Skip to main content

ASK DR. FORMAT: The Golden Key to Your Screenwriting Success

Dave Trottier answers a reader's question about how to stay on track in the New Year and achieve screenwriting success.

Dave Trottier is a produced screenwriter, award-winning teacher, acclaimed script consultant, author of The Screenwriter's Bible, and friendly host of Follow Dave on Twitter: @DRTrottier.

Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers!

ASK DR. FORMAT: The Golden Key to Your #Screenwriting Success by Dave Trottier | Script Magazine #scriptchat

THE GOLDBERGS - "The President's Fitness Test"- ABC Television Network. (Photo by Danny Feld/ABC via Getty Images)


How do I get off to a good start in the New Year?


There are books on the subject. You’ve already read articles explaining in detail how to succeed in the New Year. I’m going to make it easy.

Once every week, create a Weekly Action Plan of specific steps or actions you will take during the coming week towards achieving your goals. Thus, your first step is to make a few goals for the coming year. Make them specific, perhaps one for each screenwriting endeavor: 1) writing, 2) selling, and 3) learning.

My wife was at the gym the other day, and her exercise class was jammed, as it usually is in January because of New Year’s resolutions. A woman stood up and shouted, “Those of you who are going to quit by March, please leave now. You know who you are.” I laughed when I heard the story, but it begs the question, How are you going to keep from quitting in March?

With a Weekly Action Plan, that’s how.

Like you, I am a writer. Let’s say I want to write a screenplay this year. That’s the goal. I can identify milestones on the way to the goal; for example, research, outline, rough draft, and so on.

On Sundays (or other day of the week), I will sit down and decide what I will do this week to achieve that action goal. I may commit to a certain amount of time that I will devote during the week towards this goal. It could be Tuesday and Thursday night from 6 to 10, or 15 total hours of writing during the week.

The power comes in making specific commitments and then doing your best during the week to achieve your weekly action goals. Do this every week! If you don’t keep your commitment precisely, don’t fret or give up. Focus on your progress. Reward yourself for accomplishments. And keep writing!

More articles by Dave Trottier

Get more advice from Dave Trottier in his books and classes available at The Writers Store

dave trottier products

Set S.M.A.R.T. writing goals to learn how to meet the deadline and be more efficient in your writing with our FREE Writing Goal Worksheet.

Download this free guide to set better writing goals and improve how you meet deadlines today!

[form id="241776"]