The 7 Most Common Challenges Every Writer Faces

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Today's Guest Post is courtesy of the lovely Laila Resende, who has kindly rounded up 7 of the most common challenges that every writer faces!

Using examples from hit TV shows and Films, such as Netflix's You and Kubrick's The Shining - Laila has highlighted these challenges along with offering some super helpful tips to overcome them.

Also don't forget to checkout the links available to read and download the relevant scripts for each example! (All scripts have been sourced from Daily ScriptTV Writing, IMSDb and Script Slug)  

So, what are you waiting for? Let's get into it - Handing over to Laila!

1) Procrastination

Guinevere Beck – You
From the Netflix hit series “You”, Beck is the ideal procrastinator. 
She’s a writer, who, well, has trouble writing – but don’t we all? 
When scolded for not writing, she herself states that “thinking about writing is a part of the process”. Is it, Beck? Or is that yet another plausible excuse that loosely connects you to the craft? 
I’m not going to spoil it for you, but Beck will need to put in the work forcibly at some point. When left with no other choice but to actually write, she finally acknowledges the potential within her. 
As a side note, procrastination isn’t conquered overnight. You mustn’t stay constantly inspired; be consistent, instead. Inspiration gets you started, but habit is what keeps you on track.
 Click HERE to read the screenplay!

2) Finding A Writer’s Voice

Lee Israel – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Ever notice how reading is like a magnet? 
Picking up multiple writers’ styles after dedicated reading sessions is natural and it helps shape our own voice – hence why reading is as essential as writing. 
We learn from people who have been in the game for a while; we unintentionally collect existent voices and create one that’s unique to us. 
The “shaping” process, however, mustn’t be taken as imitation or plagiarism. 
Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of author Lee Israel is sure not one example to be followed.
Her blatant reproduction of famous writers such as Dorothy Parker in the forgery of historic letters put her in a whole lot of trouble. At least that rendered her capable of writing about her own self, in her own words.
Click HERE to read the screenplay!

3) Self-doubt
Juliet Ashton – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“She doubts. She doesn’t believe. She craves being taken seriously but then she won’t do that for herself.”
Juliet, who writes under a pseudonym, wants to put together a book on the experiences of the Potato Peel Pie Society’s owner Elizabeth, who was locked up during the German occupation. 
However, what stops her is the question: “what if I’m not a good enough writer?”
Does that question ring any bells?
Self-doubt is what cripples creatives the most – it’s a fear we’re constantly advised not to pay heed to, yet we insist in doing so. 
We dread not being good enough, but we can only get better by powering through it and writing
Suffice it to say that anything worth reading stems from a doubt-ridden writer who didn’t succumb to the demons. 

4) True Storytelling
Skeeter Phelan – The Help
In 1963, Mississippi journalist Eugenia (Skeeter) Phelan wanted compile the stories of black maids from Jackson into a novel. 
In order for it to grab the readers in such a controversial time, she had to make it as truthful and raw as possible. 
Though she did have the opportunity to make up stories and backgrounds, she stuck to the hard work and ended up gathering dozens of women to open up about their past and reveal their employers’ daily abuse.
Having “based on a true story” written at the beginning of your film or book means having a vicarious participation in events that are passed on through your own words. 
As writers, we often make room for embellishment and made-up scenarios, but holding on to the essence of events is what makes a true story stand out.
 Click HERE to read the screenplay!

5) Workload

Jack Torrance – The Shining
Playwright Jack Torrance thought being locked up in a hotel with nothing but his family, his mind and his typewriter was just what he needed to conquer writer’s block. 

Indeed, solitude may be extremely helpful for concentration, yet there must be a balance between your work in progress and life in general. 
Although a bit of frustration helps in the making of good stuff, there comes a time when unwinding is essential. 

Avoiding anything but the task at hand for long periods of time will inevitably trigger repulsion, therefore you won’t be willing to write as much. 
Controversial, I know. 
What you want to do is have much-needed breaks throughout writing spurts – the timing is up to you. And for Christ sakes, do not isolate yourself too much! 

Human connection exists so we won’t go crazy, Jack is proof of that. “All work and no play” shouldn’t be anyone’s mantra. 
Click HERE to read the screenplay!

6) Adapting A Book To A Screenplay

Charlie Kaufman – Adaptation

If you’re a writeryou probably own at least one or all of Charlie Kaufman’s traits.

He’s an awkward, hypochondriac, perfectionist procrastinator who’s hired by Columbia Pictures to adapt the book The Orchid Thief to a screenplay. 

Still, he’s convinced the plot isn’t adaptable and gets stuck.
Truth is, writing an adaptation is no easy feat. 

First things first, you’ll want to ensure that the book has a malleable plot – this should be easier with best-sellers, since they’re marketable concepts that have caught the attention of thousands of people, thus being “tellable” stories.
By no means that indicates lesser known books can’t be on the screen, but you have to be meticulous about it. 

You’ve got to outline your plot in order to boil down to its key points and decide whether it earns a shot as a script. 
Despite having to cut off the fat, does the plot still make sense to its fullest? 

Can you tell the whole story that way? But most importantly – is it interesting enough? 
No adaptation is a carbon copy and not all books make great movies, unless there’s distortion involved – if you want to stick to originality, that’s not the way to go.
Click HERE to read the screenplay!

7) Characterisation

Calvin Weir-Fields – Ruby Sparks
In writing the character Ruby Sparks, the young novelist Calvin Weir-Fields created a living person he knew like the back of his hand.

Ruby does everything a real person does, with only one difference: she’s still controlled by her creator. 
When developing characters, you want to do the same. 
You’re the one who will set their course, so ensure they are believable and three-dimensional, not cardboard. 

This way, you’ll build conflict and the world around them more easily, because you know what they want, what they don’t want, and what decisions they would make. 
Could you describe your main character effortlessly? If not, set some time to do some character research and development. 

Get to know them well before writing them into a story concept. After all, if you aren’t familiar with them, you can’t expect the audience to be. 
Click HERE to read the screenplay!
If you want a longer list of movies about writers, then IMDb has the perfect one!

Bio: I am a twenty-year-old student from Brazil, pursuing a degree in English. My passions include reading screenplays, blogging, and binge watching psychological thrillers. I share my thoughts on life and writing at The Thought Inventory  and on my Instagram page

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