I'm following Ops's lead and joining the 14 Day Screenwriting Challenge.
Too many people are doing it now for me to chicken out - although I badly want to. I mean, the World Cup is on for most of those days for flip's sake!
But let's face it, we can multi-task if we want to, so we can think through a scene while we wait for the bus, feed our baby or sit in a boring business meeting. And then write the scene up while watching a soap or the footie.
If we can't multi-task then, I hate to say it, but we may have to make sacrifices. Sometimes to get what we want, to be a good screenwriter, it may mean cutting back on other things we like and enjoy. Do you really need to watch every episode of Big Brother and the Big Mouth and the Little Brother? Will one hour do in the pub instead of five hours? Can you make love to your partner for five minutes instead of an hour? I've cut down sex to one minute. It's easy!
The most important work anyway, is now, in the planning. Normally my pre-writing stage takes ages and the actual writing is quite quick as I've worked all the problems out before the dialogue stage. This is an opportunity to just give myself a week for that first stage and just get cracking. The plan isn't written in stone and so can be changed for the better as the 14 days roll by but some sort of structure is important or you're more likely to get stuck in the middle and give up. If you know where you're going it's easy. Well relatively. It's the difference between finding a place you've never been to before with a map or without one, I think.
The main reason why we may be reluctant to try is the fear of failure but who says your first draft has to be perfect? Even if, in the unlikely event, that first draft is the worst thing ever written the experience and knowledge you would have gained from planning a script and finishing a script will be immense. We learn by doing. Sure books and brilliant websites like mine are useful but there's nothing like quill meeting parchment for gaining skills in screenwriting.
I've printed off all the good preparation stuff on the 14 day site and I'm going to print off some of what Billy Mernit has said on Living the Romantic Comedy and just work hard on getting a good story together. It hasn't got to be best thing ever and I'm going to try not to give a flip about other rom-coms and how they worked or failed. I want this script to be about what interests me not what I think will sell.
Good luck everybody!