- Learn screenplay structure. You'll always get lost in the sauce somewhere around sequences 5 and 7, if that's where you get lost now. Or you'll always start Act Two with a skip instead of a leap. Whatever problems you have will remain, but learning screenplay structure will get you over the hurdles quicker, and you'll know what you're looking at.
- Be gentle with yourself. Everyone tells you to write every day, and though this is nice advice, as someone with two children and a full-time job, this kind of pressure was deadly for me. There will be days when you don't write. There will be days when you take away more than you put in. Forgive yourself immediately and know that you'll make it right tomorrow or next week.
- Engage your life fully. When I got out of USC grad school, where I went for screenwriting, I was blindsided by a newborn and a husband who was suddenly unemployed. I spent my whole day at work wishing I was home writing. There is nothing more deadening than wishing your life away. If you're a secretary or a postman or a lighthouse keeper, be fully present at your job while you're there. Your life is the greatest story you will ever write. Make it a masterpiece.