Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Tim Clague ponders his next feature.
Being a writer can be incredibly isolating at times. It's even worse when you're starting out and it's just you and that blinking cursor and a half baked idea.

It's essential to connect with like minded people who know the pain of being a writer, people you can ask for advice, practice your pitches on, or just simply get drunk with, people you can trust to give it to you straight and tell you when your idea stinks like three week old halibut. Why? Because writing is a specialist skill with its own unique set of problems and only those who do it can understand and sympathise. Who else is going to understand the agony of spending three hours staring at a blank page, or the unbridled terror and panic when you realise your second act doesn't work an hour before a deadline?
Danny, Debbie, Steve and Adam.

Online connections are great, but there's nothing quite like meeting face to face with your peers and just chatting shit with them. They are vital not only for your mental health, but also to your career. So where can you meet these like minded people? Creating your own writers' group is one solution.

Me, Scott and the Tims.
Early this year I met up with fellow scribes Danny Stack and Tim Clague for a few beers and eventually the conversation came around to how many screenwriters there were in Bournemouth. Tim immediately suggested a Facebook group would be a great idea to bring us all together. "I've thought about one before," I piped up. "Brilliant," said Tim, and in his typical get-up-and-go style told me to "get on and organise a page then!" So I did... the Bournemouth Screenwriters Group was born and we now have sixty-three members.

So far this year we've met up three times and all three occasions have been extremely enjoyable, relaxed affairs. We even had two new members join us last night; a new writer Wayne and the Hollywood legend that is Tim John, author of Adventures in LA-LA Land and screenwriter of current box office smash A Street Cat Named Bob.

Wayne, Tom, Me and Scott.
So if you're sat at your computer on your own and need a little fellow writer company, or even just a hug, search out your nearest writing group and if there isn't one, start your own. Trust me, there are plenty of other writers out there equally eager to meet up with like minded people and share their experiences. As Tim would say... make it happen!

Happy writing!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016


I've said it before and I'll say it again, writing is a lonely profession... but only if you let it be.

Those total legends and all round lovely chaps Tim Clague and Danny Stack have hit the nail on the head again with their latest UK Scriptwriters Podcast (which you can find here and here). Their monthly (or when they get around to it) podcast is always essential listening, fun, informative and something every one of you writers should be tuning in to.
The legendary Danny Stack and Tim Clague

Not only do they cover the basics, delve deep into a vast variety of screenwriting topics and concerns (some you may have never even thought about before) but they also conduct fascinating interviews with a wide range of important media people. Recent highlights include interviews with writer/producer Tony Jordan, writer/producer Chris Chibnall and agent Jean Kitson.

But it was this month's podcast that struck a chord with me, as Danny and Tim talked about writers' mental health and the importance of not isolating yourself. It was odd as I've been in a bit of rut lately and couldn't for the life of me figure out what was up. It wasn't until I listened to their podcast that I realised I had accidentally isolated myself and hadn't even noticed.

I've been so busy over the last few months, some weeks running around so much I was feeling a little like a headless chicken, that I had slowly cut myself off from my support network and real life , living breathing people. My communication up until yesterday pretty much entirely consisted of electronic communication and I had to really power up the little grey cells to figure out the last time I actually went out with my fellow writers or even my friends.

That's the problem you see, it's easy to get so involved in what you do, thinking you're time is at a premium and you need to spend as much of it in front of the computer as you can, that you can easily let human contact slip down your list of priorities, without even knowing you are doing it. It's a dangerous thing. Writing is a bloody difficult enough job as it is without making things more difficult by cutting yourself off from the world. I think a good proportion of writers are by nature introverts and even at the best of times it's difficult to get out there and mingle with like minded people. It's something that has to be done, not only for the progression of your career but also for the stability of your mental health.
Mmmm coffee

So Tim and Danny's podcast came as a timely reminder that I need to get out more, which is why I'm going to organise a Bournemouth Writers' drinking session for as soon as possible and when I've finished posting this blog I'm going to ring a writing friend who's just moved back to Bournemouth and arrange to meet her for a coffee next week.

Go and download Danny and Tim's podcast, phone a friend, arrange to meet for a coffee and don't let yourself become isolated. It's not good for the soul.

Happy writing!