The Screenwriter’s Survival Kit

We’re living in “interesting times.”  A pandemic has been declared.  Public events are cancelling.  Schools are closing.  Major companies are sending their workers home.  In our industry, TV and film productions are shutting down.   And no one knows how long this will last or what effect it will have on our lives.

As writers, how do we deal with all of this?  

Once you have made sure you and your family are safe, there are other things you may want to consider:  “How do I cope with the isolation, especially if it is extended?  How can I be productive during this time? How can we make the best of this? Can I get some writing done?”  

First, don’t panic.  Just be smart and calmly prepare for what is to come.  After making preparations for safety, recognize that this set of changes can improve your life in many ways…if you plan for it. 

IMPORTANT:  Put together a plan!  

If you aren’t working on something, this time will be slow and painful.  It will be filled with anxiety.  But if you have a plan, you’ll have things to look forward to every day.  It will keep your mind occupied, and more important, it will move your life forward.  Times of crisis can become very creative times.

 What is in this kit:
1.  Safety Tips.  
2.  Make this time productive.  
3.  How Not to Go Crazy.  
4.  Turn This Into Something Great!  


Follow the current best practices for staying safe.  
Go to the CDC website for the most updated Coronavirus strategies:

Here are a few basics:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water. 
  • Avoid touching your face, especially when outside your home.
  • If you must be in public, keep a personal space bubble.  Don’t use hand-to-hand contact.  
  • Be careful of public surfaces.

Keep Yourself and Family Healthy:

  • Take immunity building vitamins.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables.  
  • Exercise daily.   Walk, stretch, yoga, aerobics, etc..  There are hundreds of exercise programs that can be done from your home.  Find one you like and do it!


Again, sitting around and worrying doesn’t help.  Instead, do what you can to make your life more successful.  

  • Create a morning ritual that frames your day in a positive way.  Gratitude for the good things in your life.  Positive visualization.  Plan your day.  
  • Inspire yourself daily.  Watch inspiring videos.  Read inspiring books.  Listen to inspiring audiobooks.  
  • Empower yourself before you write and keep yourself empowered.   Imagine your future success.  Remember the times when you felt amazing.  Use positive self-talk to motivate yourself.  
  • Set small goals on the way to big goals.  Celebrate the small wins!  
  • At the end of the day, review the day’s accomplishments and feel good about your successes.  End each day with a win!  


Over time, isolation does funny things to a person’s mind.  You want to start protecting yourself today, before you feel the effects.

  •  Start interacting with your online communities NOW.    Go face-to-face (Zoom, face timing, Facebook live, etc.) or on the phone often.  Don’t let yourself get completely isolated.  
  • Limit watching news to 30 minutes or less a day.  News channels tend to be filled with “bad news,” which often incites fear and anger.  You don’t need either of those emotions during this time.  
  • Make a list of your favorite things to do that work for this situation.   Buy books you’d like to read.  Play games with your family.  
  • Make a list of TV series / Movies to watch and learn from.   This is a great time to catch up on your “watch list.”  
  • Take online classes.  ScreenwritingU classes are great for this.
  • Consider journaling.  This gets your thoughts out of your head and allows you to gain insights into your life each day.  Plus it can lead to inspiration for writing.  


These “difficult times” can become the start of something great, especially for writers.  What if this was the time you wrote something that changed your life?  

  • Embrace the change that is in front of you.   The faster you embrace it, the quicker your life moves forward.  
  • Create a vision that is life-changing.  What about this time will take your life to a new level?  What goal can you go for during this hiatus?  Will you write your next screenplay or book?  Will you master screenwriting?  What is really possible for you in this interesting time?  
  • Create a plan to make that vision happen.  Set a big goal and the smaller steps to get you there. 
  • Find an accountability partner or team.  Check in daily.  Brainstorm together.  Exchange feedback.  Learn from each other.  
  • Make this a transformational journey!   Use this time to change your life.  Having a vision that takes you and your writing to a new level could give you a character arc that you’ll always remember!  


Be prepared.  Take care of your family.  Make sure everyone is safe.  Once you’ve accomplished that important goal, focus on using this time creatively.  Put together a plan for this time and move your life forward.  
Our hope is that this all blows over quickly and everyone gets back to their lives. But in the meantime, we do the best we can with what we have.  

Stay safe and healthy. 


Copyright 2020, Hal Croasmun
Permission given to repost if you post complete article, credit, and link to

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