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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hal Chester


If you are a writer, specifically a screenwriter, you must have heard the phrase "Keep writing!" It's always said in a cheerful way. No doubt this phrase is meant to encourage you when you are struggling to create something. But the phrase never resonated with me. I was always writing, whether it was journaling, or editing (often other people's writing) or sending out letters, or whatever it was that required me to stitch words together to have some kind of impact. That said, I have still found myself gripped with fear and anguish and questioning whether I am wasting my time. For most of my life I have had to fight negative voices and a lingering depression. I feel like I'm always being ganged up on by memories from the past... maybe you know the ones... about inadequacy, pointlessness, futility -- you name it, I've been there.

But at the same time, I strongly believed I had some degree of talent. That belief finally paid off, after many years, and I can now say I have 8 produced feature films. They are all indie productions. I am not rich or famous. I don't care. I set a goal and I achieved it: to be a working screenwriter. However, the next job is not guaranteed. Nothing is. Nothing is except my belief that I have something worth saying. I still struggle with negative voices and depression. It gnaws at me and sometimes attempts to pull me down into the darkness. But I have resisted it and I have survived. And I guess what I want to say to any of you who are trying to do this, "Keep going."

Keep going when others tell you to give it up (I was told on numerous occasions that I was wasting my time). Keep going when others say you're "too old." (My hero on this point is David Seidler, who won an Oscar at 73 for "The King's Speech.") Keep going when others say, "Nobody cares about that story." (My hero on this point is also David Seidler, who wrote the immortal line, "I have a voice!") I have to remind myself of that every day. "I have a voice" is what draws me to the page, even when I'm filled with fear and dread. My voice has value, whether it's writing a Lifetime melodrama or a personal screenplay based on my inner turmoil. Half the battle of being a writer is actually showing up and putting fingers on keys or pen to paper. If you've reached the end of this blog entry, then hats off to you. You know somewhere in your heart that you must keep going. Wherever you are at on your journey, I encourage you not to turn around and run back. Keep going. Keep going, head in the direction of the light, follow your voice, your passion. And do not let others dissuade you.

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Sep 11, 2023

David Hal - thanks for another inspiring post!

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