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Bum in chair, then what?

A little while ago, screenwriter Scott Myers, who runs the blog Go Into The Story, reposted a reader question about how to actually go about writing once you’re sitting in the chair staring at a blank page.  He asked for his readers to post helpful hints in the comments section.

This was my answer:

I think a writer has to decide if they’re more productive by being disciplined to write a little bit each day or if they’re better to set aside a chunk of time (a couple days, a week or a block of evenings) to focus. I tried both ways and I found that I’m better with huge blocks of time. Once I get going, it’s hard to stop me until I’m done.

Also, you have to decide if you’re the type of person who needs to outline first and write pages second, or if you’re the type of person who needs to “poop out the pages” first and figure out the outline second (rearranging the script). For me, it’s a combination – but it was gold to me to figure out my working style.

Now I don’t stress about it. I just write a rough outline, put it through a few development passes (with outside feedback), and then sit down to write the pages. If another scene comes to me while I’m writing that’s not in the outline, I just write it, but then I keep going with the outline. If I have ideas that deviate from the outline, I make notes, but keep going with the outline. Then once I’m done with the first draft, and I can see flesh on my skeleton of an idea, it’s easier to see if that outline worked or not. Then the real work begins…


What do you think?  What are your tricks?

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