With all the lotions and potions available on the internet to enhance one thing or another, can you find one that enhances creativity, makes screenwriters write better, or even cure writers’ block.
Well… no. But there is a science to creativity. It doesn’t just happen. You can train it and make put it to work. That’s kinda welcome news for us writers, write?… Sorry… Right?
The creative process has been studied extensively and there are some easy ways to harness it and help you produce a prize-winning screenplay.
This is sacred. Turn off major distractions. If you’re in a coffee shop, avoid ones with loud music. Your mind is active in the formation of new concept fragments.
Screenwriters should ideally have a regular writing space. However, a change on environment is recommended during periods of writers’ fatigue, block or when you’re just trying to figure out plot points in your script. This is where screenwriting magic happens.
Music is part of your sacred writing space. I generally steer clear of anything more distracting than ambient music. That said, I’ve seen writers rocking out to Metallica in Starbucks. I knew it was Metallica because I could hear it blaring through their head phones.
There is some evidence that background music creates a mood appropriate to your style of writing. You decide.
Here’s another mood enhancer to stimulate the flow of your creative juices. And I don’t mean the kind that recently became legal in many states. Try burning some incense or essential oils such as basil, grapefruit and patchouli to boost your imagination.
Set aside a specified amount of writing time each week. Plan your session. Perhaps it’s an hour before work or a marathon over the weekend. Stick to it to retain your screenwriting momentum. Don’t allow too much time to pass between writing sessions.
Allow slight variations to your routine. If you’re on a roll, write for an extra hour. If you’re exhausted write less. Whatever adjustments you choose, never set your writing time allocation to zero.
This is when your mind is at most absorbent. Research where the marketplace is at and a niche you can fill. If you write comedy films watch as many successful films as you can. Read comedy screenplays; good and bad. This preliminary process will inspire you.
This will put your mind in the writing zone.
These are generally divided into three types:
FUNCTIONAL – When you write new pages
EDITING – This includes rewriting, wordsmithing and formatting.
RESEARCH – This is your internet time when you find out what the procedure is in a court of law, an arrest or how to exterminate termites in your house.
These are part of your scared writing time. If you don’t feel like writing new pages, edit. If you don’t feel like researching how heart surgery patients are prepped, edit. Whatever you do, don’t waste your writing session checking your emails or Instagram.
This is the place where your ideas are fixed in a tangible form. This includes voice recording, taking notes on your tablet, or scribbling on the back of your supermarket receipt. Get those ideas down before you forget them. Be prepared for this stage because ideas often come away from our designated workspaces.
Many psychologists have associated blue with improved creativity (perfect for writing new pages in your screenplay) and red with more logical tasks like rewriting and researching. However GREEN is the associated with the most constructive creative activity. That’s why it’s a great idea to have a plant in your workspace or take a walk in nature, even if it’s in your back yard.
This is the time when you are away from your keyboard. You can work on another project or do an unrelated activity. Work out. Go for a jog. Fear not. You are still working on your film or TV script. Your subconscious mind is hard at work while your conscious mind is working on other story ideas.
This is a great one for time out. Take a nap. Before you do, recite or write down a specific story problem that needs solving. Then go away and let your dreamy mind take over.
This is when you start making some definite formative decisions. Your suggestible mind which has until now focussed on unconventional ideas and freeform(ish) writing is jolted back to reality. It’s time to complete your first draft. Your opus is finally seeing the light of day. You’re ready to share it.
This is time to show your raw screenplay to others. Make sure not to get too much feedback on your first draft. This is exploratory. As you progress through your screenplay. get more specific feedback. Find out what is wrong, what’s missing and what’s unclear. Make sure that the givers of feedback are clear on creative vision.
This is where your logical mind takes over and hones your screenplay. It becomes more refined. You experience your breakthroughs here too!