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Ask the Coach: How Can I Build a Consistent Writing Routine? – On Script Mag

In this month’s “Ask the Coach” article I’m answering a reader question about how to build a consistent writing routine, even while managing work and family.

This is the high level view of the 7 tips I shared to help writers start to establish a consistent writing routine and rhythm. Each tip is described more fully in the article, but here’s the list to get you started: 
 

  1. Begin with sustainability in mind. 
     
  2. Study your own “resistance threshold.” 
     
  3. Explore your optimal time of day for writing. 
     
  4. Trim time from less fulfilling activities. 
     
  5. Design a writing schedule. 
     
  6. Build in writing associations or triggers. 
     
  7. Implement and refine.

 

In order to be consistent, a useful strategy is selecting a sustainable level of effort for each of your writing sessions.

 
Want the full scoop? There are more details in the full article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: How Can I Build a Consistent Writing Routine? 


 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

Ask the Coach: Odds & Ends — Building a Script Library, Seeking a Universal Script Structure Method, and Finding Courses – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a few shorter reader questions:

In response to last month’s article regarding having more than one script when querying, a reader asks: “You wrote that marketing your script ‘will involve making sure you have at least two marketable scripts before querying.’ Why is it important to have TWO scripts?” The bottom line is that while it’s absolutely not a requirement to have two marketable scripts before querying, it’s a smart strategy because it means you’re ready when an industry pro or exec likes your writing but not the specific story, and says, “What else do you have?”

Our second question is about finding a unified story structure method and whether there even is such a thing. I’ve studied a lot of methods myself and to date, my personal experience is much like that of the inquirer — taking aspects from different methodologies and merging them to create my own approach. My TL;DR? No, I don’t believe there’s a single script method unicorn, except perhaps the one you ultimately create for yourself.

And last, the third question this month is about what next steps to take with writing classes. In addition to suggesting some specific places to find classes, I recommend thinking about what you most want to learn next and what kind of experience you want to have as a student and creator.

…at the end of the day, trust yourself. Your instincts and inner guidance are among your most valuable tools as a writer.

 
 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Olya Kobruseva from Pexels

 

Ask the Coach: Who Do I Send My Script To? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a question about where to send a script:

“I am wondering if you know any places or producers that I can send my movie script to?”

Ah, yes! What to do with your movie script once you’ve finished. It might seem like it should be a single, simple answer of where to send it, but it isn’t.

Here’s what you need to know: Once you’ve finished your script, the reality is that there are a number of pathways to bring your script to the marketplace, which can include seeking representation with a manager or agent (Neil Landau recommends starting with a manager), submitting to contests, searching for producers and other industry contacts on IMDBPro and LinkedIn, attending pitchfests, and more.

Rather than rehashing some of the already excellent articles out there about how to sell your script (a search engine is excellent here), let’s put the marketing process in context to help you adopt a marketer’s mindset. [more…]

 

Figuring out where to send your script requires research, supporting documents, networking, and the mindset that marketing is a normal and expected part of the process.
 
 
Read the article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: Who Do I Send My Script To?

 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

 

Ask the Coach: How Do I Keep Writing During Summer? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a question about how to keep writing during the summer:

“How do I keep writing even when I’m pulled away by summer? Between vacations, BBQ weather, busy kids, and an urge to get my house organized, I’m having trouble focusing on writing. What do you suggest?”

This is a timely question, with the summer solstice nearly upon us. A common challenge for many writers is being pulled in multiple directions — whether it’s family, a day job, multiple writing projects, self-care, or just wanting time off, while also wanting to keep pushing ahead with our writing goals and visions. And summer can be tricky. As a season, summer evokes a feeling of spaciousness and expansion, creating both the idea we’ll have “tons” of time to write while simultaneously feeling drawn to get out into nature, play, go to the pool, and do other summer-focused activities. And as you mentioned, it can feel like an expansive time to clean and purge your house, too!

Here are seven ideas to help you creatively keep writing and enjoy the summer. Use them with a mix-and-match approach, adopting those that work for you and ignoring the rest. [more…]

 

…don’t fall for the false dichotomy that you can only write OR enjoy the summer. You can do both.
 
 
Read the article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: How Do I Keep Writing During Summer?

 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Jane Palash on Unsplash 

 

Ask the Coach: What Do I Need for a TV Pitch? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month, I’m sharing more from my interview with Neil Landau, author of the recently released book, The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap: Creating Great Television in an on Demand World (2nd edition) and the Director of Screenwriting at the University of Georgia, who helped me answer last month’s question “How do I find a showrunner?

He shared some invaluable tips with me about the process of having your script requested, and what to be ready for in the room once you’re pitching. So today we’re answering the question, “What do I need for a TV pitch?” [more…]

 

Getting ready to pitch your show involves a whole lot more than simply writing a pilot script. It’s about your materials, your deep knowing of your story, your readiness, your team, and your passion for the project too. 
 
 
Read the article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: What Do I Need for a TV Pitch?

