This Simple Habit Could Change the Way You Write Screenplays

It really is simple, but it's highly effective.

We know, we know: these days, everyone claims to have "simple hack" that could change the way you do something or other. But, in effect, most of these tricks aren't that simple; they often involve complex efforts to re-wire your brain into more productive habits.

Vucko, however, has a truly elementary pointer for writers. It's as simple as writing it all down on paper. In the video below, he argues that a break from screen-time to physically write things down throughout your day is the most effective way to commit to—and gain clarity about—that which you write. 

Video is no longer available:

For screenwriters, enforcing this habit means intermittently disengaging from Celtx or Final Draft, even when you're at your desk, trying to write your screenplay. When was the last time you sat down and put pen to paper in the writing process? (No—it doesn't count if you were also interfacing with or referring to a screen.) Next time you sit down to write, put yourself in front of a piece of paper. See what comes out. 

Do you carry around notebooks for "brain dumps"? Vucko argues that writing things down as they come to you—on the train, stopped at a red light, in the grocery store—will further open your mind creatively, since your brain doesn't have to focus on remembering that great idea or line of dialogue. Research shows that writing these notes down by hand (rather than typing them on Evernote or Google Docs) is more intellectually stimulating for your brain, boosting your memory and your ability to create. 

Screenwriting can be an emotional struggle, so don't make it any harder for yourself. Go out and buy a Moleskine or Post-It notes.     

Featured image: iStockPhoto

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Your Comment


The greatest difficulty that we face now, is the laziness and uneasiness to write.
We are not used to writing. :(

July 11, 2017 at 11:55PM, Edited July 11, 11:55PM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

This seems simple, but it's so very important. This scratches the surface of the issues of distraction in our daily lives. If you haven't read Deep Work, you should. It will help you change the way you see/do things. Especially creative things.

July 12, 2017 at 6:14AM, Edited July 12, 6:14AM


To be honest, the biggest problem I faced was writing screenplays, from my experience I first started off with a brilliant idea, and passion for turning it into a film, and writing the first few drafts for screenplay seemed to be not a problem at all, but as you start to correct mistakes after mistakes and changing things up, it is then when I start to loose the motivation to actually create the film, doubting whether it is actually possible or not. Thanks for the idea though, will definitely try changing up my habit of typing out screenplays.

July 13, 2017 at 3:20AM

Preston Chui
Student Filmmaker

Good for you mate ! For me I HATE to write on paper. I Lose them, can't read myself properly, and for the most part I can't bring them with me ( because I work everywhere ). I'm so happy with software like Scrivener ( don't work for them ) where I can put virtual post it, annotate and add up Webpages as my search material. It's not because you put a statement with nice motion design that it's necessarely true for everybody. ;)

July 13, 2017 at 7:16AM

Manu Sapo

My handwriting is dreadful so i usually write stuff down in notepad first and if i'm not near my computer i write it down on my phone.

Sometimes i write entire scenes in Notepad first and then add them to Celtx/Final Draft. It becomes a rewarding experience everytime to see how many pages i have written.

I almost never write stuff inside the screenwriting software untill it is finished.
I never write stuff before i know what to write.
That idea of the screenwriter sitting infront of his typewriter and throwing paper into the trash-can is not a very good one.
If you work like that you are just gonna stop yourself from ever creating anything becuse you will probably become too precious about the page.

But if you write shit down in notepad(or on a piece of paper or phone etc) there is no pressure at all. They are just notes that no one but you is going to see(Hopefully) so just try shit out.

July 14, 2017 at 4:39PM, Edited July 14, 4:40PM

Joe Sand
Actor, Writer, Director, Editor

I'm old, so I've always been a write-on-paper kind of guy.

The hard part is reading my handwriting later.

July 14, 2017 at 8:16PM

Ryan Paige

Great article. I've got to resume writing on paper now.

September 24, 2017 at 7:54AM