Let's face it, until the pandemic and U.S. presidential election are over, perusing Twitter solely for writing advice ain't easy. But while searching Twitter for some #screenwriting tips to share, I stumbled on an account I didn't follow (but, yes, I follow her now!), Magda Olchawska @magdaolchawska.
One of the many joys of Twitter is discovering other artists from around the world. Magda lives in London, is an award-winning filmmaker, and tweets advice for writers as well as independent filmmakers. You can learn more about her on her website.
This tweet caught my eye...
In the tweet, Magda linked to an article she wrote with the full list of Aaron Sorkin's writing exercises—twelve writing exercises to inspire, from adapting a short story to writing a one-page scene.
Writing exercises are effective in warming up your brain, busting writer's block, or just aiding you in discovering new ideas.
Work your writing craft.
A couple of exercises jumped out at me:
Find a couple of screenplays of films you like and ask yourself the following questions:
*What does the audience have to know for the world in the screenplay to make sense?
*Who tells the story?
*When the story takes place?
*How the world is introduced, described?
Note: You can find tips on how to find pro screenplays to download here.
Reading screenplays written by professionals provides invaluable lessons, but taking the time to analyze them elevates your understanding of the craft.
But don't use reading as a way to procrastinate...
Get words on the page.
Beyond craft, developing a writing routine is essential. You can't sell a script unless you write it!
In Sorkin's 8th tip, he shares advice on how to create a writing plan.
Take your story, idea or the script you are writing and create a schedule for yourself to complete the story (daily count of pages or scenes to be written). Try to make progress every day to gain the confidence to carry on.
Note: More tips for helping you with your writing productivity here.
Creating a practical writing routine will not only help you produce work, but it'll also train you to be more disciplined, which you will need to be if you get hired for a writing assignment. Writing can't just be your hobby. You need to treat it like a job, with hard deadlines, even if self-imposed.
Now get writing!