Pre-Production

16 Steps for Planning and Writing Your Script: Step 2

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Step 2: Why journaling is a crucial step.

I hope you’ve taken the first step and started a journal if you haven’t been keeping one already.  If you are already journaling then you are ahead of the game and there are probably ideas whispering out of all the random thoughts you’ve put down on paper or on your laptop.

But let’s focus on those who are either new to journaling or are committing themselves to doing it consistently.

A lot of wannabe writers have many misconceptions about what it takes to write well.  You notice that I did not say “writing” because the term seems to suggest that writing is something that you can only do and enjoy if you are an “artist.”

Everyone writes, probably more than ever now thanks to technologies like texting, email, blogging, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. But if you read any of the writing on any of these sources, in most cases, the writing is atrocious and truncated and the beauty of language is replaced by slang and shorthand fads like “selfie.”

Tech has made sharing information more democratic but it is also producing lazier writers.  So, to write well, you must do it consistently, meaning everyday, and it doesn’t take much–20, 25 minutes, or 1 hour a day done consistently can produce a lot.

But back to your journal.

Right now, just concentrate on putting a few thoughts down in a notebook or in a document you’ve created on your laptop.  Journal anything.  Journal something that makes you angry about people, about the world, or about life.  Random ideas.

Right now, I’m going to assume that you are looking for an idea; if you already have an idea or multiple ideas then you can skip this step and go straight to brainstorming.  However, journaling is not a step you ever complete as suggested by the word’s root “journey.”  Writing is never a destination but an endless journey–it is your life!

 But journal everything and anything.  Commit yourself to a small block of time everyday to journal.  I’d say starting out, commit yourself to 25 solid minutes.  

Only you will see these ideas so be as honest as you possibly can, spill out all of your feelings without fearing who will see them.  Your views on life, relationships, race, your job, God, the Devil, your abusive childhood, your perfect childhood, your appearance, your self-image, your age, death, your favorite dessert, the bad service you received at that restaurant over the weekend, your landlord raising your rent, your children, an adulterous fantasy you had last night—-everything is permitted.

Right now, you’re probably thinking “where are we going with this?” but I assure you, what you are now doing is spreading the fertilizer that will feed your imagination.  Somewhere, sometime over the next few days (if not already), one of these entries will begin whispering to you, one of these little ideas will begin to tell you a story and at this time you will have to remove this idea from the others in your journal and start developing it, focusing on it, brainstorming for it.  

Until then, keep journaling and while doing so, examine each entry in your journal from a “what if” standpoint, which will help you to start thinking creatively about what you are writing. 

This is Step 2 of my writing system. If you’ve journaled yesterday and today, applaud yourself for as the proverb goes: the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And also, Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.” Concentrate on doing what you have to do today. It’s all cumulative!

Thanks for reading! See you next time.

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