Script Coverage Chronicles – January 2022: Five Ways to Regain Screenwriting Momentum

Feeling out of creative steam?  

It happens to every writer at every level.  There’s so much resistance, so much rewriting, so much everything – it’s easy for any writer to lose momentum.

But momentum is everything.  

All you really need, to eventually succeed, is to move forward. 

All you really need is momentum.  

If you find yourself without it, here are five ways to get it back:

One – Watch A Great Movie

Recently, I was pretty slumpy – lots of family distractions, lame excuses and a general feeling of time slipping away.  


But then I watched Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos.  


The script is an inspiration.  The performances of Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman are inspirations.  (I heartily disagree with anyone who claims Kidman didn’t become Lucille Ball.) The meaty supporting roles, the nostalgia, the legend of Lucy – it all inspires. 


I remembered, once again, how much I love this “movie” stuff.


One great film, maybe two – that’s enough to get your momentum back.  Any more than that, and you’re just procrastinating.


Two – Go Back to the Genre You Love

When I first started out, I dreamed of writing arthouse dramas.  But then I got a lucky break with a family animation script. Ever since then I’ve been pegged as a “family writer.”  


Don’t get me wrong – I really like the family stuff, but I often think about going back to my dramatic aspirations, back to something kids wouldn’t get at all.  


And when I’m in a rut, I sometimes take a crack at a few such scenes, and it seems to help with the momentum thing.


Three – Write Something Outlandish


This is a fun one.  


If you’re struggling with writers’ block, write something insane.  Write the weirdest, least-commercially-viable story you can imagine. Write a modern-day Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  


I don’t mean write the whole thing.  Just take a crack at some story beats.  


When you’re writing something so impractical, the constraints of a hyper-commercialized industry won’t intrude. 


You’ll find your inner voice again.


Then bring that voice to something you can sell.


Four – Forget the Outline


As writers we’re taught to plan our stories so meticulously.  We’re taught to prepare outlines and treatments.  We’re taught to plan and plan and plan. 


And there’s a reason for that.


It makes our scripts better.


But it’s so effing constrictive.  


And when you’re in a creative slump, you need to be free.  


So just start free associating action lines and dialogue.  


It’ll open your mind.


Will these free-association pages be genius?  


Probably not.


But they’ll help with your momentum.


And then you can go back to your outlines with the energy you need.


Five – Just Believe


This one may the most difficult to execute, but it really works.


Just know you can do it.


I’ve come across many writers who have what it takes.  All they need to do is bring their scripts home.


But for that you need momentum.


And momentum requires something else to fuel it.


Call it confidence.  Call it manifesting.  Call it a leap of faith.


Just believe.