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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions (often with a humorous eye) about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

I really want to get going on another script, but am having a hard time getting going.  Do you have any advice?

Wayne D. from Ohio


This week's Answer: 

When The Writing Gets Tough

Wayne, I appreciate your e-mail.  Getting going, as you put it, on a script is not always an easy thing to do.  First there's the "getting" part, which isn't easy in itself.  Then, of course, you have the "going," which can be even more difficult -- especially if you're stationary (I don't mean "if you're a piece of paper or envelope."  That's a different spelling of a word that sounds like the other one.  Well, come to think of it, if you were a piece of stationery, it still wouldn't be easy to get going).  And let us never forget the famous adage, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."  Or you could say that "It's tough to get going and, when you try to get going and it's too tough, that's tough."  I hope that helps.

I've been in the same situation, Wayne, wanting to screenwrite, but not knowing how to rev up the engines, so to speak, and plunge in.  (I apologize for mixing my metaphors, but it is my contention that, if they're not mixed at least once in a while, then I say, "fire the cooks and hire some that aren't afraid to mix a metaphor or two.")  It might be of assistance if I show you some inner dialogue regarding this subject, which I hope will be of some help.

INNER DIALOGUE OF A SCREENWRITER WHO IS HAVING A HARD TIME GETTING GOING

I don't know what to write.

Maybe I'm not a screenwriter and I've just been fooling myself 

But I've written a lot of scripts.  I guess I am a screenwriter.  But I still don't know what to write.  I want to write something that I really want to write, not just any ol' screenplay, but a great one.

How can I write a great screenplay if I don't even know how to start a bad one?

What am I doing, thinking I know what I'm doing and can write screenplays.  What was I thinking?!

I think I can write a screenplay.  I've done it before and can do it again.

Why am I talking to myself like this?  I could be using the time to write a screenplay.  Yeah, I could be writing right now!  Great!  I can feel the juices finally flowing.  I'm a writer.  I believe in myself.  I'm finally getting going!

I don't know what to write.

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