For every word I have ever written on a screenplay, there has been an equal number of excuses not to write them.
I have always had a reason not to write that screenplay, a million and one times; and am not alone. Something always seems to stop me. It's like a force determined not to make me finish that screenplay that I have been talking about months on end. So why does this happen? why does it take us that long to settle down and write or even complete that one project?
1. Self doubt
I know this feeling very well. The feeling that you can't possibly write that screenplay well enough. You start questioning your knowledge on the topic, the people you are writing for, how to start, how to make it as creative as possible, bla bla bla... Most times when this happens the easiest thing to do is not write it at all. Then the guilt that comes with not actually writing when you had the chance to then finally seeing someone actually do it. You don't lose anything by trying, you get to learn and improve your writing instead. Beat that inner cowardice and get on with writing that screenplay. It's high time already!
2. Lack of commitment
This calls for everything you do on a daily basis like losing that stubborn weight, it calls for discipline. setting time for working out, and eating right. The same goes for screenwriting. you need to set some time to write, daily, at the same time even when you don't feel like writing. Because the only way to get it done is by actually doing it. so, set deadlines to achieve and guide yourself with discipline and commitment and you will see the fruits. Nothing beats that wonderful feeling of completing a screenplay and sharing it with the world to see.
3. Research for your screenplay
Write what you know. Well, what if I don't know shit? Well, ever heard of something called research? there you have it. not being adequately familiar with a topic you are writing about will give you an uphill task when writing your screenplay. write down the things you need to research on before getting started on the screenplay. you need not be an expert in rocket science or psychology, as long as your research is thorough, you are sorted. it will be a walk in the park once you begin writing the words on paper.
4. My office isn't the creative cocoon I need it to be.
I. Am. A. Serious. Artist. Well, you probably need your work space to be a safe haven for the birth of your brilliant ideas, and I totally agree with you. But don't use it as an excuse not to work on your screenplay by avoiding the office all together. Make your working space the perfect place to inspire your writing. If need be, surround your space with art, listen to music that makes you focus on work, not distract. Get everything that you need before hand to make your writing easier.
6. I like my script, but I don't really like it.
You know that feeling you get when you're excited about working on your screenplay, and you think about it constantly, and everything reminds you of it, and you can't wait to get home so you can put your hands all over it. Yeah, you're dating your script and you two are in your honeymoon phase.
There's nothing inherently wrong with this. I'm kind of a cynical person, so admitting I'm infatuated with something makes it immediately unattractive to me but sometimes that infatuation and excitement doesn't carry you through even the first draft, let alone the second, third, and so on.
In the wise words of Beyoncé, if you like your script put a ring on it. No, it's not perfect, but none are. And maybe you think you can do better, but a script is only as good as its writer. It's time to grow up and choose which one will get all of your time and attention. (And remember, never go to bed angry :) )
7. I need to resolve one more case
Distractions are the ultimate motivation killers when writing. I know you have that dream iPhone and you can't seem to stay away from it, especially Instagram and the selfies. But take a moment and switch it off if you want to get some work done.
Your social media is not going anywhere, so just take a chill pill. Switch that Tv, radio or music off, reschedule with that friend that distracts you from working to later, they will understand. Or alternatively, find something that encourages and inspires you to work, not distract you.
8. The screenplay I want to write is maturing faster than my skills
I've realized that as a screenwriter, I'm running a race and the script I want to write, which used to only be a couple of strides ahead of me, is now lapping me and laughing at me while it does it. The script I want to write requires skills that I haven't acquired yet. And you know what, I don't want to waste a good idea for a story on the skill set I have now. It wouldn't do it justice.
This is the cycle I currently find myself in: I'm not writing scripts because I'm not good enough yet, but I'm not good enough yet because I'm not writing scripts. The solution: write terrible scripts. You'll hate them. You'll be embarrassed of them. But guess what, you'll get better. You might get good. You might even get good enough to write something you don't completely hate.
If you're a screenwriter, some of these excuses might hit home for you. Remember, screenwriting isn't only the art of bringing stories to life for the screen, it's really the art of sitting down, silencing the doubt, and being disciplined enough to work.
What other thins disrupt you from writing or finishing that screenplay? What do you relate most from the list above? Let us know in the comments section below.