How do you overcome writer’s block?

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  • How do you overcome writer’s block?

    I don’t know if I have writer’s block but I just have a general lack of ideas. I’m coming to the end of one screenplay so I’d like to start coming up with ideas for my next so I can outline it and such. The problem is, I’ve been totally drawing a blank. I used to be inspired all the time but I think the humdrum corporate life is slowly killing my creativity. Anyway, how have you guys dealt with this? I’m assuming I’m not alone here. Please help. Thank you!

  • #2
    1. Read through lists of old movies/tv shows and think if there's a modern twist. Liar Liar was an episode of Bewitched.
    2. Grab a dictionary, flip through at random, point at words. Try to come up with plots based off those words.
    3. Be a voracious consumer of the news. Plenty of odd little stories that can become movies.
    4. Use AI.

    I just went to chat.openai.com and asked it to pitch me 10 ideas for romantic comedies. Here's what it came up with:
    1. "The Wedding Crasher": A hopeless romantic crashes weddings to find the love of her life, but ends up falling for the wedding planner instead.
    2. "The Love Doctor": A struggling romance novelist hires a quirky love coach to help her write her next bestseller, but finds love along the way.
    3. "Love in Translation": An American woman travels to a foreign country for a business trip, where she meets a charming local who helps her navigate the culture and language barriers.
    4. "The Matchmaker": A successful businesswoman starts a matchmaking service to help her single friends find love, but soon realizes that she might have feelings for one of her clients.
    5. "The Perfect Proposal": A man plans the perfect proposal for his girlfriend, but everything goes wrong when unexpected obstacles get in the way.
    6. "The Love Triangle": A woman is torn between two men who both want her heart, but soon realizes that the person she really loves is the one she least expected.
    7. "The Office Romance": Two co-workers who can't stand each other at first are forced to work together on a project, and eventually fall in love.
    8. "The Second Chance": A couple who broke up years ago are given a second chance at love when they meet again under unexpected circumstances.
    9. "The Summer Fling": Two strangers meet and fall in love during a summer vacation, but their relationship is tested when they have to return to their normal lives.
    10. "The Wedding Planner": A successful wedding planner falls for the groom-to-be, but struggles with her professional ethics and the fear of losing her business.
    Some trash, but amusingly, I sold a spec that was very close to one of those.

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    • #3
      Find something else, something different, to work on. When prose isn't cooperating, and scriptwriting seems pointless (impostor syndrome is strong in that one), I scribble webcomics instead, which seems to use different brain cells. Also, they say good ideas can come when you're doing something entirely unrelated. Wash the dishes, mow the grass, learn to juggle.

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      • #4
        Maybe, per Jeff's post, write a script about how AI is going to replace us all in the very near future, make a dystopian comedy out of it and call it Revenge of the Human Screenwriters. If that doesn't work, be afraid, very afraid, and write like your pants are on fire, because they are.

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        • #5
          Yeah, you kind of need to know your genre. Most of the poor writing on here is because the author isn't well initiated in in the brand they are trying to sell. You have to love the genre and you should have something to say, from a writer's perspective, about what can be added to this category of film making.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Acooljt View Post
            I don’t know if I have writer’s block but I just have a general lack of ideas. I’m coming to the end of one screenplay so I’d like to start coming up with ideas for my next so I can outline it and such. The problem is, I’ve been totally drawing a blank. I used to be inspired all the time but I think the humdrum corporate life is slowly killing my creativity. Anyway, how have you guys dealt with this? I’m assuming I’m not alone here. Please help. Thank you!
            Give us 5 ideas based on your job. From OfficeSpace to die hard work settings can lead to many amazing movies.

            Comment


            • #7
              Try this.

              What had I done to cause God — or was it fate? — to put me where I was, sitting at my desk, facing the blank computer monitor that illuminated my dark room, unable to compose an original thought, incapable of creating a coherent sentence. I felt like weeping as I ran my fingers through my hair and clawed my scalp. I can’t write any more! I thought. Can I ever reignite the flame that once raged within?

              I leaned toward my desk and slammed both hands on its surface, an action that did nothing to help me write but much to relieve my frustration. Temporarily. What can I do?

              Then I remembered the Dorcher Clinic, the place where my friend Joe went to recover from a similar affliction. Joe went on to complete his first novel, “The Man Who Thought Too Much”. That’s it! If it helped him, the writer’s program would help me. I would go to the clinic in the morning.

              That night I thrashed around in bed, dwelling on my problem until I was ready to scream. What if I can’t be helped . . . I’m different . . . I’ve lost it for good . . . what will I do? Unable to fall asleep, I stumbled into the kitchen at 4:00 a.m. and brewed a large mug of strong coffee.

