It must be at least a week since we at TVWriter™ addressed the dreaded concept of the even more dreaded Writers Block. So here’s the latest in a looong series of posts on the subject, here and elsewhere. (Don’t believe us? Go to our Site Search at the right side of every page/post here and see for yourself.
by Dominic Carter
Writers’ Block isn’t real! There, I’ve said it. I know, madness, right? But no, it’s true, writers’ block doesn’t exist and here’s why.
Writers’ block is a myth perpetuated by writers who have run out of things to say, whose idea doesn’t have legs or who haven’t prepared their screenplay/novel outline properly. “Oh no, I’ve hit a wall on page 30!” That’s because you didn’t plan your beat outline, sometimes called a scene by scene, well enough, not because you’ve hit an actual wall. You should really only run into problems if your planning is lacking and your idea is poorly thought out.
There are also times when your motivation will be low and you find yourself struggling to put words on the page even with a beat outline, but there will never be a point in your career when you simply go blank and can’t write anything. There is ALWAYS something you can be getting on with even if that means going back and reworking your beat outline.
Here are a few tips to help avoid the brick wall and keep those words flowing even during moments of low motivation.
- PREPARE IN ADVANCE – Whether you’re writing a TV episode or a feature write a paragraph for each beat of your story before you start – usually twenty beats for TV and forty for a feature. Make sure you hit all the necessary points – the catalyst, the break into act two, the midpoint and the break into act three. Work and rework your beat outline until you’re happy it works perfectly. Once it’s well-worked and polished it then becomes your guide for writing the screenplay.
- JUMP TO ANOTHER BEAT – Even if you do work everything out sometimes you’ll come to write a scene and won’t know exactly how that scene is going to play out. That’s fine, there’s no pressure. If this happens just jump to another scene in your outline and write that instead. You’ll usually find that when you come back to the original scene you were stuck on it has miraculously sorted itself out in your head while you were writing other scenes….