Posted by: steveonfilm | August 22, 2011

The Doldrums

Writing has been really hard to do these past few weeks. I’ve been hanging on to screenwriting tip 655 now more than ever:

“When you decide you’ve run out of time and you’re not going to write today, just write one sentence. Or one action paragraph, or a single line of dialogue. You’ll feel better, and the story will stay alive in your mind for another day. Consider it a small propitiation to the gods of your script.”

It’s just the reality of the world we live in. Screenwriting is my second career. And for the better part of the last month my first career has been king. I’m doing my best keep up with my writing in what little way I can each night.

I think what I’ve found most interesting about tip 655 is that it forces you to stay engaged. It keeps your script and your writing in the back of your head. In a way it keeps you grounded because each night you keep coming back. It might be for just a taste, but you keep coming back.

Because my writing is still there as a daily part of my life, and I’m still engaged with it, albeit to a very small degree, I still think about it during my daily routine. And lets face it, a lot of what we call “writing” is actually thinking. We think about story beats. We think about plot points. About act breaks. About characters. Action. Dialog. Structure. We do a shit ton of thinking LONG before we actually type FADE IN.

When I’m sitting in my car on my way into work I’m thinking. When I’m in a meeting and realize I probably should have been invited in the first place, I’m thinking. When I’m stuck waiting for someone to do something at work, I’m thinking. When I’m at the gym, I’m thinking. I do a lot of thinking about my writing… even if I only manage to get one or two lines down a night.

What I understand is that my time won’t be restrained like this forever. Eventually, and sooner rather than later, things will free up again. All this thinking I’ve been doing will be put to use. I’ll have the time to write down the stuff that’s been in my head. Get down the answers to the problems I’ve solved. But more than anything else, I’ll be able to move forward with what I want to work on.

So when life hits you hard, and you can’t seem to find the time to write, take five minutes and write a sentence down. It only has to be one. But that one line will keep you in the game, and as long as you’re still in the game, you can figure out a way to win.

Now more than ever, keep writing!


  1. You make some great points and are very inspirational, as usual Steve. Thanks.

    • Thanks Bob. How’s your writing coming? I’m actually enjoying a few hours of free time tonight to get into the thick of things.

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