              After drinking the brew, I showered and put on my new jeans and sweat shirt, struggled into my running shoes, then as the sun began to rise, I climbed on my bike and pedaled three miles to the Dorcher building across the street from Pershing Square Park.

              Downtown Los Angeles was quiet and peaceful as I locked my bicycle in an empty rack in front of the clinic. With two hours to kill before the offices opened, I strolled across the deserted street to the park, which were deserted so early in the morning, and sat on a bench a short distance from a shuttered food stand.

              As I rested as best I could, a man wearing an apron with “Gustavo” printed on it approached the area, and I watched him as he opened the food stand and readied it for business.

              The aroma of freshly brewed coffee drew me to Gustavo’s counter, where I sat on a stool facing the street and ordered a cup. While I savored the brew, a cab pulled up to the curb and I observed a slender, dark haired woman step out of the taxi and glide along the walkway, like a fashion model on a runway, to the only other stool, next to mine. While she fumbled in her purse, she ordered the same thing I was drinking. “Large coffee. Black. No sugar,” she said, the sound of her voice low, the words precise.

              “Good stuff in the morning,” I said. I rarely began a conversation with a stranger, but her arrival so early in the morning ─ and such a sophisticated lady ─ aroused my curiosity.

              “Yes, always wakes me,” she said. ”Do you have a light?” She bent toward me as she brought to her lips a cigarette held gracefully between two slender fingers.

              “Sorry, I don’t smoke,” I replied. Yes, I was sorry, sorry I couldn’t accommodate her and prolong the conversation.

              “Here you are.” Gustavo’s fat hand slapped a book of matches onto the counter.

              She glanced at him, looked down, and took the matches. “Thanks, Gustavo” she said.

              I watched her strike a match and slowly bring its flame to the cigarette. She inhaled deeply while I remained silent. Then she turned to face me. “Do you know when the court opens,” she said.

              She’s given me another chance, I thought. I looked at the Gustavo’s name tag. “Gustavo, do you know when court opens?”

              “Building opens ‘bout an hour. But court don’t start ‘til nine,” Gustavo said.

              “Good. I have to meet my attorneys early. We must review a few things before we see the judge,” she said, still looking at me.

              Attorneys! More than one. Although I wanted to know everything I could about her, I remained nonchalant. “Guess we’re the only ones who got here so early,” I said.

              “I couldn’t sleep,” she said.

              Why couldn’t she sleep?

              “Me neither,” I said.

              “Why couldn’t you?” she said.

              “It’s a long story.”

              “We have time,” she said.

              I was silent while she lifted her cup and sipped the coffee. Then I watched her bring the cigarette to her mouth, lift her head, and slowly inhale. She nodded her head as she exhaled, signaling me to continue.

              “Well, it seems I’ve lost my creativity. I’m supposed to be a writer, and when you lose your creativity, you’re like a singer who has lost his voice.”

              “That is no good.” She lifted the cigarette to her lips and took a quick puff.

              “And why couldn’t you sleep?” I said.

              “Never mind me. Why did you lose your creativity? I heard Hemingway lost his before he committed suicide in the sixties.”

              It was clear she had done some reading. And she knew how to make me talk, which led to an easy conversation ─ I doing most of the talking, she asking questions and listening ─ about books and writers and my writing.

              “. . . and when I was thirty-eight, my best—” I said, as she cut me off.

              “Oh, oh what time do you have?” she said.

              “A quarter after eight.”

              “Oh my! I should have met my lawyers at eight. They’ll be hysterical. I’m so sorry to break this up. What is your name?”

              “Stephen. And yours?”

              She reached out and touched my arm. “I’m Rachel. Nice to meet you Stephen.” As she began to walk away she continued, “Have a good—”

              “Rachel, could we do this again?”

              Rachel stopped and turned to face me. “My next court date is in a week, Thursday, same time.” She smiled, turned, and walked away with more purpose than when she first arrived.

              I waved to her back and watched her disappear into the courthouse.

              “Wonder what her story is,” Gustavo said.

              “Me too, Gus.”

              I pushed my empty cup towards Gustavo and dug a five dollar tip out of my wallet.

              “See you next week,” I said.


              Suddenly I heard the roar of rush hour traffic and saw people bustling through the park on their way to work. I smiled, and I felt alive ─ I felt as if I had entered the bright sunshine after a long, dark illness.

