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What do you do when you think your ideas are rubbish?

Discussion in 'Screenwriting' started by Youngy, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Youngy

    Youngy Bronze Member

    Hey everyone,
    I have been writing for a couple of years now and every time I approach a new idea, I always have some self doubt and go through the same phase with every project when I think about writing it which is 'this is rubbish, why on earth did you ever think you could become a writer?' and this thought circles around my head.

    I am sure this is pretty natural for a lot of writers but does this happen to you? What makes you carry on past this self doubt? How do you get over it?

    I thought it would be an interesting topic.
    Thanks.
  2. mr wendal

    mr wendal Bronze Member

    If you can not see if your idea is rubbish before you start to write it down there is probably something wrong with your writing and not with the idea.
    I know that an idea in your head is sometimes better than it looks on paper. It is not easy to get the idea on paper just like it was in your head but nobody said it was easy, was there? Do it and keep doing it and if you have the required talent you will get the hang of it.
  3. Jack

    Jack Bronze Member

    Like acting, usually your performance isn't as bad as you think it is.

    Bounce the ideas off someone intelligent and you'll probably find you're being too hard on yourself.
  4. Kafka

    Kafka Bronze Member

    I'm finishing up the first draft of a screenplay and I'm not feeling very pleased with it. Feels like I could have written something stronger.
  5. jtabergas

    jtabergas Bronze Member

    It helps to talk to other people about it. Start pitching your story to people who will listen. When people start asking questions, then you know you're on the right track because people are curious about your story. When they don't, then you need to rethink your story. Don't do it alone though. Ask them why they didn't think it was interesting.

    It's scary to learn why it doesn't work but it's the only way we'll figure out how to grow as writers.
  6. Australis

    Australis Bronze Member

    I look at an idea carefully. If it has potential but seems flawed, I keep turning it around and around until, as in Clive James's phrase, it catches the light. Sometimes I combine two completely separate ideas into one, which give them bot a whole new spin, which is why I write as many of my ideas down as I can, always carry a notebook. Later I can revisit it and leave it, combine it, or recast it. Quite often this has proved a worthwhile exercise. This ensures that when I do put an idea out there, or begin working on it, that it'll be a bit different to anything else going around (the one in the Idea v Morality thread is an example).
  7. Jeff Jencks

    Jeff Jencks Bronze Member

    Ideas are always rubbish and whatever we first write is always rubbish but it takes practice priming the pump of inspiration, coming up with nothing but rubbish time and time again, before the good stuff finally comes pouring out. So call your ideas rubbish and work on them anyway. You'll find that after you've written enough rubbish that you wrote some gems along the way as well.
  8. IAN M

    IAN M Bronze Member

    I get ideas all the time and write them into my notes app on my phone. Some of them I admit are terrible but some of them I really do think could be something. The ideas I think are best I will then brainstorm on and one of the first things I ask myself is, why should the audience give a shit? If i can't come up with an excellent response to that question, the idea gets binned and i move on to the next one.
  9. Australis

    Australis Bronze Member

    Hmm. Look at it this way. YOU are a member of the audience as well, in a way. Most of us here would be happy to sit and munch a box of popcorn through our own movie, because that's the movie we want to see. Chances are if you like the idea, the audience will too.

    Again, though, it's just an idea, it really comes down to the execution. Take 'Terra Nova'. It's a pretty well executed series, but the actual idea, and the foundation ideas that go along with it are AWFUL, imo. They manage to make it work, but the basics are for me a bit off-putting.

    Here's an idea. Put up some of the ideas you think are terrible, and we'll give an opinion or suggestion. They may not be as bad as you think. And don't worry about people nicking them - as George Miller (Mad Max) said recently, I have more ideas than I can ever make in what remains of my life.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  10. Lon

    Lon Bronze Member

    Happens to everybody. I don't think there has ever been a writer who didn't at some point find himself assaulted by a raking voice in the back of his head telling him he's no good, or he's wasting his time, or that he can't write worth a crap, what the hell made him think he could ever do this and how big an idiot he was for even trying.

    The key is to let that voice say what it has to say. Don't ignore it. Let it get all that negativity out of its system -- then blow it off and get back to writing.

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