John Buchanan of Script Magazine recently laid out the work habits that writers need to have to be successful in the film industry:
Screenwriting is unlike any other professional endeavor. To survive its unique pressures and peculiarities and have a career, you’ll have to master a few fundamental disciplines.
It’s one thing to sell a spec script or complete a first paid assignment for a studio. It’s another thing entirely to establish a reputation as a reliable professional and enjoy a long career as an in-demand Hollywood screenwriter. After the glow of initial success fades out, new writers learn—often painfully—that the requisite capabilities for a working scribe reach far beyond the ability to write crackling dialogue or craft a nifty plot twist. Too often, it’s assumed that talent trumps disciplined, hard work.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Work habits are as important as talent,” says Craig Mazin (The Hangover II, Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4). “You can’t really make it with just half of the equation. The basis for a long career is to be able to have some modicum of talent, but to have a good work ethic. And that’s because writing is a hard thing to do. It seems as simple as tapping on a keyboard, but it’s not. It’s difficult, both emotionally and physically.”