Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Feeling Bad About Your Screenwriting Skills? 3 Ways to Get Over Your Screenwriting Blues, from Screenwriting Guru Linda Aronson

Some days you’re on fire – pages are stacking up, and brilliant dialogue seems to be appearing out of thin air. Other days, the dreaded blank page stares you down and wins. If there’s no one around to give you a pep talk when you need it, consider bookmarking these three tips to drag you out of your screenwriting blues, from screenwriting guru Linda Aronson.

Aronson, an accomplished scriptwriter, novelist, playwright, and instructor in multiverses and non-linear story structure travels the globe, teaching writers the tricks of the trade. She sees patterns in writers, and she’s here to assure you that you are not alone when you have a terrible writing day.

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Getting Stuck is Normal

“Well, if I’m going to give any advice to screenwriters, I would say, first of all, getting stuck is normal,” Aronson told us. “Sometimes it takes you a minute to get unstuck. Other times it will take you months. You are not a bad writer if you get stuck. It’s the writer in you, telling you that something is wrong.”

If you’re stuck on your screenplay, it could be because something is off somewhere else in your script. Take a look at the story as a whole, and see if it needs adjustments. Or, take a look at your environment – is something distracting you, or making you less productive? Typically, being stuck is a result of something else that needs fixing.

Silence Your Inner Saboteur

“The second thing is to say, if you are finding it hard, it’s because it’s hard. It’s not about you,” Aronson advised. “Sometimes, it can just mean you’re writing off the top of your head.”

Having a hard time with your writing, and feeling like it’s all about your lack of talent and skills? It’s probably not. Make sure you’re prepared with a solid outline before you begin writing. Screenwriting will still be hard, but you’ll be more likely to turn a diamond out of that pressure, instead of cracking under it.

Feel the Panic

“The third thing is, practice throwing yourself into a crisis situation. If you try to write or give answers in a panic, you will go to memory banks, and you will come out with clichés,” Aronson said. “Feel the panic, observe the panic, live the panic for a couple of seconds, and then start to go to your storytelling muscle, which is going to help you brainstorm sideways, brainstorm all sorts of ideas, and then come out with the best one.”

You heard right. It’s okay to panic! But you need a plan to snap yourself out of it. Professional screenwriters have mastered their ability to write under extreme circumstances and time crunches, and you can, too. Practice getting yourself out of writing free-fall by preparing yourself for these moments. Set a timer and force yourself to write. Your storytelling and brainstorming muscle is just like any other; use it, or you’ll lose it.

Take power over your emotions about your writing skills, and recognize that when you’re feeling defeat, there’s probably a solution on the other side. Every writer goes through the screenwriting blues, but the best of them arm themselves with the skills they need to see their projects through anyway!

Keep your head up,

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