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Why Professional TV Writers Don't Get Writer's Block

When you're writing, it's very common to feel like the inspiration just ain't coming. There are some days you sit down at your computer and the words just don't flow like they usually do.

There are other days that you may stare at a blank screen and wonder why you ever thought ideas and words could come out of you at all.

I experienced all of these things in the beginning of my TV writing career. I believed firmly in the idea of writer's block.

But after years in the industry and countless paid writing jobs, I've come to realize one thing...

Writer's Block Isn't Real

There's a changed attitude towards writing when you take it on as your profession. All of a sudden, it's not this mystical pursuit with a guiding light that may or may not shine on you on any particular day.

All of a sudden, it's a job with a deadline and expectations.

You cannot wait for the muse to strike. You need to force it out of you and you need to do it now.

And it always comes out. It always does.

When you take writing out of the context of this mystical creative force that either is or isn't there, all of a sudden, you take back your control.

Now, it's an actionable thing, like any goal or deadline, that you can accomplish in the time allotted.

Does that mind shift make writing easy?

No way. It will still be difficult as all hell. But you've taken away the major mental barrier, which is an all powerful attribution to pure writer's block.

It means you have to get crafty.

Maybe yesterday you were able to sit down and start pounding out an amazing scene. That's not happening today. So, what do you do?

You switch things up.

You change your location, you do a meditation, you read something inspirational, or something that could inspire this very story.

That doesn't work? On to the next...

Just start typing. Ramp into your writing. Your first page might suck. Hell, your first ten pages might suck, but then you'll hit that groove and you'll trick your brain into getting back on course.

Treat your writing like a profession

If you're looking to be a TV writer or break into any writing profession, you need to take control of your time.

How often do you not feel like going into the office? Probably like all the time. And yet, you don't call it "office block." You don't call in and say you just weren't feeling it today.

The same thing goes for writing. Just because you're not feeling inspired doesn't mean you can't physically type. Then you can improve your writing from there.

Professional TV writers are okay with a shitty first draft

Your first draft will probably suck. And that's okay. Hell, your tenth draft might suck.

A lot of writer's block comes from a sense of perfectionism. I need the perfect story, the perfect piece of dialogue, and none of that's coming to me.

So, write the crappy version. Then the next day, your much more creatively fulfilled self will have a much easier time revising that crap into inspired gold.


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I'm Anton, a TV writer and author of Breaking Into TV Writing, a book about the business of TV writing and how to get your foot in the door.


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