The 5 Skills You Need to Become a Better Writer

1. Be creative and original

An obvious one, but many beginning screenwriters don’t understand that. They watch a lot of films and try to do the same thing. Creating something new (in any field) is not easy at all. Developing creativity is a subject that many books have been written about. There is no formula to be creative, but you can practice a few exercises that will help the muse to show up at your door. Here are some tips to boost your creativity

  • Read about other writers – This is a good one. You really should start with reading about how other writers work. Hear or read professional interviews with other writers, and write down every tip they talk about, that you believe will work for you too. 
  • Use meditation – Feeling blocked? Try some meditation. The mind works great when it is unattached to any of the daily thoughts and that’s what meditation does. Meditating is good at preventing: stress and anxiety that creates writer’s block. It is really easy to meditate. Sit still in a comfortable chair or on a pillow on the floor. Now, start focusing on your breath. While focusing on your breath, you might be tempted to control it. Don’t! Your body knows how to breathe without your help. Start with 2 minutes of meditation and make it longer each time. You’ll see quickly how it will boost your creative writing
  • Practice free writing – Every writing session should start with a 5 minutes practice of free writing. Choose a random subject and start writing about it. The idea is to write without thinking too much. Simply write!

There are many tricks like that, but as said before, there are no formulas. The important thing is that you, as a writer, will insist on being original. Do not give in to any temptation to repeat something that was already made

2. Be a better storyteller 

Again, sounds obvious, but so many beginner writers fail at this one and many screenwriting courses miss talking about it. You may love to tell stories, but that doesn’t mean you know how to do it right. A good storyteller is one that holds the listeners’ interest and builds feelings of connection with them. Practice storytelling every chance you get. Here are some tips that will help you do that”

  • Have a point for your story – Before you tell the story, you need to understand why should the audience want to listen to it
  • How does the story make you feel –  Be honest about it
  • Personally connect with it – Find a place you can expose something from yourself in it.
  • Be aware of your audience – If your story is offensive, are you sure, your audience can take it. Always remember your target audience when you write your story
If you are having problems with storytelling, maybe it will be a good idea to find a co-writer to work with. At least when you start as a beginner screenwriter. If you want to work with another writer, the first step is to find someone you know. Most known scriptwriting couples knew each other before they started writing together. If you don’t know anyone that can write with you should start looking. There are many ways to find your scriptwriting partner. The best one is to put wanted ads, but there are more ways: you can start a creative writing group or join one yourself. There are also many forums for scriptwriting where you can talk to a lot of writers like you. 

3. Learn to observe

As a writer, you can’t allow yourself not to pay attention to the world. Stop looking at the floor while you’re walking! Being a good observer means being able to see everything that goes around you. This is how you do that:

  • Start with paying attention – when you observe people or a situation, put all your attention on that. 
  • Walk with a notebook – Start walking with a notebook and take notes. You can also copy the notes to your computer and arrange them by category. 
  • Try new things – When you’re doing new things your mind is more alert. Use that to improve your observation skills.

4. Learn to collaborate

You can’t write a script just for the sake of writing a script. You write a script to become a movie. That’s why you need to learn how to collaborate with others: with the director, the producer, the stars of the film, etc.

Sometimes you may find yourself writing a screenplay with a partner, (I will elaborate on that later in this article)or maybe you are adopting the script from an already written story, and you need the original writer to work with you. The main thing you need to remember is that working in a collaborative environment will produce more and much faster. Don’t compete with your partners-work with them. Here are the steps to build a collaborative environment:

  • Identify and be realistic about your partners’ strengths and vulnerabilities. 
  • Define goals and expectations – it is recommended to make sure you all are on the same page for the final result. If possible even sign a contract and mark the percentages for each on
  • Build Trust – You can’t work with someone you don’t trust. You need to trust your partner to be authentic and honest about the ideas you both come up with, and that no one judge ideas from his or her ego.

Working with partners takes a lot of effort, but it has its advantages too. It makes the writing reacher and much more enjoyable. You get an instant reaction to every idea you come up with. Be prepared for some failures too. Eventually, the only way to find out if you are working with the right partner is by working together. 

5. Learn to work with others

This is an important skill that I want to focus on here. As a writer, you will find yourself in situations where you’ll have to write with others. Sometimes sit will be another writer or staff of writers, and sometimes it will be the director or even the producer. In this Screen Writing Course, I want you to be able to work in the industry, and not just to know how to write good, so it’s important to elaborate on that.

What to look into the perfect script writing partner?

When looking for a scriptwriting partner, the first thing you need to look at is if he has your emotional point of view. Have him go through the Find your own voice article if needed. Once you find your twin, the next thing is to check his availability. Can he work the same hours you can? Is there a place that is comfortable for you both to meet?

How to work with a scriptwriting partner?

Once you find your writing partner, you should decide how you are going to work together. If your partner can work only in the evening and you can only work in the morning (which means you didn’t listen to me in the first paragraph), then maybe there is a middle point you can agree on. I wouldn’t recommend at this stage, to decide how to write the script. There are many ways for scriptwriting partners to write, and I’m sure you will find your way as you practice writing. You might figure out that it’s better for each one alone and then meeting go through the scenes together in each meeting. 

When your writing partner joins in the middle of work

When your writing partner joins you after you’ve written a few drafts already, it is a great tool to get some new perspective. That is why it is not recommended to let him see the old drafts. At least not right at the start. You can pitch him the idea and the story, where you want to take the script to, and you can also talk about the characters, but let him give his ideas before you show him what you did.

Dealing with disputes

When writing in couples, you should expect a lot of disputes. You should both find a constructive way to deal with them. You should both decide that your relationship should come first, write it on a piece of paper and shake on it. Leaving your ego at home is a very hard thing to do, but it’s a must. You should decide right at the beginning of the responsibility of each one. Make sure you both know what you are expected to give to the scriptwriting process. 

The best way to end the dispute is to see who is more passionate. If your partner is really passionate about an idea he had, maybe it is worth listening to it. If you really insist on an idea you have and your partner isn’t listening. Instead of telling the scene, write it down for him, and let him see how it looks like. 

Don’t take things personally

Leaving your ego at home is a very hard thing to do, but it’s a must. Scriptwriters are not easy people to work with. The key here is to simply make sure the disputes stay within the limits of the writing and don’t go to personal areas.

Eventually, you should remember that it’s all about negotiation. You have to give a little to take a little. As long as you take things under proportions, I’m sure you will do just fine.