Hey Writer, can you spare ten minutes?

by Jessica Brown, Screenwriter and Board Member of Phoenix Screenwriters Association

Remember your screenplay? That wonderful, visual story that you’ve been dying to finish … or just start. The one you keep nagging yourself to write every time you watch a show on Netflix? Hulu? You only need ten minutes.

Thus the introduction to the Coffee Break Screenwriter, Second Edition, tells us we only need ten lousy minutes. I prefer to call them ten creative minutes to craft, draft, brainstorm, mind map an amazing scene, innovative dialogue, or a wildly crazy log line.

According to Pilar Alessandra, the author and script consultant for On The Page, ten minutes gives you the “ticking clock” every writer secretly needs: a deadline. As a screenwriting instructor, she is an advocate of inclass writing work that gets people writing in the moment. I can personally say that this ticking clock works for me.

When I was working in corporate American full time, I could barely squeeze in twenty minutes for lunch. I would sneak off to a conference room with my personal laptop and salad and set the clock on my phone and write like crazy for twenty minutes (Okay, a little more than ten minutes). And boy did I get a ton of writing in because I knew I only had so much time to write.

So what can you do in ten minutes? Pilar introduces you, through her mini lectures, various processes that you can achieve in as little as … you guessed it, ten minutes.

This book is one of my favorite tools in my Writers Toolbox that I go to time and again. She shows you how to develop a log line, break your story, outline the thing, work through clichés, rewrite, polish with several passes that actually make sense, and help you stay organized during that difficult part of writing.

She also interviews famous screenwriters that share what they would do if they only had ten minutes to work on a scene, a script, or their career. Great advice that shows you how much you can get done in as little as ten minutes. And hey, if you do pick up this book and use it, drop me a line and let me know what you think of it at jessbrown44@gmail.com. I would love to hear your thoughts! Happy Writing!

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