It’s easier to write every day if you get organized first.

People say that the secret to screenwriting is to “just write.” It’s sound advice, but it’s also convenient advice. It’s right up there with “just be yourself,” “have fun with it,” and “go with your gut,” advice that’s got a grain of truth in it, but that’s also frequently used by lazy people who don’t want to put much thought into the question you’ve asked.

So, while I agree with the advice of “write every day,” I like breaking it down a few steps further.

If you’re going to write every day, you need two things: a place to write, and a place to put the writing you do.

The absolute easiest place to put your writing is in a flexible catchall like Evernote. I like evernote because it’s searchable and flexible, and if you’re ever super bored, you can spend a day curating the ideas that you’ve stored there. But honestly, anything that’s searchable will work. In the age of modern computing, you can save all your documents to one folder and use your computer’s search feature to find keywords or hashtags if you ever want to tie all your fight scenes together.

The other thing you’re going to to need is a place to write. Some writers like to take their laptop out to a Starbucks. If that works for you, more power to you. But most writers have a desk or a workspace. Most beginning writers don’t use this space well. Your desk is your physical locus of control for your projects, the cockpit you sit in as you navigate your craft deep into the subconscious. If you’re using your desk as a big horizontal shelf, it’s not serving it’s intended purpose.

So if you’re stuck on writing every day, spend a day getting organized. Clean everything off your desk, keep it clear so you have a nice clean space to mess up with all the keystrokes, post-its and scrawling you’re going to make in the service of creativity. Get your notes off your gmail drafts, your iNotes, and the post-its on your mirror and put them all into a place that is easy to search.

If you’re serious about writing, you’re going to spend every day of the rest of your life doing it. Make sure you carve out enough space to make that task easy.

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Published by Matt Lazarus

WGA screenwriter offering in-depth writing instruction, notes, critique, and assistance.

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