One of the best decisions I’ve made in my 30s so far has been deciding to go graduate school. A little under two years ago, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting and television writing at UCLA. The decision to go to graduate school was more significant to me than simply getting a degree. It was the moment at which I committed myself to being a writer and accepted the life of a working writer.
This Friday, I’ll graduate from the UCLA MFA Screenwriting program. But the more exciting night of the week was last night – our Screenwriters Showcase. We celebrated the student screenwriters achievements over the past year, honored winners of a industry judged competition and listened to a guest speaker. This year we were lucky enough to have Graham Moore, Academy Award writer of The Imitation Game (who is only 32, by the way!).
One thought that was echoed throughout last night’s speeches was the advice to focus on process rather than the prize. For us, as writers, that means throwing ourselves into the actual work of writing and to not focus on the money, awards, and recognition. But I think it’s applicable to almost any pursuit in life. You need to truly enjoy and gain value from the “work” of whatever it is your striving for, and not just become fixated on the end goal.
Here’s a picture from tonight’s festivities! As one of the winners, a poster was created for my film. And here’s me alongside the poster for Exposure Therapy.
Now, I’m not quite sure what’s next for me. It’s probably the first time in my life that I have an unplanned chunk of time ahead of me. Of course I’ll be writing, but I’ll also need to find some way to make money as I write. I’ll keep you posted on my journey!