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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Writing Buddy Plan '08!

By Margaux Froley Outhred

Happy 2008, Rouge Wavers. Hope you all had a relaxing holiday and somehow saved yourselves from eating as many cookies as I did. (Damn those Mexican Christmas cookies in all their powdered sugar glory.)

New Year, same strike. So what’s your plan? Like you, I am back to the writing grind. I actually didn’t stop writing over the holiday, but now I’m back at it with a fresh enthusiasm. And the thing that’s really giving me a kick in the ass is that this WGA strike is still on. It might be easy to put writing on hold for a few months to let this ride out, but for those of us not in the WGA just yet, this is a prime opportunity to generate and stockpile material. Particularly for those of us laid off due to the strike, we have no business doing anything but writing more material. That, and getting thin, but that’s another blog.

They are not kidding when they say that opportunity is when luck and preparation meet. Or, is it preparation and opportunity meeting? You know what I mean. When this strike blows over, boy oh boy, there is going to be a lot of material flooding the town. And it’s not about having a lucky moment like getting trapped in an elevator with Steven Spielberg; it’s about having the material ready to go.

It’s a great time to harness this New Year’s energy and put a Writing Game Plan together. The writers I’ve been talking to don’t seem to have a problem coming up with ideas; their problem is how to tackle the multiple projects they are excited about writing. I too have been excited by a handful of new ideas, but also somewhat stalled by figuring out how to devote the brainpower to various projects in various stages.

So, here are a few things I would write down to help plan for a productive and successful 2008. There’s always something satisfying and calming about making a nice clean To Do List, don’t you think? Don’t laugh….I’m doing this exercise too, and I’m not that much of a nut, I promise. (Seriously, after spending time with my family over the holidays, I’m the sanest one in the bunch.)

On a single sheet of paper (use something that you can stick near your desk to remind you and keep you on track rather than just burying it in your computer files):

Title and logline/ Premise line of the current project:
Status of Current Project:
When you expect to complete a 1st draft:
2nd draft:
(And if need be, a 3rd draft polish):
How many hours a week can you work on this project:
When are those hours:

It’s as easy as that. Do this for each project you have on your mind right now. Can you designate different days to work on different projects? Remember, not all of them need to be written this year, but a single catalogue of your script arsenal, or intended arsenal, can be a helpful guide during those months when the creativity is not flowing as well. Also, this is a good exercise to help you be able to discuss your arsenal of loglines with ease. Hey, with the strike, you never know who is sitting next to you at Starbucks these days.

Now the hard part: Sitting your butt in the chair and just getting it done. You’ve done one thing to make these goals happen, writing them down. The next thing, if you really want to insure success would be to assign a draft deadline with a friend to trade scripts so someone will hold you accountable.

And as a free new service, The Script Department will match you up with a reader who will hold you accountable. Nothing like someone to make you feel embarrassed and ashamed if you don’t meet your deadline to keep you in that chair. (Nah, just kidding, we won’t make you feel bad,..well, maybe just a little.) I am administrating this new program, so sign up for a writing buddy today! There's no strings attached. Just sign up with a Script Department writing buddy once you have set your goals, and guess what you're going to get right around your self-imposed deadline? A little reminder. Maybe we'll even look at a few pages. But we will for sure do one thing - kick your butt.

Now get back to work.

ShowHype: hype it up!

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