There is an old story that goes something along the lines of this.
A man goes to a dinner party hosted by some successful friends. He is surrounded by lots very financially successful people - bankers, brokers, salesmen, property magnets the lot. Invariably, after dinner comes the brandy and cigars and the politer version of "how big is yours".
The Property Magnet says "I bought some land last June for peanuts, built 30 apartments on it and made over £10m profit on the deal. That my friends is success"
The Banker, taking a big ole swig of the Brandy, says "I charge people to look after their money. And when they aren't looking I invest it on the stock market - making myself and my board a heap of money. That my friends is success"
The Salesman, puffing on his stoggie, splutters "That's not success, that is mere speculating. Anyone can gamble. I worked my ass off prospecting, selling and getting deals in for my company. I got 25% commission on each sale I made. I worked hard, I sweated and that my friends is success"
The writer, tired of all the fluff, bluster and second hand smoke turned round and said "You want to know success? I spent under £5 on raw materials and made over £1m. That my friends is success"
Impressed, despite themselves, the others looked incredulous.
"What did you spend the £5 on?" squeaked the Banker.
The writer, quick as a flash, reached into his pocket and pulled out a pencil and a notebook laying them on the table with a flourish.
Then, the reality
Of course, what our writer didn't tell them is how much he'd spent on the perphipharies of writing.
You know the things -the screenwriting courses, the script coverage, the writing software, the books, the festivals, the hotel rooms, the competition entry fees, the nights out, the networking, the rejection letter whisky, the loss of traditional earnings...need I go on?
And then there is the emotional cost - the isolation, the nights out with friends lost because of the deadlines, the guilt when you forget birthdays and anniversaries, the innate selfish behaviour you display to slavishly return to your computer every day...you may not be able to add it up in pounds and pence but believe me it exacts a price.
Is it worth it?
That depends on you. How much mental energy you're are willing to expend crafting story after story to have them rejected? How much time you are willing to spend in bars and at festivals chatting to people that have their own agenda? How much time you are willing to give this dream of yours before you pack it in?
If I could speak to myself way back in my mid teens there is part of me that would want to pose the question "What are you willing to pay - financially & emotionally - to achieve this dream?". There is another part of me that knows that even if I saw the price, naively and perhaps in spite of it, I'd still try and pay it.