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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Carving Time

It should be no secret to those of you familiar with my blog, that I am not the greatest at sticking to schedules. My problem is not that different than that of many other writers -- finding time to write while also trying to work and pay the bills.

So a few thoughts on that.

One suggestion I recently heard bouncing around (and actually one that makes some sense) is to schedule double the amount of writing time you will need (if you are working based on page counts or something). In other words, if you plan to write 5 pages, and you know you will need about 2 hours to do it, schedule four hours. Life always seems to have a way of intruding. This helps counteract that, by figuring in a "finagle factor" with your budgeted time.

My co-writer, Michael Lee, just mentioned something he's started doing that has been working well for him. He's recently begun a full-time job, so he now brings his laptop to work with him, and stays for about 1 1/2 hours after work just to write. By staying at the office, but not getting involved with work, he's able to get some good writing done in that time. Then he does some more at home before he goes to bed. I think this is great too, so long as your workmates won't interrupt you while you're sitting and working!

Also, as most of you know, I've been reading scripts for a long time. When I started reading, I heard from a number of other people that they had been readers and got burnt out very quickly. So why haven't I gotten burnt out yet? One of the main reasons is that I don't read script full time. I definitely read a lot, and it is one of my main sources of work, and a major consumer of time. But I also do a number of other freelance jobs, such as writing. Thus, my mind doesn't get burnt out by doing coverage all day, every day.

I think the same can be a good tool for avoiding burn-out when screenwriting. When you find your mind growing numb after looking at the same script, consider putting it aside and shifting gears to work on a second script. Then when you get burnt on that, return to the first. Obviously, this won't work for everybody. Some people have trouble shifting gears like that, and others like to obsessively work on a single project. But I know this is working for me (at least somewhat) right now. I'm shifting between Hell on Wheels and revising two other scripts in my down time. This way, when I return to HoW (later this week when I get it back from MLee), I'll be bale to approach with more freshness and zeal.

None of this is really groundbreaking, but hopefully all are things worth thinking about!

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