By Lee Hamilton.
“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit” according to Richard Bach, and while he was talking about writing novels, the same absolutely applies to screenwriters too.
But while writing a screenplay can be one of the most rewarding, fun, and creative outlets you can have, it can also be, at times, one of the most difficult, frustrating, and soul-destroying pursuits on the planet too.
Even the most successful screenwriters out there have experienced moments of crippling self-doubt about their writing ability, or have written their story into an impossible corner, or have been one rejection email away from giving up entirely. So, how did they get out of their writing funk, and more importantly, how can you?
Take a Break.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you’re writing to a tight deadline or only have a limited time to spend on your writing, the thought of NOT writing might feel ridiculous, but in reality, if you keep pushing yourself, you’ll end up burning yourself out. Taking a break allows you to reset, rest, and return with a fresh mind. For how long you take a break is up to you. Some people find that scheduling regular breaks helps keep them sharp, while others claim that stuffing their screenplay into a drawer and leaving it for a year allows them to re-examine it from an entirely new perspective, helping solve whatever issues were originally hampering them.
Writing a screenplay can often feel like a mammoth task that can quickly become overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Breaking the writing process down into smaller, more manageable chunks can help you to start making progress quickly and keep your writing momentum going because all those small parts soon add up to a larger whole. Compartmentalizing can be anything from trying to achieve a set word count each session, writing a set number of scenes, outlining character arcs, to doing specific passes on rewrites. Setting yourself a small specific task is much easier than trying to do everything at once.
To help break up tasks and fast-track your first draft, check out our 15-Minute Method – only available from Shore Scripts!
Finding a writing partner isn’t for everyone, but if you’re struggling with one particular area of writing, finding someone whose strength is your weakness can help compliment both of your writing and help create a stronger whole. Screenwriting can be an extremely lonely job, and some people thrive in this environment, but there are many advantages to having a writing partner, such as being able to bounce ideas off one another, problem-solve issues, being accountable to someone else, and just having some additional support can be extremely valuable.