I love that I can write for a living yet still have time to write creatively. Not everyone is so lucky; knock on wood and eternal gratitude.
This doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from the occasional bout of writer’s block. It has been incredibly oppressive during the pandemic, which can weigh on the soul enough to bring on creativity stomping malaise.
Add this to the fact that some of my writing juice is poured into the job, and it can be hard to get your mojo on when it comes to writing for yourself.
This is when having a cache of old works comes in handy.
When I feel a bit low on ideas, I polish off an old script to tighten or modernize it. The process is fun and a lot less time-consuming than starting from scratch. These drafts tend to be strong enough to enter into a few big-name screenwriter contests too, which is another advantage of polishing older works.
Even so, you never know if the concepts will work for a modern audience, particularly if the premise is a bit dated.
I was more than a bit astonished and happy when my revamped horror screenplay Eaters placed in the semi-finals of both the Wiki: The World’s Fastest Screenplay Contest (Sept 2021) and Fade In Magazine’s First 10 Pages Competition (December 2021.)
Winning contests not only keeps you sharp (you have to hone your skill to even place in some of these things because the talent is fierce and fabulous), but it keeps you motivated when corporate writing starts to wear you down.
My New Years resolution this year, besides losing a ton of prednisone weight due to an autoimmune flare, is to start streamlining my screenplays and actively entering contests again.
Wish me luck, and always, ya’ll keep on keeping on!