The most lasting “habit” I think I’ll keep for myself from The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters has to do with how I think of my work.
At some point—I can’t find the spot—one of the writers said that writing is scary, and that it helps temper the fear by thinking that you’re doing it for money. I think there is something in that.
The other suggestion that I’m going to keep in mind is that when I finish the first draft of The Next Novel, I could work on another project. I could go back to puzzling over the plot of my abandoned novel on La Grande Mademoiselle, or develop any number of other stories that I would love to write. It’s important to put a draft aside for a long period of time, but that doesn’t mean everything comes to a halt.
Another screenwriter advised thinking of your writing as a corporation: you’re expected to show up and get to work. These practical thoughts have stayed with me. Lately, I’ve been telling myself, “I had a good day at the office today.” Or, “I have to get back to the office.”
So: if I’m not here, it’s because I’m at the office.