August 19, 2019

Having Trouble Starting to Write? Let Seinfeld Guide You!

Nothing is scarier than the blank page. But the show about nothing, Seinfeld, has some wisdom for you. 

I was talking with my manager last week and he asked when I would have something new for him to read and it terrified me. So much of breaking in is constantly staring at the blank page and creating something from nothing. Now, more than ever, you don't need one or two spec scripts, you need to be writing that many a year. 

Just that thought makes me want to puke. So far, this year, I've only written one pilot and one rough feature draft. That means in the days I have left I need to produce even more. It's a daunting task. 

Especially when it's so hard to start working. 

It's not easy to start working, like this clip from my favorite show, Seinfeld, shows. 

So how can we overcome our anxiety and turn the blank page into something good, or maybe even great? 

Just write. 

The truth is, the only way forward is just to write. 

I know you probably came to this post hoping for a tip or a trick to get going, but writing is a self-motivated field. You have to crack the whip on yourself. You probably have to sacrifice some fun plans or even a vacation. That doesn't mean that creation needs to be miserable. 

You can have a lot of fun in your world and in front of your computer. 

But you have to be there. 

The reality of the industry is that it's built off of who is hot. If you get hot and have a script that sells, good reps should be able to get you more work. If your script doesn't sell and you don't get hot, you gotta keep writing. 

Hopefully, those assignments go well and you continue to get work. but maybe they die and go nowhere. Then you're screwed. You'll need to get hot again to make more sales and to capitalize. 

But can you turn nothing into something? 

One of the best things about Seinfeld, besides being the TV show I turn to to binge when I'm feeling anxious, is the idea of the nothing pitch. 

As writers, it's our job to capture the life we have around us and mold stories out of it. In Seinfeld, they are people who felt like their lives were made up of nothing, and that's what their show became about. It makes me laugh because of the meta-humor but it also hits home. 

So when I am staring at a blank page, I think about what I need to deal with in my own day-to-day. 

Then I think about if it applies to the plot I need to write. 

Then, almost magically, I try to write a bit about that. Sure, outlines and treatments help a ton, but I'll do anything to not have a blank page freaking me out. 

What's your "nothing?"

What can spark your imagination and get your ideas out into the world? 

Find it and go with it. 

I can't wait to see what you create. 

What's next? 5 Questions your Pilot should answer

When an agent, producer, manager, or executive read your TV pilot a myriad of thoughts will run through their minds. If you’ve written something compelling and refreshing most of these thoughts will be great, but if your pilot misses the mark they’ll be less thrilled.

Click the link to learn more!      

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