Seven Tools To Help Keep You Writing

By Corey Mandell • April 19, 2022

“Goals are dreams with deadlines” — Dina Hunt

January is usually the time to make our writing resolutions, whether it’s committing to writing on a daily basis or finishing a certain number of scripts (or perhaps just that one script) by year’s end. Many writers don’t end up succeeding in these objectives, which is one of the main reasons amateurs remain amateurs

I recently spoke to an agent who said she won’t represent anyone who doesn’t write at least three new spec scripts a year, regardless of how many paid assignments they were also writing during that time. Because constantly creating new material matters. And it matters even more for writers trying to break into the business. So here are some practical tools you can employ to help you stick to your writing goals.

1.) Make your goals public. Set a writing schedule and send it to some friends and/or fellow writers. Promise to check in with them on a weekly basis to update them on how you’re doing. Being accountable to others can go a long way in helping us stay on track.

2.) Consider employing the Kurosawa Method, especially for those of you with particularly hectic schedules.

3.) Try using the Breaking the Glass Exercise, it’s an effective weapon in the fight against resistance and fear.

4.) The Jerry Seinfeld Chain has helped many of my students stay on track.

5.) If Facebook, email or some other internet siren-song is your procrastination drug of choice, you might want to try a program that limits access during scheduled writing times. I know several working writers who use the app Selfcontrol.

6.) If you haven’t read The War of Art, I’d highly recommend doing so.

7.) This might be a bit extreme, but I know writers who put some money on the line at stickK in order to have a tangible incentive to get those pages done.

Corey Mandell

Corey Mandell is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written projects for Ridley Scott, Wolfgang Petersen, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Meg Ryan, Warner Brothers, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, Fox Family, Working Title, Paramount, Live Planet, Beacon Films, Touchstone, Trilogy, Radiant, Kopelson Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures.  Corey is a distinguished instructor at UCLA, where he earned his MFA. He is also a mentor for Film Independent's Screenwriting Lab.  His students have gone on to sell or option scripts to...