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Best Writing Routine Is Simple But Not Easy – David Wappel

February 10, 2020

Film Courage: Do you have a writing routine
that you follow? David Wappel, Screenwriter: I have two answers
for if I have a writing routine that I follow and one is yes I have a writing routine. Two is I don’t always follow that writing
routine. The best work I’ve ever done is when I followed
that routine but for some reason I don’t follow it all of the time. It’s tough and sometimes it is because of
whatever else I’ve got going on in my life, that routine that I liked and really worked
for me didn’t, it’s no longer sort of the option for what I have going on right
now. Other times it’s just tough to sit down
at a desk and write even though I know I already have a plan to do that, it’s just tough
when you don’t want to and so sometimes I don’t. I fail at sitting down and writing. But when I was following it it was great. When I do follow it it’s great because it
forces me to write and the routine was basically I would get up, two hours in the morning I
would write and then that was it for the rest of the day. As far as official writing time I would pull
out a notebook or if I was really inspired I might open up the computer and write some
more but those 2 hours I would set the timer and I would write. At the end of those two hours I would stop
no matter where I was, no matter if I felt like I could keep going for another two or
if I was like “Thank God I just barely made those two hours that felt like a slog.” But having it be time-based told me that it
doesn’t matter what I’ve written as long as I’ve shown up and I’ve written and
so some days those two hours would produce ten pages, other days it would produce one. But I was measuring weather or not I was doing
my job by the time I was spending doing it and not necessarily page count or word count. I think so much of what we do is up here and
it doesn’t always translate to the pages and so that one page that I wrote over those
two hours that might have been really difficult. It was a lot of thinking and feeling and kind
of moving through what was going on there and that one page is great output for those
two hours. And those other ten pages I wrote the day
before might not be great. So I shouldn’t measure my progress with
what was going on the page but more about the fact that I could sit down, show up and
do the job. Film Courage: Does active or passive voice
come into play in screenwriting? Or is this more of an issue with prose writing? David: I think active and passive voice doesn’t
come up in screenwriting for me. I don’t know if that is because I’m just
not thinking about that as much. So I’m not sure? Film Courage: Okay…it’s just sometimes
they say don’t write in passive voice and I just wasn’t sure with the rules of screenwriting
is it a faux pas to write in passive voice for a screenplay even if it’s just little
action lines? David: I think one of the things that is great
about screenwriting is that there are no hard rules so if there is a reason that the passive
voice should used here for an effect it’s permissible, you can do whatever you want. I think understanding why this action line
is better in a passive voice as opposed to an active voice or vice-versa is more important
than adhering to any sort of “You should never write in passive voice, you should never
do this.” Because for every rule that was laid out there
was a bunch of examples of it being broken and broken successfully and I think you can
break it successfully because you know why breaking it is going to produce some greater
effect than adhering to it and one of the freedoms of the screenplay format is that
you have so much room to break all of these rules.


  • Reply Camron Chlarson February 5, 2020 at 1:06 am

    My writing is just sporadic. I want to get more organized. Whether it's two hours or even just one hour. To consistently write every day is something I'm sure will improve the quality of my writing by leaps and bounds.

  • Reply jmiogo February 5, 2020 at 1:10 am

    Why are so many writers undisciplined? Sit at the keyboard and just write. Success is not about finding or receiving constant motivation, but discipline.

  • Reply Paul Rider February 5, 2020 at 1:10 am

    Thanks for sharing. This was quite encouraging to hear since I struggle with just setting aside the time to even get started.

  • Reply J Levan February 5, 2020 at 1:17 am

    I don't base my writing on time. I write 500 words. Sometimes that's easy; sometime's not. First thing in the morning, write before anything else (with coffee).

  • Reply TheReccher February 5, 2020 at 1:23 am

    I write five minutes one day, and than ten hours the next. I have no routine.

  • Reply Distracted Mind February 5, 2020 at 1:28 am

    "What is your writing routine?"

    Wait. What. Huh? Why am I watching this video? Why am I on YouTube? Writing!?! A Routine!?!…. DON'T MOCK MEEEEEEE…

  • Reply Dan B. February 5, 2020 at 1:38 am

    2:48 Active/Passive voice is important in writing your loglines. These help you land agents, script managers, and sell your screenplays. An active logline can make the difference.

