2009 Screenwriting Challenge

From: Jacob K.
Sent on: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 6:57 PM

I hope you're having a great holiday. I'm attaching a challenge from my latest newsletter for all members of my screenwriting meetup. Wishing you a great New Year of writing!

Jacob Krueger?s Screenwriting Challenge:

Let?s face it, the holidays are a brutal time for writers.

We all do our best writing when we get into a rhythm. But during the holiday season that rhythm can be impossible to maintain. Schedules get jammed with Christmas parties, gifts to buy, family visits and a little too much vacation time and the next thing you know you haven?t written for a month.

But that?s not the real problem. The real problem is starting up again.

Ideally, writing would be part of your daily routine. As natural as brushing your teeth, getting dressed for work, or drinking your morning coffee.

But for most writers this is rarely the case. Many of us write in fits and starts, waiting desperately for moments of inspiration, and spending most of our time beating ourselves up when that inspiration doesn?t come. And then, just when we get started on a rhythm, something happens to interrupt it.

I?m always amused when I participate in writing panels. Invariably, an eager young student asks a question about building a life as a writer. ?What real writers do is write? insists one panel member after another, striving to out do each other as they speak of their unceasing dedication to their craft.

Having worked with writers for most of my professional life, I know the truth. It doesn?t matter if you?re an Academy Award Winner or a first time writer. Most of what writers do is NOT writing.

What writers really do is PROCRASTINATE.

Writers are brilliant at finding ?important? tasks to interfere with their writing. Set aside a couple hours to write, and suddenly those dirty dishes start to call to you. The next thing you know you?ve cleaned your whole kitchen, scrubbed your shower tiles to a sparkling shine, reorganized your closet, updated your facebook photos, and still not written a single word.

You?re furious at yourself. But at the same time, a part of you feels like you didn?t have a choice. Time just got away from you. ?I?ll write for twice as long tomorrow,? you reassure yourself. But tomorrow comes and four hours seems like an impossible amount of time. Even if you do manage to bang out a few pages, it?s impossible to derive any joy from them. And the next thing you know, you?ve gone a whole week, month, or even year without writing.

Under these circumstances it?s easy to doubt if you?re really a writer at all. You may even be tempted to give up on writing entirely. You feel so blocked that you don?t see any way out. But at the same time you know that giving up on writing would be giving up on the best part of yourself. So what are you supposed to do?

The difference between successful and unsuccessful writers is not that one group never gets blocked. The difference is that successful writers know how to maintain their creative rhythm even when inspiration is not flowing.

Start the New Year right by getting back into the rhythm of writing with this simple challenge:

On January 1st, go out and buy yourself a nice journal. Find something that speaks to your personality, and makes you feel like a writer. It?s okay to spend too much. Think of it as an investment in something you?re going to use every day.

On January 2nd, set your clock to wake you up 15 minutes early, and as soon as you open your eyes, grab your journal and start writing. You have 15 minutes to write three pages. You have no time to edit or even to think. Just go ahead and write whatever comes out as quickly as you possibly can. It may be a scene or parts of a scene. It may be a line of dialogue, or a monologue, or just thoughts about your character. It may flow together, or it may not flow together at all. Don?t even try to make it good. Just allow your first instincts to find their way onto the page.

You?re going to repeat this process every day until January 31st, writing three pages every morning until writing is such a natural part of your daily routine that it occurs without even thinking about it. Don?t read the pages you?ve written in the past. Just wake up, and start writing. You may find yourself continuing one storyline, or writing a new one every morning. If you get stuck, rewrite the scene from the day before from memory. It?s not important what you write. It?s important THAT you write.

It?s this rhythm that is going to make you a writer. So, if you sleep through one day, find 15 minutes to catch up later. Take your journal with you on the subway. Lock yourself in the bathroom at work. Stay up 15 minutes later that night.

On January 31st, you?ll complete the challenge, and read your pages for the first time. You?ll be amazed at what you see.

Then, on Sunday night, Feb 1st, we?ll have a party to celebrate the work of everyone who has participated in the challenge, to share our experiences, and to make some new friends.

REGISTER NOW and complete the challenge and you?ll also be entered into a special drawing to win a free one-on-one private script consultation, or discounts on the upcoming February Workshop and Master Classes.

New Years Eve is tomorrow. So make the decision to start the New Year right today and we?ll all be celebrating together in 30 days.

Happy New Year! And Happy Writing!

Jacob Krueger

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