If you consider yourself a writer you’ll know the actual physical act of writing is as much of a battle to get the plot, structure and pacing right as it is a game you play against yourself and your own anxieties.
While overthinking things can be part of many people’s working methods — myself included — it is often just another means of procrastination. To move on from it, you first need to acknowledge what’s really holding you back.
Signs You’re Overthinking Your Script
If you routinely postpone working on your script, chances are one or more of the following reasons keep you from making real progress when you sit down to write.
- 1. You’re not feeling it and are waiting for inspiration to strike
- 2. You have trouble outlining your script or developing the story
- 3. You are aware of the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know
- 4. You are unsure about writing for a genre outside your comfort zone
- 5. A new idea you thought of would drastically change your current script
- 6. It is your first time writing a script and you are fighting the format
The list goes on…
Writing is Ultimately About Problem Solving
There is no off switch for creative individuals; no end to the number of ideas you have swirling around in your head. That’s natural, and so is the fear you may feel you may experience when trying to sift through it all.
Don’t let that stop you. Plan, think and research as much as you feel is necessary for you to make a start. Writing is hard and you may be tempted to rush through, but it should never be a race to the finish.
Changing Your Mindset
Sometimes the answers to your early writing questions only make themselves obvious after you’ve finished a certain scene halfway through your second act.
Other times, you will only be able to move forward in a meaningful way if you try and fail. Thoughts along the lines of ‘Am I good enough’ or ‘Is my idea unique enough’ are the root of the problem you need to overcome.
For some, an ‘I can fix it later’ mindset may prove useful in helping you get past whichever kind of mental roadblock is stopping you from getting where you want to be.
Addressing and Overcoming Writer Anxieties
From my experience, it’s to work with your fear, and use it to produce something of value to yourself and the people you have rallied around you.
Nobody’s initial ideas are ever fully formed. The only difference between aspiring screenwriters and established professionals is experience.
So don’t overthink your script. Do it. And be glad you did. Then move on to the next project and start all over again. That’s how you get over your hang-ups as a writer.
Further Reading for Aspiring Screenwriters
For anyone who is further along with their script and still struggling, we’ve written more on this in our 3 Tips to Help You Deal with Screenwriting Anxiety article.
You don’t have to read it but it would be nice if you did. For now though, we’ll let you get back to writing.