There’s an oft-repeated mantra that writing = butt on chair. But actually sitting down to write on a schedule, and making screenwriting a daily habit is easier said than done. Here are a few tips for building the habits required to be a professional screenwriter.
1. Write Every Single Day 📅
It’s no secret that professional writers write every day. Stephen King famously said: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” If you’re struggling to stick to a writing schedule, we’ve got a nice little trick for you, right in Arc Studio’s free screenwriting software: writing schedule reminders! Even if you’re writing for just 10 minutes per day, pretty soon you’ll make it a habit and that’s when you’re on your way to becoming a pro. Practice makes perfect. Learn more about Arc Studio‘s free screenwriting productivity tools here:
2. Writing Isn’t Just Typing 💻
Sometimes writing requires researching and filling the well of inspiration. It’s important to understand that typing words is not the same as writing. Professional writers will often take many days and weeks to think deeply about their story and characters, and write down outlines and bits of ideas for scenes and characters by hand on a notepad, before they begin typing a screenplay. While some professional writers prefer to dive right into the writing without a fully fleshed-out outline, others don’t start writing until every beat of every scene is thoroughly outlined. If you’re still “breaking story,” then using a tool like Arc Studio‘s outline cards can be very helpful. Here’s a quick tutorial:
3. Set a Deadline ⏰
If you haven’t set a deadline, you’ll probably continue writing your screenplay indefinitely. And finished screenplays are the currency of a screenwriter. If you want to be taken seriously in Hollywood, you need at least 3 great finished screenplays to show as writing samples. One great way to choose a deadline is to mark your calendar with an upcoming submission deadline for a screenwriting competition, fellowship or lab. Coverfly is a great resource listing almost all of Hollywood’s top screenwriting talent-discovery programs with upcoming dates and deadlines for feature film screenplays, TV pilot scripts and even short film scripts. Some programs offer mentorship, industry exposure and even cash prizes. Mark your calendar and start writing!