 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

 

Ask the Coach: How Do I Find a Showrunner? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month, I’m addressing a question about finding a showrunner:

“I have a solid idea for a TV series, but I need help to execute it. Where do I go to ‘meet up’ with a showrunner who’d be open to helping a somewhat ‘newish’ writer?”

This is an intriguing question, though I’m not sure it’s the right question to be asking. Whenever you have an idea for a writing project, I see it as your role to develop and execute it, rather than looking for someone else to do that work for you.

As a newer writer, this means studying and reading TV pilots, taking classes, reading books on TV writing, and developing your concept as fully as you can on your own, before then pitching your concept to production companies, streaming services, or even showrunners. Along the way, you’ll also want to be developing and building relationships into a network of colleagues and industry professionals who might help you along the way, and vice versa.

The other thing to understand is that most showrunners are writers themselves, and in all likelihood, are developing their own shows. This means finding a showrunner who’s free — or willing — to take on your project is, well, tricky.

Since I’m not a television writer myself, I reached out to three TV writers and instructors for their input on first developing an idea and then getting to the stage of finding a showrunner.  [more…]

 

“Finding a showrunner” means doing the work to develop your concept as fully as you can on your own, seeking representation and attention for the work, and packaging your project as completely as you can before pitching it for consideration for development — and a showrunner.
 
 
Read the article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: How Do I Find a Showrunner?

 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Agence Olloweb on Unsplash 

Ask the Coach: Odds & Ends – Finding Your Voice, Getting Unstuck, and Abandoning Scripts for Books – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month, I’m addressing a collection of shorter questions about Finding Your Voice, Getting Unstuck, and Abandoning Scripts for Books.
 
“I think I need the most help with networking and finding my voice as a writer. What are some ways to find your voice and churn out script after script?”
 
“I have the concept of my script and my characters broken down but when I’m writing I get stuck at times. What can I do to keep my creative juices going in the process of writing my script?”
 
“How do I know if I should just ‘give up’ screenwriting and focus only on writing books? I’ve been writing screenplays on and off for 10 years… so tired of all the ‘It’s not ready’ B.S. but I still have many screenplay ideas. Thanks!”
 
As writers, we have a lot to navigate, from sorting out who we are and want to be on the page, to getting unstuck and keeping our creativity alive, choosing our creative projects, and more. My intention is to give you perspectives, tools, and questions to help you keep moving forward as a writer. [more…]
 
As we write, we build confidence in ourselves, which is expressed through our voice on the page. Therefore, to find your voice as a writer, writing itself — frequently — is the best pathway to pursue.
 
 
 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

Ask the Coach: Superstitious About Writing Time? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a question about being superstitious about writing:

“Do you ever feel superstitious about your writing time? Like you have to write in the same place, at the same time, after eating the same thing, to recapture the same success of a particular writing day that went well? Or do you find yourself giving up on a day’s writing because you weren’t able to do those things?”

This is an intriguing set of questions because whether or not a writer considers themselves superstitious about their writing practice, it speaks to underlying strategies and challenges around having a consistent writing practice, which is something I recommend for most writers. Let’s discuss. [more…]

 
Create a routine or container for your writing practice, but don’t be afraid to experiment and refine. Being a creature of habit is useful for writers, but we don’t have to be locked in.
 
 
Read the article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: Superstitious About Writing Time?

 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Black ice from Pexels

Ask the Coach: Odds & Ends – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a collection of shorter questions that haven’t quite warranted a full article but are useful nonetheless, from screenplay formatting to finding feedback for horror short stories, capitalizing nouns and proper nouns, and more! 
 
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the questions and choices and decisions we have to make as writers. The good news is that as you build a library of trusted resources, coming by those answers gets easier and easier over time. 
 
 
Read my responses to 5 reader questions and get a glimpse into the resources I turn to when I have writing-related questions, on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: Odds & Ends 
 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash 

Ask the Coach: How Much Should I Plan My Writing Time? – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month I’m addressing a reader’s question about how much (or whether) to plan writing time:
 
“How much should I be planning my writing time vs. just showing up to write each day?”
 
Much like the answer to most writing-related questions, it depends.
 

Here are some things to think about:

1. Showing up to write consistently is one of the most consequential actions you can take as a writer.

Whether you plan or don’t plan, showing up to write consistently and regularly throughout the year is the best way to see your body of work building over time.

Writing regularly has other benefits as well: According to a study by researcher Robert Boice, writers who write daily are twice as likely to have frequent creative thoughts as writers who write when they “feel like it.”

Writing consistently is also the best way to “find” or develop your voice, something writers often ask about too.

I typically advise most writers to aim to write 5 to 7 days each week, leaning to daily for newer writers or writers getting back on track after time away. Longer gaps between writing sessions make it harder to restart.

On the other hand, “just writing” without any kind of plan won’t necessarily help you see a script (or other writing projects) through to Done. Yes, ideas and voice development, as well as personal growth and insight are valuable. But planned writing leads to completion. At the same time, you can design it in such a way as to allow for flexibility. [more…]

 

While you certainly can be detailed in your day’s planning, I recommend working within the context of a well-structured goal and overall plan and setting up daily average targets in terms of time, page counts, and/or to-do’s. 

 
 
 
 
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
 
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels