So, last week I finished reading Caitlin Moran's newest novel, How To Build a Girl, and decided for once to carry on reading into the acknowledgements at the end - the book was that good. In typical humorous style, the author decided to open her acknowledgements by explaining how it felt to write a book - which according to her, was basically worse than giving birth, in hell. Then dying, being brought back and having to have to give birth again - and so the description goes on.
It was very funny, but also a rather comforting truth, to be reminded that even for a professional writer, writing can be hard, very hard. As anyone who's written a script or a book knows, there are all sorts of reasons you can end up not writing at all - which is a huge problem. If you're not writing, you're not really not being a writer - and that's when you have to sit and down and think, okay, why I am not writing? And what I can do about it?
Well today I'm here to help with this list of reasons/excuses that prevent people from writing - drawn from own experience, as an often not writing-writer myself, and from a variety of articles, posts, books and videos on writing.
This is one of the biggies. How often have you heard the old anecdote about the scriptwriter discovering they suddenly had a wonderfully clean house and a very blank page?
Procrastination is a real killer, not only because can you get caught up in just thinking about doing something, sometimes you can caught up in stages of actually doing it - for example, when you become stuck researching a topic for a script. Good thorough research is worthwhile and should be done, especially if a script is historical, but it is a finite stage - at some point you have to start writing the script.
I recently started watching a vlog presented by one of favourite actors David Hewlett - its worth checking out here. Anyway, one his videos dealt with writing hints and tips, where he basically said - if you say you don't have time to write you're lying, because you always find time for what you love.
I think is probably true too. Obviously if you're just breaking into scriptwriting or any writing career, who will have a day job to pay the bills - and maybe not just one either. Nonetheless, if you can find time shop online, to watch a film, to go to the pub - then you have time to write. Remember you don't need a whole day, or even an hour, just five or ten minutes a day helps - and technology has made it easier write anywhere. You can find Celtx and other scriptwriting apps for your phone. All need is a little WiFi and you could be making writing during your coffee break or on the train.
So if you're find yourself thinking, I don't have time, ask yourself - do you really have not time, or are you giving yourself an excuse to procrastinate and avoid writing?
Ideas need to be developed, and if you feel you are ready to plunge researched and turned into draft scripts. If they are not ready, they should be put in a drawer - or at least most of them. Because another I have learnt, from a script feedback session, is that you need to have several scripts, pitches and treatments to hand to show producers and other people.
This has led me to think that you should have a few projects on the go, preferable at different stages. Edit one script, whilst writing a treatment for another and perhaps developing a pitch for another sort of thing. This would also give some variety, so you don't get bogged down in just one story world and set of characters, and means if you're stuck on one story you can take time out and work on another.
So that's my list. There are lots more reasons of course, and I intend to look into those throughout the next few weeks and months, along with hints and tips. If you have any suggestions or advice on how to get writing then please comment below!