Screenwriting : Sleep and screenwriting? by Andy Moulton

Andy Moulton

Sleep and screenwriting?

Need some advice as a new screenwriter. I get the stories playing over in my head until the scenes seem right and this is why I started screenwriting. Now, when I'm in the head-space of screenwriting, I can't seem to stop. My issue however, is how to sleep during these moments? I looked down one moment, 8:30pm, no problem. I look down a moment later, midnight. This would be fine, except I have a completely different 9-5 type job. How do people switch off their stories in their heads, to allow for sleep? I don't have this ability. Help please. 

Andy Moulton

My problem is I've been writing for 4 hours and my brain is now in writing mode. How do I get it out of writing mode and into sleeping mode. Yes, you're totally right, I'm new at screenwriting (although I've always day dreamed stories and had trouble sleeping because of this), so the blessing/curse may fade.

Kiril Maksimoski

Oh, dude don't get me started...anyway it could be gift or a curse, depends on how u handle it. Learn to master it, try to focus on one thing at the time...this comes especially when ure facing other life commitments such as day work, raising family etc...

Debbie Croysdale

@Andy Your characters are not going to run away while you sleep. I had same problem years ago, its like you don’t want to jump off the roller coaster in case its not there tomorrow. Take a step back and have notebook on ready always before bedtime, jot down key thoughts and pick up on them tomorrow when day job done. I had the same thing as CJ where certain movie scenes would be on my mind when I was supposed to sleep but I turned it on its head. I told my characters they needed their beauty sleep, sounds barmy but it seemed to work. Iv’e done a lot of research into the subject that artists own psychological energy may create a separate entity in the ether, that is not dense like our own physical being yet there none the less. I don’t think this is TOTAL gobbledegook as what we do makes other humans laugh, cry or be taken away on some tangent. If you have to go on a “roll” of many hours, make it the night before your day off.

Timothy Mcreynolds

It's a hard thing to deal with, I try to get the story down as soon as possible, it usually subsides after the first draft, for me anyway. I do feel your pain, you are not alone.

Wayne Jarman

I think most Creatives would have the problem of finding the opportunity to push the world away so that they can get in the Creative flow and THEN keeping the world away so that they can stay in the zone for as long as possible. Stop & Start is a real pain. I'm now retired so I don't have the work demands but I still have other demands that pull me away from my creative space. 'Plan your time' is the best that I can offer. Allocate as large a chunk of time, as possible, for your creative stuff (and tell the world to go away). Plan in the other things like work and sleep, so that you don't feel guilty about doing them instead of being creative during that time. Good luck.

Claude Gagne

This is what I do sometimes. I haven't your problem anymore. My problem is staying asleep! LOL. If I was on a great writing stretch and the pages rolled and the clock said to go to bed or you'll be dragging your ass at work I did this. Did I build up enough suspense here? LOL. You know where you're going in your screenplay and you need to quit. Write the most important word that envisions the progress you wanted to realize, and around that word write other words and tie them to the most important word with lines. And when you go back to your screenplay you'll have the continuation in word form. Hope this helps. It did me. And this is me talking. It may not work for you! Good luck!

Andy Moulton

Wow. Thank you everyone for your advice and support. Mapping doesn't seem to help me much, but I will keep trying these suggestions and see how I go. It's really nice to hear from people's own experiences, struggles and triumphs.

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