I don’t know about you but I’m working every angle I can to make it as a writer.
How about you?
Yes, I’ve had a little success — however, I’m waiting for that level of success where you get to stop pushing that ball up the hill, and get to the point where you push it over the hill’s crest, and it rolls like crazy down the other side. I don’t expect to do any less work at that point. (I love writing, and collaborating.) I just expect to spend more of my time working on a paying job, instead of looking for a paying job. Can I hear an amen?
I’ll assume you’re with me on this one.
It does seem to be the quest of every freelancer — and writers are freelancers, even when we take more control of our work — to find that next job, network for that next connection or strategize for that new opportunity. That’s just the way it works. Even after you make it in Hollywood, you keep having to make it in Hollywood. So, before this gets depressing… 🙂 … let’s look at one good strategy to crest that hill, and become a well-paid working writer.
Take one fantastic idea and work it on multiple writing platforms!
Ta-da! I really need sound effects. A crashing boom or something. This tactic definitely rates a little fanfare. It comes from the world of journalism. Conventional wisdom tells journalists to research, research, research. (They’re journalists, aren’t they? Their stories need solid facts!) All that research, however, takes valuable time. So, to make all that time payoff, journalists are taught to use the research for multiple articles. Don’t just write one story about high school graduation rates. Write a version geared to the parents. Write a version aimed at motivating students. Twist those facts and figures to several markets, whether it be magazines, newspapers or blogs. That’s what they teach journalists.
It works for creative writing, too!
I’m using the same philosophy for screenwriting. Currently, I’m working on a contained thriller idea as a feature film script, as well as a book serial. And since book serials are structured like television shows, I can also pitch the idea as a television show.
How does this help me? It saves an incredible amount of time. I don’t have to research the story concept, but I do have to plot it out. Once the plotting is done, however, it is easy to apply it to different formats. I’m in the process of writing a screenplay and the first installment in a book series, based on the same concept. I started with the book, and found it easy to turn the first five chapters into Act One of the screenplay. After that first spark, I got down to business and outlined the whole thing. It required referencing the needs of each format, however that only enhanced the storyline.
I would caution that you need to know all the formats you are writing in, but don’t be afraid to try a new one. If you’re a feature writer, try television. If you’re a TV writer, try book serials. It’s amazing how shifting between the different formats makes you look at the story in a different way. It can make your storytelling even better! Best of all, you’re taking a great concept and finding multiple ways to get it noticed. And multiple ways to promote your work.
Just something to think about.