Let’s face it, writing a screenplay can be tough. It’s a daunting task. Especially if you’ve never written one before.
I’m sure you’ve been stuck in a darkened theater watching a less than stellar movie and said to yourself, “I can do better than that!” The truth is, you probably can… if you’d just “get yourself” out of the way.
What do I mean by that?
I mean bypassing the inner critic. That harsh voice in the back of your head that kills dreams and ambitions. That voice that says, “Who am I to think I can write a screenplay?” It can be vicious, evil, and completely debilitating. That’s why you need to banish it from the creative process.
And the best way to do that is through the use of visualization. Creative visualization is a state of mind where you are completely relaxed and susceptible to positive affirmations and suggestions. It’s a state that bypasses the critical part of the mind and accesses your right brain, the area where creativity stems.
I’m sure you’ve been in an empowered state before. It’s often called “being in the flow” or “being in the zone.” It’s the ideal creative state. It’s where we strive to be in order to do our best work.
When we screenwriters are in that ideal state, ideas bubble up unconsciously, they flow into our consciousness like magic. We find ourselves typing scenes and dialogue effortlessly. We almost feel that we are in contact with something beyond ourselves.
Writer’s block is just the opposite of this. It’s where every idea you come up with is scrutinized and judged ruthlessly. You feel like every idea you have is terrible or has been said a million times before. You feel you lack originality or have absolutely nothing to say. But the truth is, writer’s block is merely a protection mechanism, it uses fear to keep you from being hurt by venturing into unknown territories where “danger” lies.
But writer’s block CAN be overcome with creative visualization. Creative visualization can transport you out of a state of stress or fear, and into a new space of inner calm, peace and tranquility. Additionally, a natural by-product occurs when the body releases all tension, thereby creating the relaxation response — the perfect state for learning, healing, or focusing on goals.
Personally, I use visualization to help me get into the proper state of mind to write. I just relax, let go, and listen to my personal recording of music and affirmations. But you can easily create your own visualization. Here’s how:
1. Compile a list of positive affirmations about writing, i.e., “I am an excellent writer”, “ideas flow to me easily”, “writing a screenplay is fun”, ” Every idea is a good idea”, “I am so excited to be writing this screenplay!” Write down whatever you see for your screenwriting career, i.e., “I have written an Academy-Award winning screenplay” or “My writing is always in demand by Hollywood studios.”
2. Purchase a small voice recorder. You can use a handheld cassette recorder, but a newer digital recorder is recommended because you can take it with your wherever you go to record your screenplay ideas as they come to you.
3. Select your favorite recording of meditation music. Play it softly in the background.
4. Speak your affirmations gently and slowly into your digital recorder. Repeat the series of affirmations as often as you see fit.
5. Find a quiet place and close your eyes. Listen to your new visualization twice a day with a pair of headphones to drown out distractions. Feel yourself relax and let yourself be swept away by your positive affirmations … by your powerful new future.
Yes, visualization is a powerful technique that can be used to conquer writer’s block and bring about new levels of creativity in your screenwriting career. In a competitive environment like Hollywood, any edge you can use can make the difference between success and failure.
About the Author
Ron Peer is the screenwriter of three produced films, most notably GOODBYE LOVER, starring Patricia Arquette, Ellen DeGeneres, Don Johnson, and Dermot Mulroney. Get a free tip guide on visualization at Ron’s website: http://www.ScreenwritingVisualization.com