Serita writes: How do you really know when you are a talented writer? My friends who read my specs tell me how funny they are, but I have literally applied to every single fellowship out there and I haven't been accepted to any of them.
Wow, this is tough - and we all ask ourselves this. We'll never really stop.
As writers, our success is always based on what others think of our work, which is probably why it's so nerve-wracking. We spend hours at the keyboard, molding characters we absolutely love, writing lines we think are so wonderfully clever. But unless other people agree with us, we're not going to get anywhere. You have to find people who are fans of your writing. People might tell you they like your script, but if they don't A) offer to represent you, B) buy it, C) offer you a writing job or D) pass it onto someone who can do one of those things, then they didn't really like it that much. Friends are great - but they might be afraid to tell you the truth. Or they might just not have any way to help you.
You have to keep writing, and keep sending your stuff to people. If you give it a few years and you don't find anybody to do any of the above, then maybe you're not cut out for this. As for the fellowships - they're great, but they only accept a tiny fraction of applicants. It doesn't mean you're a bad writer. I don't think it's wise to count on fellowships alone. This business is very competitive, and you have to give yourself the most opportunities you can. You have to be proactive, be your own biggest advocate. Success is not going to hunt you down. Come to LA and meet more people to send your scripts to.
If you can imagine yourself being happy doing something else, then you're not meant to make a career in writing. But if you know you HAVE to do this, keep going.
If you're good, you'll get there. Don't feel like talentless people with great Hollywood connections have a big advantage over you. You still have to be a good writer. I see it all the time: My boss's friend's wife's son's friend's friend will write a script and send it to us. He had the connection. He got inside. But then we'll read the script, and it will suck. And we'll pass. Because you still have to be a good writer.
If you are, keep at it. You'll get there.