How to Fight “The Doubts”

Last month I received an email from a screenwriter client who, after receiving a “thanks but no thanks” letter, wanted to know what I tell myself to fight off the doubts that I’m not good enough. – and stay focused on finishing my story…

It was such a great question and it really started me thinking – what exactly DO I tell myself to fight off the doubts and keep going?

Self-doubt affects just about every writer I know and I’m certainly no stranger to it. Being a writer means endlessly seeking validation and approval from the outside world. And sometimes we just don’t get it. Cue the doubts aka the dark vortex of doubt aka the creeping fingers of dread aka the paralysing, grey corset of doom.

So what do I tell myself to get the crazy under control?

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Finished Your Screenplay? 6 Things to Do Before You Send

Finally typed FADE OUT on the last page of your screenplay?  Nice work.

Now you’ll want to get it in front of people who you hope will be as excited about it as you are.  But no matter whether you’re sending it to a funding body, production company, competition or listing site – you want to give it the best possible shot, so consider doing these 6 things before you send it out into the world…

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I Hate Big Buts and I Cannot Lie

I want to write a screenplay/book/play BUT I don’t have time.

I want to finish my book/short film BUT can’t because I have children.

I want to apply for that writer’s grant I heard about BUT there’s probably no point.

I want to enter that short story competition BUT only real writers ever win.

I want to write a book BUT I’m afraid I’m not good enough yet.

I want to write short stories BUT I worry I’m too old to start now.

I want to write BUT I worry I’m too young and that people won’t take me seriously.

I want to write for TV BUT I don’t know other writers or industry people.

I want to write plays BUT I have to spend most of my time making a living.

I want to write one day BUT I’m waiting until I retire/until work calms down/until the house is renovated/until I’ve done one more workshop /until the kids have left school etc, etc, etc, etc.

And the list goes on.

I hear variations of these excuses all the time. And sometimes I hear one or two coming out of my own mouth – goddamnit. But there are always numerous, perfectly freaking logical reasons for not investing your time in writing and, um, so what?

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