Below is another excerpt that is-was helpful to me. It’s a reminder to do me. It’s taken from The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, Insider Secrets from Hollywood’s Top Writers, by Karl Iglesias. It’s divided into six parts, Passions, Creativity, Discipline, Storycraft, Marketing, The Four Ps. The section below is taken from Part 1, Chapter 5-15, Commitment to Education. I go back and read certain sections of the book from time to time. It’s aimed for screenwriters in particular, but a lot of it applies to writers in general.
Ron Bass: When I was a freshman at Stanford, I took a literature course on the American novel taught by a famous novelist, a real writer, big guy, hard drinking, who’d talk about his days with Hemingway and Scott in Paris. I came up to him after class one day and said. “I really want to write fiction. What writing courses should I take?” He said, “Never, ever, ever take a writing course, never read a book about writing, never let anybody tell you how to write. Take literature courses, read, steal, turn everything into your interpretation. As soon as you take a writing course, it’s the beginning of the end, because you establish somebody else as the authority for how you write, and it can’t be. Writing is an art, it comes individually out of you. I couldn’t tell you how to write, Fitzgerald couldn’t tell you, Faulkner couldn’t tell you. They may tell you how they write, and you may listen to them and some of that may help you.” My advice is to read screenplays, good ones and bad ones, so you can learn what you don’t want to do, but more importantly, write a lot of stuff. You only learn to write by writing. Write everyday. It shouldn’t be a burden. If it is, you shouldn’t be doing it.
Ron Bass-screenwriter, known for the following. (Passion of Mind, Snow Falling on Cedars, Entrapment, Stepmom, What Dreams My Come, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Waiting to Exhale, Dangerous Minds, When a Man Loves a Woman, The Joy Luck Club, Sleeping with the Enemy, Rain Man, Black Widow.)