The Best Dumb Questions About Screenwriting

Every time I teach my Beginner’s Guide to Screenwriting workshop I get asked these same questions and they’re almost always prefaced by the statement “this is probably a dumb question but…”

However, if no-one has told you about this stuff, how would you know? And I think knowing what you don’t know is actually kinda smart.

So let’s jump in and clarify some basics…

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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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10 Excellent Reasons To Join A Writers Group

I’m frequently asked by writers how they can keep themselves motivated and keep their project moving forward. This is a challenge I’m very familiar with so I duly offer up a bunch of tips and techniques I’ve developed over the years, and the one that really works for me consistently is – be accountable to somebody.

There’s nothing like somebody waiting for you to deliver to give you a case of the giddy-ups.

And how would it be if it wasn’t just one person waiting for you to deliver but a whole bunch?

Ladies and gentlemen – I give you – the writers group.

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