Whether you’re working from home, or social distancing, it can be difficult to meet your writing goals when going stir-crazy in your apartment. Never fear, there are ways it can be done! Here are seven ways to stay motivated and stick to a writing schedule. Also, if you're looking for a simple, effective screenwriting e-course, then check out our very popular Write Your Screenplay in 60 Days which offers daily step-by-step guidance - available as both an e-book and an e-course, on sale now.
CREATE A SPACE
Anyone who’s worked remotely knows how difficult it can be to work and live in the same space. Add in a personal writing project of any kind and it’s a recipe for restlessness. The temptation to write on the couch or in bed can be overwhelming, but it’s a much better idea to create a workspace for yourself. Whether that be a spot at the dining room table, a dedicated writing desk, or a lap desk you only use when working on your screenplay, creating a space specifically for writing can be helpful in keeping yourself on track and establishing a productive mindset. When you’re there, you’re writing.
It’s amazing how many distractions we can find in our own homes. When you sit down to write, make sure that you’re actually writing. Minimize distractions by avoiding social media, apps, and websites. Set timers for the apps on your phone, turn off your Wi-Fi, or download a distraction app for your computer. Better yet — leave your phone in the other room! If the temptation to play Candy Crush or check Twitter isn’t there, you’ll be more likely to hit your writing goal for the day.
SMALL GOALS ⏰
One of the most frustrating things about working on your own writing projects is sticking to self-imposed deadlines. This is infinitely more difficult when you’re stuck at home. Hitting deadlines and finishing tasks is a sure-fire way to make yourself feel good about whatever writing project you’re working on. So instead of imposing intense and hard-to-meet goals for yourself, set small goals for yourself. Two pages instead of 10, that scene you’ve been putting off for weeks, or revising one act of your pilot — checking smaller tasks off your to-do list will make you feel accomplished and want to keep writing. Also, mark your calendar for these upcoming screenwriting competition deadlines. And also check out our partner Coverfly.
We may be practicing social distancing right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a walk. Being outside can be an immediate way to motivate yourself, and the fresh air can boost or revitalize your mood. The change in scenery might even inspire something in your writing — you never know what you’ll see on a walk around the block.
WRITE WHAT YOU WANT
There are always scenes we look forward to writing more than others. Instead of pressuring yourself to write your screenplay in order or exactly according to your outline, write the scenes you’re dying to write first. If you’re motivated enough to write one scene over the other, go with your gut. Then keep up the momentum and write the other things you’re really hankering to get on the page.
Thankfully there are plenty of ways to stay connected while we’re all staying inside. FaceTime, Skype, group texts, Google Hangouts — however you need to keep in touch with your writing group is fine. Tell your writing buddies what your daily or weekly goals are, and make sure they hold you accountable. Send them scenes, lines of dialogue, ideas for new projects. Or have a virtual meeting with your writing group. We’re all in this together… separately.
It can be difficult to remember why you’re writing when you’re stuck at home. So whether it’s a well-written Post-It with words of wisdom, a witty coffee mug that you start your day with, or a vision board with writing inspiration, find ways to remind yourself why you’re writing. It will keep you motivated and inspired no matter how long you’re stuck at home!
Britton Perelman is a writer and storyteller based in Los Angeles, California. When not buried in a book or failing spectacularly at cooking herself a meal, she’s probably talking someone’s ear off about the last thing she watched. She loves vintage typewriters, the Cincinnati Reds, and her dog, Indy. Find more of her work on her website, or follow her on Instagram.