  • Reply S C February 5, 2020 at 2:03 am

    Try and write a certain number of pages every week. No matter what. You will write a ton more

  • Reply Isaac Barlow February 5, 2020 at 2:12 am

    I try to write at least 4 hours a day and 10-15 hours on the weekend. I write at my lunch break every day, I come home and write 2 hours before I go to bed. The weekends I cut loose…I write all day Saturday and Sunday after church.

  • Reply acajudi100 February 5, 2020 at 2:33 am

    I write when I want, and I record on apps also, which I call brain dumps.πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•πŸ’―πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

    I write and speak my personal journals.

  • Reply meg February 5, 2020 at 2:56 am

    I write when I'm up to it. And if I realize I haven't written for a couple of days I introspect to figure out why, and if that 'why' is justifiable in my mind. I think as a writer or in general in life, figuring the balance of when to push yourself and when to give yourself a pass is critical to your psychological and emotional health.

  • Reply Shaggy Rogers February 5, 2020 at 4:59 am

    When I do t write us cause u get to distracted or lazy, I need discipline, Lord help me!! πŸ™πŸΎ

  • Reply John Smith February 5, 2020 at 5:34 am

    i never write to publish…ever…

  • Reply John Smith February 5, 2020 at 5:37 am

    i came on this YouTube by mistake but since i don't believe in mistakes i'll mention, funny, since 1977 i've written , at least , 65 million words all starting from entering a dream journal imaginative writing class that hooked me into writing…it's like no other thing. trippy

  • Reply Jim Woods February 5, 2020 at 7:10 am

    So good!!! I wonder if accountability is the difference between showing up and not showing up…

  • Reply Anthony Short February 5, 2020 at 7:56 am

    Active/Passive voice question was weak

  • Reply Shane McDonald Music February 5, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Same goes for anything, I'm a musician and a lot of times it's not inspiration I'm lacking, it's PERSPIRATION!

  • Reply A O February 5, 2020 at 11:38 am

    So basically you have a writing routine, but you don't always follow that routine! So the answer is no !

  • Reply Another Character February 5, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    I think it's important to have a writing routine to keep going… and I should definitely try to develop mine and keep following it.

  • Reply Faiba Bernard February 5, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    This is actuaLLy useful… Watchibg it become an incorrigible habit where you dont feel okay if u dont observe the exercise… That will be very sweet.

    I think I wil like to try this routine…hmmm

  • Reply Stian Kallhovd February 5, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Just wanted to share some really great news!

    Today, on February 5, 2020, I finally completed my screenplay! It's been an ongoing process since June, 2018, and I've put hundreds of hours of work into it.

    I'm really appreciative of all the videos on this channel. So much of the quality of the script would never be possible without the great advice and inspiration that these interviews provide. Really grateful! πŸ™‚

    I have hopes that this script will be produced someday, and hope it'll be seen as a very relevant movie for the times we live in, despite it being set in a fictive world (with some fantasy elements to it).

    It touches upon a number of philosophical, political and moral questions that I think will make a great impact on the audience. πŸ™‚

    I hope it will provide some interesting insights on what it means to be human and what it means to lead a meaningful life.

  • Reply TTX RH February 5, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    If the only thing you do is work and come home, your free time should be used on developing new ideas. That's how you stay "ahead."

    If you are constantly on set, or actively away from home, then that is more reasonable. Personal Opinion. I do acknowledge that writing is not easy. And everyone writes at their own pace.

  • Reply Lon Johnson February 6, 2020 at 12:05 am

    I write a minimum of 1 sentence a day. I can't remember the last time I left it at 1 sentence.

  • Reply SeeThis608 February 6, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    "Does active or passive voice come into play w/ screenwriting or just more of a prose?"

    Sorry I don't follow the question. What exactly do you mean if I may ask?

  • Reply PeanskeanENT February 8, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    I like tht 2 hour thing. Thts better then wht I be trying to do – Peanskean Riddler #TheRiddler

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