Monday Morning Editor Picks: Tools to Motivate & Get You Writing a Screenplay

I don’t know about you, but I loathe starting a new writing project. I find any reason to procrastinate, especially using my job as Script’s Editor to give me “excuses” as to why I’m too busy to write today. How do you think I came up with the idea of Monday Morning Editor Picks?

But over the years, I’ve found sneaky ways to trick my writer’s procrastinating mind into getting words on the page.

1. Take a screenwriting class.

We have quite a few at Screenwriters University (some On Demand and some online with due dates for assignments), as well as webinars On Demand at The Writers Store. The beauty of On Demand is there’s no excuse not to start today when you can download the class with a few clicks of the mouse. Classes also provide deadlines to meet as well as a assignments that get your script idea onto the page.

2. Get help outlining.

I love using an outline, but I hate writing them. I’ve scoured all the screenwriting books and tools trying to find anything to help make the process less painful. I pooled together tips from tons of screenwriting resources and created a Structure Grid of Character Development and Plot. Download it for free… my gift to you. Yep. You can make really cool spreadsheets while you procrastinate.

Another trick is using fun outlining software, like Outline 4D, which is ON SALE until 8.31.13 at The Writers Store.

3. Enter a screenwriting contest.

Back when we were writing the first draft of Slavery By Another Name, we entered Sundance Screenwriters Lab to give us a drop-dead deadline. Let’s face it, we writers need deadlines. It’s in our DNA.

Here are two we have at The Writers Store. Truth be told, had I known about either of them prior to becoming an employee, I would have jumped at the chance to enter!

Industry Insider Contest: The Writers Store runs this contest several times a year, giving you more than one shot at writing a script based on a given logline. The current contest’s logline was provided by Roger Avery, Academy Award-winning screenwriter for Pulp Fiction, and writer of Silent Hill, Beowulf and writer/director of Killing Zoe and Rules of Attraction.

Logline: Three neurotic hit-men, each with troubled pasts, are separately enlisted by a highly secretive client to assassinate each other.

Working from this A-list logline, you’re challenged to create up to the first 15 pages of an original script based on the given concept. Make it your own – drama, action, sci-fi… anywhere your imagination takes you. What I love is you only have to write 15 pages to get a shot at meeting Roger Avery and the Benderspink team! Regardless of whether you win the overall contest or not, ALL finalists get a copy of Movie Magic Screenwriter software, a one-on-one mentor, and script development notes to help them craft the first draft of their script that will be judged by Roger Avery and Benderspink, choosing a winner. (Early Deadline August 31st. Regular Deadline October 31, 2013.)

Screenplay Replay Contest: Where Your Winning Script Gets a Publishing Deal: There is more than one way to break into Hollywood. Why not use the trend of Hollywood’s love affair with novel adaptations to increase your odds of success?

Screenplay Replay is an international competition calling for submissions of complete full-length screenplays in any genre. From these entries, one lucky winner will be chosen by our panel of esteemed judges to work with a successful ghostwriter to adapt his or her screenplay into a novel, which will be published through an imprint of F+W Media, and sold through major distribution channels.

This is a life-changing opportunity to become a published author, enjoying an income stream from your book’s royalties!

It’s also a great way for screenwriters to transition into novel writing or just add this in-demand skill to their writing repertoires. Plus, a published novel is a fresh and exciting way to get your story out there in front of Hollywood buyers and possibly get your film made!

Sorry for taking your procrastinating excuses away, but it’s time to get that script on the page! You can’t become a pro screenwriter if all you have are ideas floating around your head. Get them on the page…

Editors Picks

jeannevbJeanne Veillette Bowerman is the Editor and Online Community Manager of Script Magazine and a webinar instructor for The Writers Store. She is Co-Founder and moderator of the weekly Twitter screenwriters’ chat, #Scriptchat, and wrote the narrative adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name, with its author, Douglas A. Blackmon, former senior national correspondent of The Wall Street Journal. Jeanne also is President of Implicit Productions and consults with writers on how to build and strengthen their online and offline networks as well as face their fears in order to succeed in writing and in personal peace – a screenwriter’s therapist. More information can be found on her blog, ramblings of a recovered insecureaholic. Follow @jeannevb on Twitter.