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4 Effective Ways to Combat Screenwriter’s Block

Many of us are intimidated with the idea of having others read our work that we are plagued with doubt about how good our writing really is. The fear of embarrassment is usually experienced by first-time writers who still haven’t experienced criticism or ‘failure’. But even the experienced screenwriters experience this as well. Remember Guido of Fellini’s 8 ½?

We are too obsessed with creating a masterpiece that everyone would admire and this pressure keeps us from writing a good story-any story!  We claim to ourselves that writing is our #1 talent, the best thing about us, our passion, the one thing that’s worth living and dying for. Giving too much importance to this talent creates too much pressure on our pens (or keyboards) because we are too scared to disappoint others and embarrass ourselves. We often think “ I should make this perfect or else I’m good for nothing. This should be my legacy”. Now isn’t this just too much pressure??? But I know some of us think this way. I do sometimes…okay, most of the time.

Overcoming this fear and self-doubt can be the key to overcoming writer’s block. So how do we beat writing jitters? Here are some of my tips.

Change your mindset. Come on, the world will not end if your first, or second, or third script will not praised by everyone. You know within yourself that you are a good writer and you are still “in the making”. It is important that you have a positive mindset about this. Everything you do now will be part of your success as a writer. You will one day read your works and see how far you’ve become as a writer.  Do not expect to get it the first time- it’s a process.

Read scripts-especially the awful ones. If you need inspiration, go read bad scripts by famous screenwriters. You will then think “noway! I can do better than that!” This is just like the same feeling filmmakers get when they watch awful films from famous directors. It will boost your confidence. Trust me! You should also read the scripts written by the people you admire so that you’ll learn some tricks. It will also make you think “hey, it’s not THAT good after all?”

Be inspired by Woody Allen. Just look at that guy. He’s written gazzilions of scripts but the only ones I can remember are Annie Hall, Manhattan Murder Mystery, and Vicky Christina. I consider him as one of the greatest screenwriters but he also has lots of stories that are well…not-too-good. But he’s still writing and making movies now. If you claim to have that passion for writing, then have the same zest! Just keep on writing anyway.

Take a Writing Class. Or a writer’s group. If you still haven’t enrolled in a class before, then maybe it’s time to enroll so you’ll learn some techniques ang get to know other writers.  This will expose you to positive and negative criticism. You will then get so used to having different kinds of opinions that you somehow become ‘calloused’ to their opinions. In the end you would take some of their advice, you would disregard some, and you would realize that what matters most is that it is your story and you love it. Another good thing is that it would give your confidence a boost knowing that not all aspiring writers are good.


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