Let’s get this party started…Happy 2024!
by Jessica Brown, Screenwriter and Board Member of Phoenix Screenwriters Association
I love the fresh start of a new year. It’s a clean slate, blank page, endless story ideas and, in 2024, three hundred and sixty-six days of writing days. One whole extra day to write! I’ll take it.
I start my new year by doing an inventory of my writing tools, what worked for me in the last year and what didn’t work as I had hoped it would. I get my writing tool box in order; the new outlining process, the scene structure that never fails me, my character question list to develop fully realized characters this year.
I also love to build my list of reference materials that serve me well when I get stuck on a story problem such as favorite and new books on the craft of writing and podcasts that motivate and at times kick me in the butt.
Here is a quick list of my favorite writing tips that I will be using this year:
- Change up writing desks by changing locations. We all have our favorite coffee shops and small cafes that allow us writers to hang out. Mine are Press Coffee, any Starbucks, Luci’s at the Orchard, Wildflower’s on 7th Street at their bar or window seats. A change of scenery always helps me to look at a scene different and solve a tough writing problem.
- Stay healthy by setting a timer for 25 to 50 minutes. Getting up and moving around is much like changing locations. It gets the blood and ideas moving. When at home, my 5 minute break gets me tossing a load of laundry in, fixing a quick snack, etc. Most of the writing programs today have a built in timer. Also, wearable technology will set the timer as well.
- Save my eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule that my eye doctor shared with me. Every 20 minutes look up and focus on something 20 yards away for 20 seconds. whether reading for long periods or writing, this is a great exercise for your eyes and really helps.
- I love music and I find building a playlist for the project I am working on to set the mood to the genre is really fun and invigorating. Writing an Epic? Pull together some great movie soundtracks and you will have hours of writing inspiration.
- Reading is a must say all the experts for writers. Reading how other writers tell their stories and what draws me into their stories, teaches some of the best techniques to building a solid page turner of my own. Right now I am reading the Lincoln Highway. The prose, setup of the story and how the author introduces the characters is intriguing.
- And speaking of reading, I enjoy a good script every week. There are websites that offer scripts for free for both TV and Movies. Script-O-Rama, Simply Scripts are just two of my favorites.
- I plan on taking a class or two in 2024 both on-line and in person. Not only am I learning, I also have a great opportunity to network with other writers. A writers retreat out-of-state often bring in speakers in the industry as well as professional writers who are there to hang out and write. You never know who will be sitting next to you at these.
- Probably my favorite part of 2024 is going to be when I fall in love with a new idea, new characters and a great plot and I get to lose myself in the whole process of writing. That is my favorite tool in my tool box.
If you have a favorite writing spot or way to learn a new technique, or podcast that you listen to that sparks that creative energy, please share. I love to learn from other writers and try out new things.
Here’s to a productive and happy writing year in 2024. The PSA Writers Conference in April is going to be an awesome event. Hope you can make it!
You can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.