Screenwriting : Writers block by Gary Jones

Writers block

Anyone have any advice for getting past writers block? Currently my process is stepping away from the project for a while and trying to come back but sometimes that can last a few days and I just get frustrated with life cause I love being in the flow of writing.

Danny Matier

I walk. Anytime I hit a block I go for a walk, put in the headphones and just listen to music, and more often than not the answer appears when I've stopped thinking about the problem.

Barry John Terblanche

What I do is... When I get stuck in a scene, I jump to / write the next scene and then work back wards to where I got stuck.

Tabitha Baumander

you are expecting to much of yourself. If I dont know what to do next in a project I back up and statrt again from the begining rewriting etc. If you know where you need to end up scetch out something totally crap then pick up the action when you know what the scene is and write from there. You can always back up and fill in the blanks.

Anthony Moore

Writers block? We don't need no stinking writer's block! Do you have a logline? Did you do a one page outline? Do you have a character cheat sheet? You know the story, you know the characters. There you go. You have all the tools you need to finish your screenplay.

Try this - do a timeline. Pages 1-10 you did character intro. Pages 10-20 you introduced the problem (main or secondary), Pages 20-30 hopefully you added complications, etc.... Keep going, listing what's going on in 10 to 20 page chunks, until you have the story complete. Then you back to your screenplay and fill in the details that make the scenes happen. Before you know it, you'll be done with a glowing screenplay. Good luck.

Daisy White

I start writing the end, or just write any scene to get myself out of the block, then rearrange later.

Christopher Phillips

Best way to get over writer's block is to write everyday.

Also, toss perfectionism out the window. Writing is really rewriting. If you're willing to write crap, you can write all day long and then rewrite it into something good later on.

The biggest suggestion is to set a goal. When you have hard deadlines to submit your work, you'll find yourself getting it done.

Simon O'Corra

The very best way I find is to go off and do something just for me, something whacky, something intense, I don;t believe in block just more in a creative muscle being tired

Jim Boston

Gary, when I'm writing a script and I get stuck in a scene, I do some more research on the scene's subject...or extra research on the physical setting where the scene takes place. (And that's after I did my outline/scene list prior to launching that screenplay.)

All the VERY BEST to you, Gary! Glad you're here on Stage 32!

Brent Bergan

Just force it, and start writing - you might surprise yourself!

Daisy White

Oh and deadlines are good. Sheer panic at the thought of missing them makes me write ;-)

Doug Nelson

Professional/staff writers: Writer's block = $0 paycheck.

Gary Jones

You all have given some amazing advice thanks so much!

Ben Patrick Yates

100% agree with Danny Matier's answer, personally the more active I am the more productive I am. Exercise, music, podcasts about filmmaking, writing or even news might spark something.

John Sanderson

Personally I like to take an hour break to think about the story, recheck my logline and checklist, then force myself to write something to progress the story and get to my next goal of the script. If it doesn't feel right after a bit then you can go back and change it to fit the story. Continuous rewriting is apart of the process.

Daniel Smith

Never look at the white wall of death unless your writing. Just focus a page a day to avoid burn out. If you can't write then research. If it gets to 3 days force yourself to write don't worry if it's terrible rewrites are much easier. A good sleep can help.

Maggie VIale

Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. Get the book& do it! Miracles happen. Truly!

Neal Howard

Gary, I teach scriptwriting, and in most cases, especially for new writers, writer's block occurs because they don't spend nearly enough time figuring out what their script is really about...and that has nothing to do with plot. Plot is just one tool, in a fairly limited toolbox, that a screenwriter has to work with. It is just one means by which a screenwriter has to convey the story they're really trying to tell. Screenplays are also relatively short, even the longest ones, have a very limited amount of time to tell their real story. With limited tools and limited space there's not much reason to find yourself going astray or at an impasse as to what to do or say...providing you have a clear, intimate understanding/feel for what you are really trying to communicate. So if you have writer's block spend your time thinking about that. It won't be hard to figure out what to write next. Also, the time you spend rewriting should be less about replacing what shouldn't or doesn't need to be there to begin with and more about improving or perfecting the right choices from the get go.

Aray Brown

i find it helps to retrace your steps, reread what you have written

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services Coordinator

I don't believe in Writer's Block. I think sometimes we just have to sit down and accept that what we're about to write might not be good or thought out, but it might turn into something down the road with rewriters. Just get out of your head and put something/anything on the page.

A. S. Templeton

A true writer never lacks something productive to do.

• Have multiple projects going.

• Research for the next project.

• Rewrite/update the logline(s).

• Rewrite/update the 2-page pitch(es).

• Rewrite/update the 5-page pitch(es) & (if series) the mini-bible(s).

• Rewrite/update the 1-, 2-, and 5-page synopses.

• Export to .rtf and run it through a spelling, grammar, and style-checker.

• Export to .rtf and listen to it read aloud (using e.g. VoiceDream reader) while walking.

• Take a walk.

• Research managers and agents.

• Work on the novelization(s).

• Expand a feature into a series, starting with a solid pilot.

• Pair all setups and payoffs.

• Close those plot holes.

• Run a well-crafted and -polished draft under the eyes of someone else.

Debbie Croysdale

@Gary All of the above answers are cool but another two cents. If your writers block gets really bad, take time out and forget it for maybe days, sleep and upon waking let the original seed of thought grow in another direction. Also, often how you “feel” can affect how you write BUT do this, always have pen and note book handy to jot down thoughts even if you think there’s a block. Writing does not have to be perfect, happy or dependent on a “good day”. The only bad writing is NOT writing at all.

Julia Petrisor

I'm with Nick, I generally don't buy into writer's block.And I totally agree with A.S. - there are so many ways to keep a project moving besides the writing. However, a few questions for you to consider (these are for you, don't feel you need to answer me!): Are you aware of how you talk to yourself when you do feel blocked? are you putting a lot of stress or pressure on yourself to meet expectations that maybe aren't realistic for you? what does it feel like to be in the "flow of writing" you love so much? And then, how do you know you're out of flow? Are you willing to feel uncomfortable, but keep writing, for any writing periods? Without knowing much about your process or anything else, I'll offer this last little bit of wisdom that really changed things for me - it was from a screenwriter and I can't recall his name but he spoke at the Nicholl awards the year I went - anyways, he said writing isn't about going to the coffeeshop and waiting for the muse. it's more like being a mechanic and going to fix cars. There's nothing romantic about it, it's work. I don't know if that will help you but it totally helped me, and once I stopped being so romantic about it I started just getting to work. Good luck with it! You'll get there.

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