Consistency is two-fold. It would help if you write on a consistent basis, but your writing should eventually have a consistent feel, too, whether in a screenplay or another creative writing pursuit. You want quantity and quality when it comes to this word. You want to learn how to be a consistent writer.
I caught up with Ross Brown, a veteran TV writer with screen credits that include “Step by Step” and “The Facts of Life.” He’s also written plays and a book. He teaches up-and-coming writers to develop their unique voice and style through the Creative Writing MFA program at Antioch University in Santa Barbara, California.
Consistency, he says, is constantly top of mind.
So why is it the goal, then, to be a consistent writer?
Well, as they say, always shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars.
To write consistently constantly, try the tips below.
How to Be a Consistent Writer:
Develop Your Unique Voice
If you know why you’re writing and what is unique about your style, it will be easier to maintain consistency or measure your work against those ideas. Does this piece of work sound like you? Does it feature your unique point of view, or are you re-hashing someone else’s ideas?
Keep a Notes Tab of Ideas
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to write and finding that you have nothing to write about it. That’s not true, of course – you have plenty to say – but at that moment, you’re stumped. Keep a list of ideas in a journal or on a notes page on your phone, and you’ll never run out of things to write about again! You’ll be able to keep a consistent writing schedule. Whether it’s an observation you made about someone at the gas station, a thought-provoking statement from a friend, or a question you have about the world and the way it works, you will always have something to explore, even when your mind draws a blank.
Listen to Yourself Talk
Listen to yourself talk, either through a recording or through a text-to-speech tool that reads your work back to you. It’s an excellent way to discover what makes your writing different from other writing you consume daily. How do you speak? Does it sound the way you write? It’s unique, and so is the way you communicate on the page. Don’t try to sound like anyone but yourself – that’s your superpower.
Make a Public Commitment
Commit to posting your work a certain number of times each week or month. You could post your entire screenplay, blog, or journal entry somewhere online if you want to put yourself out there. Or, you could post a photo to a social media platform showing that you did the work. When I was trying to get in shape, I didn’t post myself running (you’re welcome), but I did post a photo every morning at the top of the mountain that I had just hiked. And when I didn’t? Friends and family called me on it! It held me accountable and kept me consistent. Better yet, it was so rewarding to look back and see all the work I had put in.
Try Not to Be Swayed
Suppose you’re in the habit of keeping your television on in the background or eavesdropping on the neighbors while you’re writing. In that case, you may start to pick up other stylistic elements in your writing subconsciously that are so not you. So, try to dedicate focused time to writing where these distractions don’t creep in too often in between breaks. You don’t want to dilute your written word.
If you’re looking at your current portfolio and thinking, “uh oh – all of my writing projects sound different,” that’s okay, too. It just means that you have been trying on other styles for size. Everything we create comes from other influences, and so our writing projects can change based on what we were experiencing when we wrote it. But the more you maintain consistency in your writing schedule and the more practice you get, the more you’ll develop a consistent tone and style all your own.
Swing batter batter,