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  • Writer's pictureViknesh Silvalingam

Features in a screenwriting software that can help you beat Writer's block

Every writer at some time in their career will arrive at a point where they find themselves unable to write any new or original work. This dreaded condition has a name, Writer's Block (1*). Though this condition has been documented for many centuries, the term itself was first described in 1947 by psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler (2*).  Writers from all art forms such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Joseph Mitchell (novelist), Charles M. Schulz (comic strip cartoonist), Sergei Rachmaninoff (composer), and even songwriter Adele have been known to have been affected by this curse. Thankfully this is a condition that is highly treatable and sometimes a writer (s) coming out of such a block will conjure up a masterpiece like the Coen brother's Barton Fink (3*). Over the years, doctors and fellow writers have discovered numerous methodologies to beat Writer's Block. The treatment will vary from physiological, to physical and even spiritual. Naturally in 2020, where writing is rarely done just by hand, we have tools to assist when writing is done with technology. So what are the type of features in screenwriting software that can help you fight Writer's Block?

Author and artist Twyla Tharp (4*) once wrote: “Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.” Not all of us are born with creativity but that doesn't mean that we can't become creative. It should be considered as more of a muscle, if you don't maintain it by training, you will lose it. Many writers tend to work on binges, writing nothing for weeks, and then locking themselves into a room and writing for days on end. Often the sheer pressure that has built up over the past several weeks leads the writer to experience a creative block. So if you were to write only when you are feeling it, you are self-checking yourself into the" Writer's Block motel. The best practice is to be writing consistently. A screenwriting software that encourages you to write on a set routine. It can be daily, weekly, or even monthly. The software's user interface should be perfect for organizing your ideas into a single window. So instead of clicking around your desktop for that document with your notes, it should be just one click and you are ready to go.

Freewriting involves writing a dedicated amount of time without pause and without regard for grammar and spelling. You just keep on writing, writing, and writing. And when you are done, you will see a bunch of red underlines, which is okay. The goal of freewriting is to write without being self-conscious, which is a major contributor to writer's block. Sometimes a writer (who is usually a wordsmith) spends a considerable amount of time looking for the perfect word or phrase to illustrate a concept. Unless you are a novelist, screenwriters finding the Shakespearean-like literature words for a scene is overkill as the director, cinematographers, and actors will eventually interpret your literally words their way. However, if you are particular about how a reader will perceive you as an incompetent writer if it's filled with spelling or grammatical errors, a screenwriting software integrated with an AI writing assistant like Grammerly (5*) can help you out. You would have to turn it off while writing and activate it before sending the draft over.

Most writers (including yours truly) enjoy writing in coffee shops. Yes, this cliche is deeply rooted in reality. Being around people and remaining anonymous at the same time. However, these days due to COVID, hanging out in cafes is not possible. We live in noisy times, surrounded by distractions and seemingly urgent interruptions to our work, whether it is an email, social media post, a chatty neighbor, or breaking news and all these factors could be causing your block. A change in scenery will help. Try creating a distraction-free space for yourself when you’re writing or doing creative work. maybe you can go to the park. But there is no wifi there (paper and pen still exist) First world problems, right? What you would need is a software that allows you to write offline or over mobile while you are on the train, bus, or airplane. Usually, even the smallest shift can make a huge difference to your productivity.

Acclaimed screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin (6*) has often stated that he is always in Writer's Block. Prevention is always is better than cure. A screenwriting software that allows you to share your work and get prompt feedback helps prevent Writer's block. There’s nothing quite like having someone looking out for you when you are beginning a writing endeavor. Whether you just can’t seem to make yourself sit down and write or you are having a hard time moving forward with your ideas, scheduling a time to collaborate with another human being will solve both those issues. Sometimes having just another creative voice within your sphere will generate excitement and kick start some wonderful ideas that otherwise wouldn't be there.

The Martini is a free screenwriting app that aides filmmakers in the early stage of their development to gather feedback from their team members. Please do subscribe to my newsletter and my social media accounts, Twitter, and Instagram to follow me on my team's journey in the development of this important filmmaking tool.

Author’s Notes/References


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