Farewell to Screenwriting

I’m not writing what I’m writing lightly but recently I officially let go of screenwriting. After two sites in three months either closed or became unavailable to me, I’m walking on. I don’t have the money for a subscription to a site and it’s not worth it to me to make a further investment. I’m done.

Normally that wouldn’t merit a note, but it kind of does because in doing so, I’m acknowledging a truth I’ve wrestled with for at least 10 years but really 15. Screenwriting isn’t fun for me anymore. I get no joy out of it the way I used to. And I’m ready to admit I’m almost doing it out of habit more than out of love.

When did it stop being fun? I can point to the first sign. In college, I had an idea for a screenplay about two people getting stuck in the mountains during a snowstorm. It was a really good, fun idea but I stalled out on it twice. I’d write these really good setups then crash against the rocks the second they were marooned. I still like the idea but I’m not the guy to write it.

I got a couple of scripts written after that. Most are lost. But the two that survive, AETERNA and Fiesta Square are labored, agonized pieces written over a year a piece. They’re not fun pieces. They’re somber, even angry pieces and that wasn’t my intention.

After that, there is a silence. A long, dreadful silence. I tried. God my computer is littered with stubs. But none worked.

And then there’s Unworthy. I still love it. But what was it? A lot of clearing out how I wish my high school days had been. That I wish I’d tackled my insecurities then. And opening up to the bitterness I felt about a lot of my life.

The last time I really think I loved writing was when I wrote The Wingwoman. I was in the throes of a nervous breakdown and writing it let me indirectly deal with those feelings. It was therapy. And it’s crap. I’m sorry but it is.

So I come to my final piece. On This Day was an experiment to try and write a conventional comedy. It’s not bad but it’s not good. It’s too short. It’s therapy again. And after the first act it wasn’t fun.

Those three words say it all. Writing fiction hasn’t been fun for me for a very long time. I wish it was but it’s not. It used to be but now? It’s frustrating and that’s for a very good reason. I have no aptitude for fiction. I love fiction but the skill ain’t there. I have to make my peace with that. If it’s not fun for me and I’m no good at it, then why go on?

Then there’s the issue of how to do so. I like cloud writing software so I can write in peace at the library. First Scripped died and ate my screenplays. Then Writer Duet started charging to write new pieces. Then Amazon Storywriter announced they’d close. I could format myself but it’s agony.

So I’m done. And that’s ok. I’m still writing. Memoir, blogs, etc. But I’ll never be a produced screenwriter and that’s ok. I’m at peace.

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