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Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

Remember those stories you heard when you were first becoming a writer about the stacks of rejection letters? So-and-so papered his walls with them. La-dee-da held a bonfire. Those were the days, right? When rejection actually merited a response.

These days, you could die waiting for one. People might say yes, but they almost never bother saying no. And in my experience, this is especially true of literary agents and managers. If what you’ve written doesn’t fit their needs, you’ll probably never hear from them again.

So how do you get better? More specifically: How do you break through the wall of icy silence and hear that long-awaited yes? …

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Photo by Gabriel Sanchez on Unsplash

A few years back, when I made the switch from writing feature films to television scripts, I signed up for an intro-level course in hour-long drama. The teacher was a hip, peppery 50-something who knew everyone’s name within seconds and, before the end of the first class, had given us all a nickname. I was The Daine.

“Everybody hold on — The Daine has something to say.” This was a typical declaration from the teacher when I raised my hand. …

I was convinced antidepressants would kill my writing. What happened instead was beyond anything I imagined.

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The author on a bad day

It’s a warm, sunny morning in Los Angeles. Finches chitter in the palm trees outside my window. Inside, the apartment smells of French-pressed coffee and clean laundry. But I’m standing in the dark bathroom, holding an SSRI pill between my thumb and forefinger, sobbing.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been stalked by depression. Until recently, I’ve always found holistic ways to escape it. Healthy food. Hiking. The full eight hours. And most importantly, writing.

This last is my strongest defense. Day after day, I build a wall of words between myself and the force that pursues me — pursues many of us; I know I’m not unique. I write blogs, stories, scripts, tweets, journal entries — doesn’t matter what, as long as I’m putting words between myself and the beast. …

How to deal with family members who are apathetic about your art.

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Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

I was 26 years old and sitting on a flattened futon in a studio apartment I shared with two friends, an actor and a playwright. The actor and I were reading a scene aloud that I had just written, performing the dialogue of my two new inventions. When we finished, the playwright — a stout, bald man with a piercing gaze and wire-rimmed glasses — broke into a smile. “Wow,” he said. “Keep going.”

No one had ever said that to me before. Not that I could recall, anyway. It made me feel so good that I took it very much to heart. I did keep going. I developed that scene into a one-act play, and the one-act into a full-length, and the play into a feature film. The film script got optioned a couple different times, and I kept at it through the development processes until finally I found a production company that stuck. Then I spent three years working with them, continually revising and polishing the story until at last, the film got made. All told, my movie’s journey from the futon to the big screen took approximately five years. …

Surviving as a professional writer is way more complicated than that.

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Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Approximately 700 years ago when I thought I wanted to be a copywriter, I went to a seminar where one of the speakers was the head of marketing for Coke.

I remember nothing about that time in my life except this woman. She was short, slim, dynamic, with glorious brown hair and a Colgate smile. She was wearing a white shirt with a red blazer. …


Meagan Daine

Multimedia storyteller specializing in alternative coming-of-age tales about diverse characters in extraordinary circumstances. TV, film, podcasts, nonfiction.

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