              I walked quickly across the street, unlocked my bicycle, and sped home. My mind was racing with ideas.​
              Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 08-01-2023, 06:40 PM. Reason: Fixed font styling

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              • #8
                This might help you to get back at it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F2SLLu3kq0

                Comment


                • #9
                  Troll Facebook for ideas, everything from news stories to memes, put them together to form funny shapes in your head, amuse yourself, don't take it seriously… or do, treat the serious ideas as a joke and stupidest ones seriously, try to see all points of view, find the most mundane idea and see from someone else's head, or the craziest idea, and put the straightest character you can in as the protagonist.
                  I heard the starting gun


                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mark Somers View Post
                    This might help you to get back at it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2F2SLLu3kq0
                    One "bad" Ad deserves another, From New Zealand circa 1982-ish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot7i...el=OS-OldStuff Story telling in a minute
                    I heard the starting gun


                    sigpic

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                    • #11
                      Strategy - take a break to get a fresh perspective
                      • tactic 1 - move to another script temporarily
                      • tactic 2 - skip ahead/over scene
                      • tactic 3 - write a place card identifying the function of the scene
                      • tactic 4 - take a shower, don't know why, it works
                      • tactic 5 - visit the internet - this creates its own issues
                      What I don't do is give up.

                      Typically, if I'm stuck, it's because I haven't really thought through this moment. I ask myself what must happen now to get to the next scene thereafter. I outline so I know what I am writing toward. If I don't know what should happen, I go back to my outline and troubleshoot possibilities... "what if" scenarios.

                      Professional writers don't have the luxury of writer's block, they power through even if they have to go back and rewrite it later. I force myself to keep working at it, delete it, or move on if the tactics don't work.
                      "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy b/c you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." -- Edward Snowden

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                      • #12

                        I asked an AI, "How can I cure my writer's block?" Its suggestions coincided with answers given here.

                        ChatGPT said:

                        Writer's block is a common challenge that many writers face at some point in their writing journey. Here are some strategies that may help you overcome writer's block:
                        1. Take a break: Sometimes taking a break from writing can be helpful in overcoming writer's block. Take some time to relax, go for a walk, or do something else that you enjoy.
                        2. Change your environment: A change of scenery can help get your creative juices flowing again. Try writing in a different location, such as a coffee shop, park, or library.
                        3. Set a schedule: Set aside a specific time each day for writing, and stick to it. This can help you develop a routine and get into the habit of writing.
                        4. Try a different type of writing: If you're struggling with a particular project, try working on something different, such as a short story or blog post. This can help get your creativity flowing again.
                        5. Write through the block: Sometimes the best way to overcome writer's block is to simply keep writing. Even if what you're writing isn't great, just keep going. You can always revise later.
                        6. Talk to someone: Sometimes talking to someone about your writing can help you overcome writer's block. This could be a friend, writing group, or a writing coach.

                        Remember that writer's block is a common challenge, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Try different strategies and see what works best for you.




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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jonpiper View Post
                          I asked an AI, "How can I cure my writer's block?" Its suggestions coincided with answers given here.

                          ChatGPT said:

                          Writer's block is a common challenge that many writers face at some point in their writing journey. Here are some strategies that may help you overcome writer's block:[LIST=1][*]Take a break: ​
                          That's how I handle it. I've been "taking a break" now for about six months. I'm not (and never will be) a professional writer so I don't put any pressure on myself to write when I don't feel like it.
                          STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I'm a wannabe, take whatever I write with a huge grain of salt.

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                          • #14
                            Try again.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Centos View Post

                              That's how I handle it. I've been "taking a break" now for about six months. I'm not (and never will be) a professional writer so I don't put any pressure on myself to write when I don't feel like it.
                              I'm sort of in the same boat as you. I then asked my AI if there are different kinds of writer's block. It listed five, but I think there are more.


                              ChatGPT

                              Yes, there are different kinds of writer's block that writers may experience. Here are some examples:
                              1. Blank Page Syndrome: This type of writer's block occurs when a writer feels completely stuck and unable to start writing anything.
                              2. Perfectionism: This type of writer's block happens when a writer is overly self-critical and can't move forward with their writing because they're trying to make it perfect from the start.
                              3. Procrastination: This type of writer's block occurs when a writer knows what they need to write but keeps putting it off.
                              4. Burnout: This type of writer's block occurs when a writer has been writing for a long time and starts to feel exhausted, uninspired, and unable to continue.
                              5. Fear: This type of writer's block happens when a writer is afraid of what others may think of their writing or when they worry that their writing won't live up to their own expectations.

                              These are just a few examples of the different types of writer's block that writers can experience. It's essential to recognize the type of writer's block you're experiencing to find the right solution to overcome it.

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