The main hormones responsible for fear, stress and anxiety are adrenaline, noradrenaline and various catecholines which elicit the fight-flight-freeze physiological responses. These are primal defensive mechanisms which don’t serve our creativity or ability to write screenplays.

Calm, rational artists (yes we do exist) dispense with panic, anger and negativity and replace them with positive, constructive thoughts. Key hormones associated with pleasure and calmness are endorpins, dopamine and oxytocin. The first a released during orgasm, the second during cocaine intake and the final one is found in breast milk (equals a happy baby and happy screenwriter).

Successful people make a conscious decision to decouple themselves from negative beliefs and emotions. We can all reconfigure our neural pathways to promote positive thoughts. Then we can focus and make sensible decisions.

Be aware of opportunities around you and enjoy the liberation of positive thinking. Be realistic. You will not sell your first screenplay.

Don’t despair about what you can’t control. You can’t force anyone to like, let alone buy your script. All you can do is keep writing and project the real you into the world. The most successful writers are the most amenable, loved ones.

Don’t seek validation from anyone other than yourself. Validation from others is a bonus, not a necessity.

Stand out from the crowd. This doesn’t mean manifesting attention-seeking behavior. Be unique. Live outside the box, but be aware of its existence. You need to know how the industry works.

Live your dream. Don’t miss it.

Love yourself.

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