Like most people who love movies, I am a wannabe screenwriter. Everyone thinks they have a story to tell. The hard bit is transporting the fragmented ideas into a coherent whole on paper. I have started numerous film scripts, and so far finished two. The first one was, looking back, not great but the second one has shown promise.

The dilemma is how to motivate myself to do it. I feel bad for saying that I love movies and writing them, and then saying that I need to gee myself up to do it. After all, if I loved it that much it would consume me wouldn’t it? Part of the trouble is time. I have a 9-5 job and a family to interact with. Understandably this all takes up most of my time. After I get home, see my son, have a shower and some dinner, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer again.

Another view, is there is a hint of fear and self doubt about starting a new project. Fear leads to procrastination and laziness. And I KNOW I’m guilty of that! If I can find an excuse to watch a movie rather than write one, I will. But, just think of all those amazing films I’m depriving the cinema going public of if I continue to avoid the keyboard.

Once I get started I go with the flow and it comes a lot easier. It’s the starting that is the problem. So, I am asking all people who read this to PLEASE give me some tips and motivational speak! I need a rallying cry, a call to arms, a shot of positivity.

HELP ME and I WILL reward you with great films, I promise!

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. I think the first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions. How serious are you about this? What’s your goal? Do you just want to write for the fun of it, do you want to write to get movies made (whether they pay well or not), or do you want to be a professional, Hollywood screenwriter?

    If you’re like most people who try their hand at this, you’re probably aiming for Hollywood. So, here’s the thing: It’s doable. I know a number of regularly-working screenwriters and they’re normal people, most of whom had crappy day jobs and zero connections when they started.

    Here’s the other thing: It’s extremely hard. There are more active NFL players than there are WGA screenwriters who got paid in 2012. It’s that competitive. You don’t just have to be better than the other people who are trying to break in (most of whom are single and kid-free); you have to be better than people who are already doing it. Why else would a studio exec hire you over them?

    It takes most people 5-10 years of really hard work to break in, and even after you’ve broken in, there are no guarantees. I only know one person who sold his first script in under five years. The movie was made a couple years ago, yet he’s still struggling to make ends meet by picking up whatever production work he can find. He just signed with a new manager and has a script going out to A-list actors next month, so maybe that’ll change, but it’s a long, hard road.

    The only reason I’m mentioning all of this is because you have a family, so you really need to consider how much you want this. If you’re going to go for it, you need to go all the way. Don’t spend three or four years eating up time that could have been spent with your son, only to give up and then regret that wasted time.

    I wrote my first screenplay almost ten years ago. It took me eight to break in and sign with my manager, who got me my first Hollywood option about six months later. I’m still working the day job and have no idea when that’ll stop. I’ve now got two little kids (3 yrs and 5 months), and structuring my time is always a struggle. I get burned out a lot.

    But, I’m basically pot-committed. I’ve been doing this for too long to give up, so my only option at this point is to make it work. Hopefully that’ll be soon, so I can live a relatively “normal” life and have more energy to play with my kids.

    That said, I still have time for them. The way I do it is I get up at 4-4:30 AM nearly every morning, often even on Sundays. I write when everyone else in the house is asleep. And I bring my laptop to work and write on my lunch breaks. And if the traffic on my morning commute is light, I’ll take advantage of those extra few minutes and do some writing in the parking lot.

    When I get home, I hang out with the kids until bed time. Once in a while I’ll work after that, but it’s important to make time for my extremely supportive wife as well, so usually I’ll hang out with her until 9-10, then go to bed and repeat the cycle.

    It is draining. It’s a grind. But if you want to achieve what is basically a pipe dream, you do what you’ve got to do. The most important thing you can do is realize how valuable your time is. Then, structure out your day and stick to it.

    Sorry that was so long. Hope you find it helpful!

  2. Hi N.G.

    Thanks for your lengthy comment! It amazes me how helpful people are on the world wide web. People are always keen to offer tips and support to people they don’t know. Cheers!

    Well, I’m serious about writing scripts, in that I hate having to work a 9-5 job I don’t enjoy or have no interest in. I’m not foolish enough to think I can just break in to Hollywood with one screenplay (even more so because I don’t even live in the States). I do have some contacts which could one day prove useful but that is about the extent of my proximity to ‘the business’.

    I would never sacrifice time with my son, because ultimately my family is more important to me than my dreams of recognition, money and whatever. I am happy enough with fitting in writing as and when I can, after all, it doesn’t take TOO long to write a first draft once you get cracking.

    My trouble is psyching myself up to start writing. I come up with the idea, start to structure it etc, and that’s when I need to kick in to writer mode, rather than just leave it festering in my drawer.

    I’d love to here about some of your scripts etc. I have the first ten pages of two scripts posted on LinkedIn if you are interested in taking a look.

    Kind regards


  3. As far as I know, there’s no magic potion or tip that will solve the issue. Like I said, I think it’s mostly a matter of asking yourself how much you want this, and recognizing how precious your time is. As a father with a day job, you don’t have much to work with. It takes a ton of time to outline, write a script, and then do a couple good, honest rewrites on it to get it to where it should be. And it takes most people several scripts just to get a feel for the craft and their own voice.

    Do a bit of introspection on that level, and hopefully the realization that you truly need to take advantage of the little time you have may kick you into gear. There’s a temptation to only write when it’s convenient or when you feel like it, but that will never lead to a career — especially not for someone in our position. You have to show up exactly as you would to a day job. More often than not, after a couple solid weeks of writing, the momentum will take over and you’ll be good for a little while.

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