Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

How Good Amateur Writers Can Become Great Professional Writers

Every professional writer was once an amateur who didn’t quit. I’m sure you’ve heard that quote before, and at the heart of it is the notion that to go pro, you have to keep your sights set on being great (and not just at writing, but that’s for another blog post). Pros are not just considered so because they get paid. I don’t think payment should be a condition at all. Real writing pros are the people who don’t stop at good enough.

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So, how do you take your writing craft from good to great, amateur to professional? Practice makes perfect, says screenwriter, journalist, author, and podcaster Bryan Young.

“The thing that I think makes a writer go from good to great is practice and honing their craft, consistently striving to get better, to learn more,” Bryan began. “If anyone ever tells you that they’ve learned everything they can about any discipline, it means that they’ve probably peaked, and they’re never going to get to be great.”

Always be learning. Always be trying to push yourself and push your boundaries, whether that’s in a screenplay or anything else.
Bryan Young
Screenwriter & Journalist

At SoCreate, we apply this greatness principle to everything we do. It’s important for us always to be reaching for excellence. We believe it sets SoCreate apart from other companies; from content to team interactions, to equipment, to the way we name our files, we are always trying to do it better and learn along the way. As a screenwriter, you should be doing the same.

Bryan spends a couple of hours every morning honing his craft, which doesn’t always mean he’s writing. He could be reading the trades, making connections, learning a new tool, or brushing up on his favorite screenplays and why they work. He said he’ll never know everything.

“Always be learning,” Bryan told us. “Always be trying to push yourself and push your boundaries, whether that’s in a screenplay or anything else. You’re going to find that maybe you’ll cross that great threshold, but you’re always going to have more to learn."

Key Differences Between Amateur and Professional Screenwriters:

  • Professional writers never stop trying to achieve new things, and they value consistency. Amateur writers stop trying after they achieve a goal and practice inconsistently.

  • Professional writers know that their work can always be better. Amateur writers think they’re already great and know everything.

  • Professionals writers know how to accept, analyze, and implement feedback, and they think of feedback as an opportunity to learn. Amateur writers get defensive and try to justify their work.

  • Professional writers analyze their own work, where things went wrong and where things went well, and always improve their processes. Amateur writers don’t have a process.

  • Professional writers look ahead. Amateur writers focus on short term goals only.

  • Professional writers build up other writers and support them. Amateur writers unproductively criticize and tear others down.

  • Professional writers accept responsibility for their writing craft and don’t blame others or make excuses. Amateur writers have every excuse in the book not to write, and they don’t hold themselves accountable for their actions.

  • Professional writers learn something new every day. Amateur writers don’t make time for learning.

“Being thirsty for knowledge is really, really how I would say a writer can go from good to great,” Bryan concluded.

So, which type of writer will you be?

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