Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Life of a Writer

Shonda Rhimes

Lesson time 08:07 min

Writing is not just a profession; it is a way of life. Shonda discusses the issue of "work/life balance" and the physical and mental habits to survive a writer's life.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Work/Life Balance • Belonging in the Room • Writing Every Day


The sentence I don't like the most to hear from people is, I want to be a writer. You either are a writer or you're not a writer. You may not be a working writer, but you either are a writer or you're not a writer. It's like when people say I want to be a singer. Either you can sing or you can sing, right? You either be write or you don't. So to me it's just, you're a writer. Go write. Prove yourself to be a writer. Nobody has to pay you in order to write. You have to just find the time and do it. Even if you have like, five kids and you work a job, you can find 10 minutes a day to write something down. Really, you really can. And it doesn't have to be the greatest thing in the world. You don't have to be the most thrilled by it. But you have to be able to access your creative space even just 10 minutes a day for yourself, even if you're just waiting for people to like-- your kids, put them all in the bathtub and you write for 10 minutes a day. Or you're on the subway, you write for 10 minutes a day. Whatever it is, find yourself a little bit of time to write every single day. I'm sure there are excuses that are acceptable for not writing every day, absolutely. But once again, I say a writer is someone who writes every day. So if you're not going to write every day, then you cannot call yourself a writer. You just can't. And it's fine, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's just, it's the idea that you need to make peace with that reality. You can decide that you're not going to write every day, and there is nothing wrong with not writing every day. But then don't run around and call yourself an aspiring writer, because if you really wanted to be a writer, that is what you would be doing. I don't think you ever find a work-life balance. And I think it's a falsehood to make anybody feel like they're supposed to find a work-life balance. There's no good way to be a great mother and to be great at your job at the same time and to feel like you are going to kill it at both and be amazing at both and never feel guilty about shirking one duty or another. Work-life balance is a lie that we are fed to make us feel bad about ourselves, I feel like. It doesn't exist. There are always going to be times when you feel like a terrible mother, and there are always going to be times when you feel like you're terrible at your job. That is just how it goes. Also for most women, going to work is not an option. So I always feel like this how do you achieve work-life balance thing is really disingenuous. Most women have to go to work to feed their families, to pay their bills. I am fortunate that I have a great job and I'm excited, but most women have to go to work to feed their families and pay their bills. So I wouldn't suggest that it's sort of like a work-life balance thing is a choice, it's not a choice. You h...

About the Instructor

When Shonda Rhimes pitched Grey’s Anatomy she got so nervous she had to start over. Twice. Since then, she has created and produced TV’s biggest hits. In her screenwriting class, Shonda teaches you how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, and stand out in the writers’ room. You’ll also get original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows. Welcome to Shondaland.

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Shonda Rhimes

In 6+ hours of video lessons, Shonda teaches you her playbook for writing and creating hit television.

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