How I Became a TV Writer

by | Jun 5, 2022 | Coaching For Creatives

Breaking into the TV and Film industry can be daunting and filled with fear.

For me, it was the fear that I’d fail and disappoint my parents.  I believed that failure was inevitable because I was introverted, a Haitian immigrant, and a woman. 

But then I thought about what it’d be like if I did nothing. In five years, I’d still be in the same day job. That thought filled me with so much dread that suddenly, failing wasn’t nearly as scary as staying

When I changed my perspective, all of a sudden, instead of being paralyzed by fear, I was mobilized by it. 

There is no one way to break in, but here are 5 things I did that helped me make the leap from 9-5 to TV Writer. 

I Made a Plan

You don’t have to move to a big city to become a screenwriter, but you will have to take action. When making your plan, evaluate your circumstances and weigh your options. Whether you have a little to lose or a lot, the weighing must be done all the same.

Grab a notebook and make a list of all the reasons you can’t pursue what you want then brainstorm ways to get around those obstacles. Where can you go from where you’re at? What can you do with what you’ve got? 

I Started Small

Many times the dream feels so big and the road looks so long that we get overwhelmed and would rather not bother getting started at all. But the trick is to break down your goal into small manageable pieces. Start with the simplest, most attainable step. Then take the next small step, and the next one, and the next one.

My journey started with a level 0 improv class at The People’s Improv Theater. Then I set a goal to cobble together my first five minutes of stand-up. The next goal was to polish that five, get it on tape, and submit it to stand-up shows around New York City.

Breaking down your goals is a nice little trick that helps you stop thinking about the distance so you can focus on the process. 

I Immersed Myself

Do your best to jump in with both feet. Be fully committed to your goal. If you’ve got one foot in and one foot out you’ll fail to build momentum, which will lead to feeling stagnant and stuck. 

I Embraced Failure as Feedback

Success is wonderful and validating but your failures contain vital information. Failure can be a compass that guides you to your next steps. They tell you where you stand and where your skills are.

There truly is no success without failure. Don’t shy away from it, seek it out. Embrace it as the feedback you need to make your next move.  

I Created My Best Work and Put It Out There

That script or series you created doesn’t do you any good sitting on your computer’s desktop. If you like what you’ve created and feel like it’s a good representation of your voice, then don’t lock it away, get it out there. 

The Bottom Line

There’s tons of advice out there on how to break into television, but these were the things that I did that got me to where I wanted to go. The bottom line is, don’t let fear stop you from taking action.

Life is calling.

Get out there. Get to work.


Are you pursuing a career as a screenwriter?

Check out The Werking Writer School, an immersive 5-week course that teaches new and aspiring screenwriters how to navigate the creative side of the industry like a boss.

Screenwriters, make the leap from 9-5 to Hollywood

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Jay B | Writer

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Selam A | Writer

“An honest peek into what being a TV writer is like both on professional and personal fronts.”
– Ann C | Writer & Comedian

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