I think writers should go pro in work avoidance. We’re amazing at it. If we have a daily quota to meet, we suddenly need to save the world.
I admitted I had some work avoidance problems and made a conscience effort to realize when I was doing it so I’d make myself work.
I thought I was doing pretty well until I was re-reading Syd Field’s book, Screenplay. Suddenly I realized I had a new form of work avoidance. Oh it was sneaky because it didn’t stall me completely. It just slowed production to a molasses crawl.
I’m a screenwriter. I’m a novelist. I also write and direct sketch comedy. I usually can tell what is going to be a sketch and write it. But when I got to write a longer piece like a screenplay or novel, I find myself wondering if this is what I should be writing.
If I’m working on a screenplay, I wonder if I should write it as a novel first. If I’m working on a novel, I wonder if this would be better as a screenplay. I continue to write and get work done, but I spend a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of each form.
Both are major endeavors. I could write the book first, gain an audience, then turn it into a screenplay. Or I could just cut to the chase and write the screenplay.
I came to a pretty good conclusion: just get it written. I can then turn it into whatever I want. It’s like rewriting: you can’t rewrite something if it’s not on a page. You need to trust your instincts and outline that this can be a longer piece. You can beef up the prose or pair it down if you need to later.