It is so important to find your voice as a writer. How many of us have struggled writing that novel, or was surprisingly stressed out when attempting poetry? Only to find our salvation when we finally punch those keys and find our calling. You see being a writer isn’t enough, it’s about what kind of writer you are. Once you discover that, which is usually by chance, then it comes down to how hard you are willing to work to become great. Do you know what fuels that desire? Passion. That is what Sarah has discovered. Not only has she found her voice as a screenwriter. She also has the passion and discipline to workday and night at her craft and take it to the next level. That is why I am excited to introduce you to her.
This is Sarah K. Croshaw
I have been writing as long as I can remember. It is the one thing in my life that I have been able to do for over 30 years consistently, that ignites my true passion. I remember writing short stories in elementary school. Those kinds of assignments were always my favorite. In college, I took every class I could squeeze into my elective schedule that pertained to creative writing in any form. Through words I have found beauty when the world seemed hopeless and sad. It has been my catharsis since I was a budding teenager. From journaling in order to document important events or to simply spill my guts onto the page, to poetry (I was a rather emotional and angsty teenager), from my 5,000 attempts at completing a novel, to collaborating with my mom on a screenplay; my love for words has always been abundantly clear.
I don’t see myself ever losing my motivation to write. I will probably do it until I die. If it makes me money, if I tell a story that someone needed to experience, or if I ignite someone else’s passion for the written word all the better, but I have never written something with any of those outcomes in mind. When I write, usually it is simply because I have something to say. Sometimes it is just a feeling or emotion, or a situation that I found myself in that needs to be written down. But sometimes it evolves into something that pleases me very greatly when it’s complete. I am excited to see where being a screenwriter takes me. I am looking forward to collaborating with my mom on other projects along the way. She’s my biggest supporter, my confidant, and working with her on this was so much fun.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
I took a very inspiring creative writing course while I was pursuing my associates degree. One of the more heavily weighted assignments for this course was to write a short screenplay (50 pgs or less). While I thoroughly enjoyed studying the creative process of writing a screenplay, I sort of loathed my end result to be honest. I got a B on the assignment so I suppose it wasn’t that bad, and they always say you’re your own worst critic… Right?
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Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
My mom, Rebecca Gintz, has been my inspiration. I honestly never thought I would be a screenwriter. I have started umpteen novels but honestly I haven’t found a subject that captures my attention span long enough to see it through. I love poetry, but I’m a natural storyteller, and very empathic, so it is easy for me to put myself in almost any situation and write about it. I really enjoyed collaborating with my mom, and the screenplay was actually her idea. She led the way and I am happy to be tagging along, offering my input and experience wherever I can.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
Well, obviously my parents, especially my mom have always helped me believe in myself, and that is SO important. Outside of family members though, I think my second grade teacher, Charlene Beaker, played a big role in my intense love for words. I remember having to write a short story for her class. This was a first for me, being only 8 years old, and I was a bit concerned about the assignment. I received praise from Mrs. Beaker for my assignments and she took every opportunity she could to help me fall even more in love with reading and writing. She is also the teacher who introduced me to poetry. She would read Shell Silverstein’s books to our class. I feel like this kind of artistic stimulation is so very important for children. We need more teachers like Mrs. Beaker. Teachers that are so passionate about the subject they teach that their energy is infectious to the right audience. I was her right audience. The entire year I basically hung on her every word. I actually wanted to be a teacher for a long time and I can guarantee she probably had a lot to do with that. Influencing someone to find their passion has to be such a wonderful experience. I hope she knows that is what she did for me.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I’m going to be honest… Novemberish of 2019. My mom has always known, I suppose, that I was meant to be a writer. It took me a really, really long time to reach this conclusion. I should have been a lawyer. As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, until the Challenger exploded. Then I wanted to be a doctor, until I realized that to get into Med school you kinda had to be good at math, and also, that I am SO not a fan of other people’s bodily fluids. Until about 3 years ago I wanted to be a teacher. It took us both until this project to see how much we both enjoy screenwriting. Collaborating with her has been so much fun, and I am looking forward to our next upcoming project.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
Success is happiness. Pure and simple. It has nothing to do with money, status, or material things. It’s about being satisfied with who you are, committing yourself to continuous personal growth, and setting reasonable goals for yourself in order to achieve the things you believe you should accomplish in your time here. It’s about defining your morals and defending them if necessary. It’s about giving love and allowing yourself to be loved, fully and completely, and learning that the time you have with the people you love is absolutely the most valuable gift this world has to offer.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
A typical day starts with me hearing Selena’s, (my girlfriend) alarm go off several times before I roll over and say, “Are you going to get up?” or something to that effect. After I am satisfied that she won’t go back to sleep, I go make her lunch. I often forget at least 1 item that was supposed to go in her lunch bag, as I am still half asleep while I’m doing this. I send her out the door with a kiss and then usually go back to bed for 1-3 hours.
