The new year has arrived and the beginning is critical for maintaining resolutions. The top resolution for most writers is: Write More! But how do you accomplish that without burning yourself out? What does that really mean?
Instead of making an ambiguous blanket statement that’s going to be difficult to uphold or measure your progress, consider creating a writing plan instead. If you don’t know how to do that or are unsure of what to add, here are a few ideas to help you get started on your own:
1. Schedule Writing Time
It’s always important for writers to make time for writing. After all, if you take it seriously enough, your screenwriting should be treated like a job. Unlike a regular job, you get to choose the time you want to write. It’s a good idea to find out what time of day you write best and try to schedule during those times.
When you schedule writing time, no matter how much or how little you end up writing, you have to only be focused on writing. If you want to go down a Wikipedia research rabbit hole, schedule that for a time outside of your writing time. As long as you get a sentence or a scene or two out during this time, you’re making progress. Remember: you can’t edit a blank page.
2. Healthy Habits
From mental health to physical well-being, your writing reflects your state of being. It’s okay to push aside your writing and take care of yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym every day or start a diet, but you should make a conscious effort to do a few simple things to start good habits. Changing your snacks to include less sugar and more healthy alternatives or taking the stairs gradually, more and more.
If you want a more detailed list of ideas, check out our other article on ways to stay healthy.
3. Read More
While it could be anything from literature to screenplays online, each has their own benefits. Reading allows you a break from writing, a time when you can study someone else’s style or use of language and use what you glean to improve your own. Or it could be just for fun! Reading fiction or comic books can be both a wonderful way to relax away from the screen and indulge yourself for a bit, you deserve it!
If you want to read screenplays online for free, SimplyScripts is a great website to access and read everything from TV shows, films, and even treatments.
4. Make Your Own Deadlines
A lot of writers say they work best with a deadline, so why not make your own? Pretend this script you’re writing is demanded by some fictional party and they have scheduled non-negotiable deadlines. These deadlines can be as flexible or as demanding as you want them to be – this is about what will make you write best (but try to keep it reasonable). Set dates in your calendar and make goals to meet those deadlines. It would help you to reach these goals if you scheduled writing time. By organizing your writing time and goals, you’ll find that it actually frees you from a cramped, stressful unknown.
5. Don’t Overload
While organizing is great, make sure that you add time for other things. Trips to the movies or dinners out or maybe even going for a walk. If you’re writing day in and day out it will become a chore and not a release. Keep your goals manageable and contained. One thing I like to do is set goals I know I can make, simple easy ones that could give me a small sense of satisfaction even though there’s little work done and then build up from there when it becomes too easy. Taking breaks is not giving up, it’s recharging so you can work at peak efficiency.
6. Try Something New
The best stories come from taking risks and trying new things. By going on that weekend trip with your friends or trying that strange restaurant with the mouth-watering smells, you may gain some experience to add to your stories or meet some people that could be endless resources of inspiration. Writers are always depicted as agoraphobic shut-ins, but not everyone can function like that for long. Experiences, whether through other’s stories or our own, are the tools in a writer’s toolbox. Don’t pass up rare opportunities for adventure to maintain your writing, because these experiences could be the inspiration for your next screenplay. You can always reschedule the time.
All writers are different from screenplays to novels to poetry, so all writing styles are different. Take these ideas as inspiration to construct your own writing plan and perhaps even try to utilize other websites and apps to invigorate your writing plan. Have any other ideas you think that could benefit other writers and enhance their plans? Leave a comment!