Breaking Out of Breaking In

Do you spend a lot of time dreaming about breaking into something? I do. I’ve got a strong imagination for dreaming. I break into Cannes with the first part of my heist trilogy, I break into Netflix with my tv series (that I haven’t started yet), resulting in agents barging down my door etc. etc. etc.

My breaking in list is endless and while I need a certain part of my imagination to be switched on for my writing I don’t think that all of this breaking in dreaming is very constructive in getting me closer to my goals.

Just looking for one second at the semantic, breaking in indicates you’re going somewhere you shouldn’t be, don’t belong or may be in trouble for entering. What do you do once you’ve broken in? If you’re a thief you get in there, get the money and get out again, all without being caught. If you do get caught you get put into a place where there’s no breaking into.

Even if you don’t get caught you’ve got to hide the goods or sell them surreptitiously. Sounds like one constant stream of anxiety to me and I’m not an anxious person.

Maybe this breaking in analogy isn’t as alluring as it sounds. Maybe breaking out is what I should be aiming for.

Here are three reasons I’m aiming to ditch this breaking in mindset:

1. If you’re breaking into something that you’ve not been able to enter through the front door are there a set of skills or credentials you’ll need to keep pace? Will the energy you’ve used to get in now need to be increased to keep pace. Are you now keeping pace with someone else’s rules and requirements?

2. Is there a high risk of being discovered, shamed as an interloper and turfed out the door?

3. To break into somewhere indicates a space with walls, boundaries and a set of rules. Why would you bust a gut to sign up for all of that?

I’m all for brave and courageous moves but are your moves best spent on breaking into something.

How about we break out of the rules of the things we strive for? This is what industry disrupters do. They approach from the outside seeing a weakness and create something that solves a problem of the old industry. They break out and away. Why don’t we become a disrupter of our own shackles, starting with those things we’ve been striving to break into.

Here’s a couple of examples of where breaking out, rather than in could lead to greater things.


Our whole economic system is based on the premise that having more is better. Would you like your meal, flight, cinema ticket upgraded to something better because not only will you receive more but you will BE MORE.

We exist in a society where having the biggest house, shiniest car or the most pairs of shoes is indicative of success. Do you want to use all of your energy striving to have the most things on the block and what happens when you get to this position? Someone else knocks you off the very next day and you’re back to breaking into having the most.


Dear writing, whether it’s blogging, screenwriting, competitions — you could spend a lifetime analysing the rules and etiquette and what you are or aren’t entitled to write and many do but couldn’t you be better off just creating something. There’s so much energy that goes into trying to shape your work into existing conventions. My question to you is whether you’re getting the most out of breaking into the rules or if you could get a little more from purposefully breaking out of them.

I have a friend who is a great writer but he’s so obsessed with the structure that sometimes the magic leaks out. He’s basing his story around structure rather than creating a structure around his story.

Know the rules and then break them is a popular screenwriting saying and that’s what I’m saying here. Break the rules and know it works too.

What are you striving for today and how can you use the principle of breaking out to your advantage? I’m off to a London networking event in a moment where I’ll be trying to convince people to break out of their niching mindsets and give me a project! Wish me luck.

Written by

Storyteller, ex playwright (produced), award winning screenwriter, always writing. Creating story-based content for businesses. London based but heart in Europe

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