Debunking Writer’s Block: Unleash Your Creative Potential

Text that reads writer's block is a myth

Writer's Block—a term that haunts nearly every creative mind, especially screenwriters, who rely on their ability to create captivating stories. However, I’m here to tell you the concept of "writer's block" is merely a myth. A device of procrastinators and those unwilling to put in the extra work. In this article, I will explore why there is no such thing as writer's block and delve into the best practices that can be used by screenwriters to overcome creative hurdles and unlock their full potential as creatives.

The Myth

Writer's block is typically portrayed as an insurmountable obstacle which paralyzes a writer's creativity, leaving them staring into the white abyss of a blank page. However, the notion of “writer's block,” as we know it, stems from the belief that creativity should flow effortlessly and continuously. The idea that once you sit down to write, if the words don’t spill out onto the page, there must be a problem. In reality, the creative process is filled with highs and lows, moments of inspiration, and periods of introspection. Accepting this ebb and flow of creativity is the first step toward overcoming the myth of writer's block and creating the next great Hollywood screenplay. Moreover, there are steps that can be taken to avoid writer’s block altogether. You just have to be willing to put in the work and push through.

Let’s take a look at some best practices to follow as a screenwriter and how they can help you overcome any “writer’s block” of which you may be fearful.

Establish a Writing Routine

Create a writing schedule that suits your lifestyle and stick to it. Consistency cultivates discipline and helps condition your mind to be receptive to creative impulses. According to modern studies it takes anywhere from 18 to 264 days to form a new habit. It just depends on the person. However, the study did conclude that, on average, it takes 66 days for a behavior to become automatic. Keep that in mind every time you think about skipping a day. By sticking to a schedule, writing will come second nature…it just takes time.

To create a routine, carve out time from your day and set it aside to write. Whether it’s for thirty minutes or five hours, it does not matter as long as you set a timer and work until your session is over. The point is to have a dedicated time to sit down and work on your screenplay without distraction. Don’t walk away the second you run out of ideas. Instead, if you hit a wall, go to the next scene. Think about another moment you know you want in your screenplay and work on that. You might not be able to write the current scene, but maybe you have the perfect idea for the belly of the whale. Write that. Your work will likely create a door in the wall you hit earlier.

Related: Ways to Write Every Day

Embrace Your Creative Process

As you grow as a screenwriter you must learn to embrace the creative process, whatever that may look like for you as an individual writer. Do you like to scribble down notes, turn those into beats, create an outline, and then write your script? Or do you simply sit down and start writing? There is no right or wrong way to create a screenplay. It can be very structured or very messy. The important part is that you figure out what works best for you and stick to it.

As for myself, I find that creating the beats and crafting a comprehensive outline, is a great way to combat writer’s block. These steps allow you to experiment with the structure of your story and jump around to your essential scenes. If you know how your story begins and how it ends, you should be able to loosely work out what needs to happen in the middle. Remember, as long as you keep writing, you can always go back and revise it on another pass.

Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity

Don't be afraid to make mistakes or write a few "bad" drafts. Fear is a large part of writer’s block. Nobody wants to write a bad script, but you can’t let that fear keep you from moving forward. Failure is a natural part of the creative process and will often lead to the breakthrough you were looking for all along. It can be hard to tell if something is working or not, but it’s fairly easy to know when something simply does not work. Once you see a scene or character beat doesn’t work, you can always go back and fix it.

Each script you write will teach you something new about yourself as a writer as well as the craft. Make mental notes of each mistake you made in the first draft and pay attention to how you find a solution. These solutions can be applied to each future script and keep you from making the same mistake twice. Learn from your failures, iterate, and persevere. Every script will be better than the last, but that means you have to keep writing.

Identify Other Underlying Issues

It may not be fear that is creating your writer’s block. Creative blocks can also be rooted in self-doubt, perfectionism, or some other underlying issue. If you find yourself staring at a blank page, take some time and meditate on what is keeping you from writing. By reflecting on any underlying issues that may be hindering your progress you can take steps to address them. How one addresses these underlying issues will depend on the person and can range from practicing positive affirmations to seeking therapy.

Hopefully these best practices will enable you to push past the myth of writer’s block. Writer's block is only a fallacy that places unnecessary pressure on creative minds and becomes an out for procrastinators. By adopting effective practices and understanding the true nature of the creative process, screenwriters can conquer any creative hurdle. Remember, the path to creativity is unique for each screenwriter, and perseverance, self-care, and an unwavering belief in your talent is essential to becoming a working screenwriter. Embrace the process, trust your instincts, and let your creativity flow freely. Looking for help with your screenplay? Let Your Screenplay Guy take a look by purchasing one of my affordable coverage options here.

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