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Finding The Right Time To Write Your Screenplay
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This article comes in response to a question I was recently asked by a screenwriting student. I think it describes a challenge almost all screenwriters face: finding balance. Balance between the planning phases and the writing phases of creating your screenplay.
Balance between the demands of your life and the demands of your writing passion.
Read on and find some suggestions!
"My question is in regards to a story I have been working on for a few years now... I have been writing and writing and I've done outlines and character beats and research and all of the back story I can think of and I am still at an impasse. I've put the story down for the past four months and have now just started a new internship and really struggling to find the time to write it. There is time, granted, but not enough I feel to adequately devote to what this story needs to separate itself from being mediocre... Is this fair to my story?"
Not having time is a game we often play with ourselves when we're feeling nervous about writing.
If you think about it, even if you just wrote one page a day, by the end of the year you'd have 365 pages. That's three screenplays! (or more likely three drafts of one screenplay).
In your case, it sounds like the thing that's really locked you up is trying to figure out the whole movie before you've actually written it.
The beauty of writing is that it is an act of discovery, so my advice to you is to let that pressure go. Stop planning, and start writing.
Come up with a goal that you know you can achieve, one page, half a page, 15 minutes a day, whatever it is. And then go and achieve it. To give yourself even more support in your endeavor, you may want to sign up for a good screenwriting class that helps you out with deadlines, writing techniques, and quality feedback on your writing.
At this point, your goal should be quantity, not quality. You can't control whether pages come out great or mediocre. But you can control how many pages come out. And the more pages you generate, the more chance you have of stumbling onto something truly wonderful.
The good news is, once you have it on the page, you can make any scene better. But you can't do anything while it's only in your head.
There's only one way to learn-- by doing-- writing the scene, figuring out what's working, and what's not working, and then learning the skills you need to make the stuff that doesn't work fabulous.
So let all that preparation you've done slide to the back of your brain, engage your writing mind, and see where your characters take you. Write the scenes that seem the most fun, or the ones that scare you the most.
Focus on quantity, not quality, and the quality will come.
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