I have been unsuccessfully trying to write and be a writer for the last ten years. I am definitely not one of those people who write everyday or who enjoy the writing process. I enjoy birthing ideas and trying to figure out ways to play them out. I am constantly coming up with ideas and I love that and thinking of ways to explore different ideas. But I find the actual writing process horrendously lonely and isolating. I am an outgoing person and feel claustrophobic about the writing process. It is always a struggle to get myself to do it and yet I think I am talented.
I went to University and studied screenwriting and have read a ridiculous amount of screenwriting books — i.e., I’m well educated in the art. I easily hold my own in discussions on plot, structure, characterization and the like. I was complimented as being one of the top talents in my class.
Halfway through my education I took a directing class, loved it, and again received a lot of attention for my work. My teacher said I was one of two people in the program who he thought had a good chance in the industry.
So my question is, am I just lazy? Is writing just hard and lonely and that’s it — deal with it? I’m starting to think that maybe I should drop the idea of trying to be a writer turns director and just go for the directing, it being more social and working with people and all.
Is there any kind of barometer for this kind of decision? I’m afraid that as a director I will feel that I’m just directing someone else’s (the screenwriter’s) idea.
Let me rephrase your question in a way that will make the answer obvious:
I hate screenwriting. Should I be a screenwriter? — Scott
You wouldn’t tell someone who hates the ocean to be a sailor, nor an acrophobe to be a tightrope walker. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.
Truth be told, there are times I hate screenwriting, and would rather do almost anything else. It’s a struggle to quit checking my favorite websites and actually get the next scene written. But I really like the life of a screenwriter, and the challenge of putting of a movie on paper. It’s not for everyone, and from what you say, it’s not for you. Which is great. The industry doesn’t need another unhappy screenwriter.
In terms of directing, the vast majority of successful directors aren’t writers. So stop beating yourself up. Get a crew and a camera and shoot something written by a screenwriter who’s happy to be doing it.