What to do when you are between writing projects…
January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
Okay, you just finished or turned in your latest script and you’re enjoying the mighty creative high of completing the project. It might have been a pleasurable time or possibly a horrible slog, but regardless of the experience you’re done. Now what? If you’re like me, I find myself feeling a huge creative void and have a burning need to work on my next project as soon as possible. I’ve noticed that I feel better when I’m writing and living in my creative mode. During the writing, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours in a world that I’ve created, hanging out with characters who lead me through the story and then it ends and we must part ways. That’s part of the deal. You must let go and move on. There’s another story in the universe that you need to tell.
Now, the script will ultimately come back to you with notes for a rewrite or revisions, but until that time what do you do? I’ve kept a daily journal, but I must admit it’s not the same as being in the thick of a script and writing for the screen. The journal is my personal world and many times I’m not too excited to write about my real life.
Now is the time to start thinking of fresh ideas, work on your pitches, craft one page treatments for those pitches, and get to work on your next project. You should watch a movie and study its structure. I recently watched a film on DVD, found the script online and read it after. It was a great learning experience and there’s always something to take away for your writer’s tool box. I’ve tried to watch a movie a night lately and I’ve discovered some real gems. I’ve seen more films in the last few months than in the last year.
I agree that you should take a small break and treat yourself for completing your script, but don’t allow too much time to pass. As with working out in the gym, the down time is nearly as important as the time working out. Writers need to “Recharge your Batteries.”
Don’t have too much down time either. If you’re like me, I will quickly begin circling an idea as I need the creative juices to flow. It’s my life’s blood and I never feel as good as when I’m writing a new project. If you are watching a film, a play, or enjoying a painting, you are like an athlete who keeps up their training. You’ll be ready to jump back in the game with your skills at their highest levels.
Complete your script, take a few days off, and then get back to writing — something. Your journal, a blog post, a Tweet, something. Lather, rinse and repeat.
“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”—Ray Bradbury
“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
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