When I wake up from my morning nap, I require coffee immediately. While my Kurig does its work I am usually telling my chubby adorable orange kitty, Valiant, that it’s not time for lunch yet. He is a bit overweight, but he is my sunshine, so about 25% of the time he ends up getting a mid-morning snack. My cats, usually, are a very big part of my day. We just got a kitten at Christmas time so I have a little one to train and play with all day. His name is George, and I am convinced that he was born to be our cat.
At night my brain is often more active than it is during the day. If I am going to write, typically this is when I produce my best work. Late afternoon until about 1 AM is my time of day. If I don’t write I either read or work on other creative projects. I like to bead jewelry, color, crochet (although I am not very good and I rarely finish a project), and make collages. I don’t consider myself much of a visual artist. I can’t draw well, I don’t paint or work with clay, but I enjoy so many kinds of art I have experimented with pretty much everything art-related.
How do you define a successful day?
A successful day is completing whatever goal or task you have set for yourself that day. If you make your to-do list (either literally or in your head) and you find yourself not completing your agenda, but feeling exhausted, then you are expecting too much from yourself and you will never experience a successful day. My general rule is if I spend at least 4 hours working on something that is productive, complete at least 1 thing on my to-do list even if it is small to satisfy that “I got something done” gratification button we all have, and spend at least 2 hours with one or more person(s) that I love, then I have had a successful day.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
I am going to have to say that I have learned to write “in conversation.” I mean literally write how people talk to each other every day. Before I was introduced to screenwriting, I’m pretty sure conversations between my characters were very novelesque and probably all sounded like schizophrenic versions of myself. I have truly embraced the importance of defining your characters through their unique voices and conversations with each other.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Working on a novel and deciding after I have sacrificed so much time to it that it isn’t going to work. I hate throwing ideas away. “Killing my darlings” is the hardest part of writing. Whether it’s a sentence or half a book, it is a tragedy that I often mourn. I am as committed as they come though, and my head is filled with stories just waiting to be told. No matter how discouraged I may get sometimes, because of writer’s block, putting aside a project that I am not happy with or have lost interest in, or simply getting frustrated with myself for any number of reasons; I will always come back to writing.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
My greatest reward in life so far is the time that I spend with my family and friends. I have realized that it's people, not things that are important, and by focusing my energy towards loving the people in my life, loving myself and working to be the best version of myself every day, and setting reasonable goals that are not overwhelming or impossible to achieve in a reasonable amount of time I am happier than I have probably ever been. Learning these things has allowed me to find solace within myself even when the world is in chaos, and to find peace in knowing that all the choices I have made (even the bad ones) have led me to this place of knowledge and stability that have worked very hard to obtain. Once you define your own happiness and stop relying on ANYTHING that is not directly controlled by your own personal thoughts and actions to affect your overall outlook on life, it becomes so much easier to work towards the things you want.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
My peers provide a constant source of constructive criticism (most of the time), ideas to bounce back and forth so that I can stay plugged in to what’s already been done, what people are currently interested in, and how I can possibly use my words one day to have an effect on the way our world evolves. I want my peers to teach me how to open people’s minds. I want to know the words that are going to get people’s attention. I don’t want to be remembered by my name or the way I looked or dressed; I want to be remembered for altering the norm in some way to make humanity better. For our planet, for each other, for the greater good, even if it is only in some small way. Even if it’s only a quote, if it helps someone be better, happier, or more intelligent than they were before they read it, then I will have accomplished my ultimate goal in this life.