Like most writers, I’m not above peeking through the keyhole to see how the other guy is getting words down.

John August, Screenwriter: How I Write

Screenwriter John August tells us how he writes (click image to read his post)

I used to look out of sheer interest, but because of today’s fast-evolving writing/comm/marketing technology I’m actively looking for ideas to steal, which is why I sat up and noticed when uber-screenwriter John August published an extensive ‘How I Write‘ post on his blog, and expanded that into a “Workspace” series profiling other screenwriters.

(He borrowed the idea from “The Setup” blog, which focuses on younger, more technical users who use an almost punishing range of technology.)

A few interesting notes:

  • August makes frequent use of Freedom — a Mac/Windows product that shuts down your Internet access for X amount of time
  • Like so many other truly fulltime long-form writers, he shoots for a set number of pages a day (in his case, five script pages)
  • August writes his non-screenplay text on a programmer’s text editor, a growing trend for online/non-print uses
  • When starting a screenplay, he often leaves town, locks himself in a hotel room, and does nothing but hash out ideas for a week

His use of a programmer’s text editor is a growing trend in a world where printed stuff is increasingly irrelevant, and chasing a target number of pages is also pretty common.

Less common is the bit where he hides from the world when starting a new project, something I’ve never truly considered — though I can see the value if I was trying to fire up something on the level of a campaign.

I liked his post so much (and the other “Workspace” posts that followed it) that after I’ve settled into the new year, I may do something similar myself.

Most copywriters aren’t as forthcoming about their habits as other writers (or maybe nobody ever asks us), but as a certified writing tools geek, I’m interested.

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.