“Finish writing your screenplay!”

Does that sound familiar? Is someone you know yelling that at you all day long?

Is there any chance that someone might be you?

There are a million reasons you’re not finished writing your screenplay. You have lots of explanations for why it’s not done. Upon consideration, the excuses make us feel awful. Why? Because they’re not legitimate.  So what can you do to go about actually finishing your script? Can you dig yourself out of this hole?

Here are some ways to finally complete your script:

Setting a Deadline

Deadlines are great. That’s why professionals work under a contract. Fellini said he only finished things because he spent the money he was paid to start them. But what if you don’t have a contract? Can you set yourself a deadline to finish by a certain date? Well, if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog. Setting self-imposed deadlines do not work or you would be done already.

The Boredom Will Be Back

Maybe you’re not done because you’re bored and you hate it. You can’t stand your screenplay. Everything about it makes you want to die. This is normal. If you start another one, you will come to this place again. Everything you write will cross this intersection. So ignore how much you detest the script, accept this lousy state of mind like a professional, and keep writing. You’ll feel better shortly.

Work on the Easy Scenes

Stop staring into your mind at the colossal problems you have in your screenplay. You’re freaking yourself out over how you can’t solve the big questions posed by your story. The fear that you might not ever figure it out and the terror that you’ve wasted years of your life has you by the throat. And it’s stopping your writing. Work on the easy scenes you know you have to fix. The scenes you have some answers for. We all have something we can work on. Set aside the bigger problems you have no solutions for. Work on the scenes you have ideas for fixing and you will find that by taking the focus off of your obsessions, you begin to find answers to the larger problems.

Remember the Original Idea

Travel back in your heart to the time when you first thought of your idea. Remember what it is you loved about the idea. Why did you start writing this script? Go back to that. Rediscover why it’s important! Why you started this battle. Get acquainted with what turned you on from the start and this will help restore your will to finish writing your screenplay. Your original idea should always be your guide. Keep it close by.

Review the Feedback You Hated

Remember the notes you got that you thought were relevant? Do you recall the feedback that you dismissed as being sloppy and inconsistent with all the other feedback you have received? Go back to it. Read it again. You might be in a place to finally hear the criticism and spark new ideas and start working on your script again.
Notes that have been set aside suddenly make sense when you’re on the floor, crying like a baby.

Write the Awful Ending

Who cares if you know it sucks? Write the bad ending. The only danger in writing the placeholder finale to your story is that you might actually be lazy later and leave it in forever. Have the courage to not only write a placeholder ending to your screenplay but also delete it later because you know it’s terrible. But by typing SOMETHING to get to the end, we can free ourselves up to keep working. Don’t stare at the blank page for the rest of your life trying to THINK of the perfect ending. Put the bad one down and write your way to greatness.

Are you a writer?

If you tell people you’re a writer, finish your screenplay.

Writing Your Screenplay Now

Open your script right now and type words. There is no other day. It’s always the same day. There’s no future for the storyteller. The fire is lit and the audience is in the chairs. It’s happening this second.

By Gordy Hoffman