Welcome To Writers Rehab!

There are three stages in the life of a writer: getting a project written, getting a deal and getting it produced or published. Writers don’t have much control over whether their script, screenplay or manuscript becomes a fact, but you can control the first two points.
You can’t get anything written if you’re not writing.
Not being able to write is at its core a mental problem. Unproductivity is it’s own form of addiction. The easiest thing in the world for a writer to do is avoid writing.
 As the saying goes, writers like having written.
 But when you’re so bogged down in your inability to push forward with a project, complete a first draft (let alone revisions and a polish) or even get started on a new idea, you know you’re in trouble.
 Not only do you find yourself unable to write, you don’t want to. You’re immobilized or close to it. The easy way around it is to find ways to avoid returning to the battle zone. And it is a battle zone. Until you finish the first draft your battle with whatever you're writing is a love/hate relationship.
 This is how Writers Rehab can help you. To get you back on track, motivated and ready to approach your writing (and your writing career) with a new resolve and attitude.
What’s the attitude? Being more professional. Work on your novel, screenplay, TV pilot or play as if you’re being paid to do it. As if you’re on a deadline and a check for $200,000 is waiting for you.
Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill the time. No deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, and it’ll take you two years to finish a script. Throw in a 3-week deadline with the promise of a paycheck and you’ll finish in 21 days. 
I’m not trying to simplify the writing process. Sometimes it’s just not happening. Too bad. You need to make it happen.
In sports it’s said that the difference between an amateur and a professional is that the pro plays when he’s injured.  As a writer, you have to bite the bullet and confront whatever’s preventing you from writing.  There are many reasons.
In subsequent posts I’ll get into these reasons and offer solutions, tips and a few tricks to get you out of the doldrums and back into your screenplay.
Welcome to Writers Rehab.



  1. Hey DB:
    "Screenwriters Rehab" is exactly what I need this winter.

    >most screenwriters lose their way..
    That's me ;) - Your first post is spot on!

    This winter, I hope to finish my feature script, and a little rehab will go a long ways.

    Thanks for starting this Blog...
    ~Rob - Confederation College

  2. I read your book The Portable Film School and liked it a lot. I'll be checking this out too.

  3. I woke up this morning and found this blog much to my joy. I've been blocked for 3 weeks on my new screenplay. A 12-step program is just what I need. I look forward to what you have to say

  4. HI DB, I took your Summer comedy writing class at NYU six years ago and loved it. I was concentrating on writing for television back then, but I've since moved on to screenplays. If your blog will be as interesting and informative as your class I'll be here all the time. Good luck, Kathy

  5. D.B., Thanks... now I can enter rehab and improve my wrtiting skills without giving up Chardonnay.

    Hawkeye Don

  6. Hi DB.. good stuff.. check your email...

    Time Killer

  7. I am exactly that victim. My creativity hits a wall and then life seems to just take over. Everyone could use a script consultant to get the job done right.
    -Ted, Rutgers Univ. Alum

  8. DB,

    This is a god-send.

    When Lorri & I contracted you to consult with us on our screenplay, "41 Minutes," you took us to a whole new level. You helped us find the weak spots and perfect them. We went on to win Third Place in the Nashville Screenwriters Showdown.

    We both feel that we could not have done it without you.



  9. I've fallen off probably a dozen times. This week. (Kidding). I think screenwriters (or any kind of writer probably) need to go to rehab or some kind of support group. Not a writing group. Those are all about writing. I wish could share my pain when I'm not writing. Looks like it'll be you, Mr. Gilles.

  10. Where were you last summer when I couldn't get past Page 81 and I spent more time watching TV and eating junk food than at my computer?

  11. Full disclosure: I use D.B. as a consultant. In fact, he taught me how to write and taught me how to keep going when I felt the thread was lost forever. Hollywood hasn't made my fortune - yet, but at least they are readng my scripts. D.B. did it.

  12. It's hard to be confident when you want a producer or whoever to like your work and like you.

  13. Last year I hired DB to help me with my first screenplay which
    I was muddling through until then. It was a wonderful experience.
    His assistance was invaluable. He guided me through the whole process and gave me the encouragement I needed. And now his blog! It's exactly what I need to get started on my next script. Thanks for your "rehab", D.B.

  14. I belong to a screenwriters group. We spend most of the time whining about how we can't write. I feel like we're more like an AA 12-step program. I totally get what you're saying.

  15. I belong to a writing group too. I think I'm pretty serious about it, but most of the other members (7 people) hardly ever bring in any pages. They just have excuses as to why they're not writing. Staying focused is the hard part, especially when you get find smart people to read your script.

  16. Nice website, DB! This is going to be so helpful. It's so great knowing I can always go to you if I'm frustrated or need assistance on my script. To have someone who not only knows what they're doing, but generally cares about the people they're helping means a lot, especially in this business. Glad I have you.

    I kind of consider you my own personal script "personal trainer." However, unlike my real trainer at my gym, you're much more successful: while I'm moving along nicely on my screenplay, I still have a very high body fat percentage.

  17. Thanks DB! You're the best script doctor and I'd be stuck on my second act without your help! Now I'm looking forward to your rehab so I can learn to get over my fear of pitching and get my career moving. I'm sick of having my scripts collect dust in a drawer. I need to bite the bullet!


  18. Un-productivity as an addiction. Love this and think it's a very chic writer-esque disorder to have. Thanks for the insights -- and for working your magic on my scripts. You have a way of bringing the best out of writers. Thanks for launching a new way to impact the craft -- and naturally am looking forward to any rehab that okays a gin martini.

  19. Great post. My favorite way to procrastinate is to read a book about how to stop procrastinating.

  20. oops. fell off the identity wagon there.

  21. This sounds like it could rock!

  22. Great post! I know this will keep me motivated!


  23. Hi, DB! Glad to see you have a home on the web.

    Colette Reader

  24. Anonymous 7:27 p.m.

    Ah, yes ...

    My reading list:
    The NOW Habit
    Getting Things Done
    And the list goes on.

  25. Hey DB, it's been a long time since NYU Comedy-Writing Class 1995-1996. I learned a lot from you then, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from you again.

    Cool blog title too; I especially like the subtitle--"For Writers Who Can't Get Their Acts Together". I can relate. One time my Act 2 problems were making me so demoralized and dejected that I couldn't even eat Act II popcorn anymore; I had to switch to Pop Secret, which, incidentally, is a lot better anyway.

    Looking forward to getting another taste of your insight, DB!

  26. Hey DB,

    I woke up this morning with writer's block, but now that's all cleared up thanks to your blog. This is good medicine for all who write for the screen or stage. Great idea!

  27. Now that I've read your books, I'm glad the learning will continue on your blog! Thank you for helping me clean up my script. It's a lot tighter, all the unmotivated stuff has been cut and the alternate endings were a brilliant idea.

    For the record - DB's services is a MUST for any writer before taking their script to the pavement.

    - Dennis Shinners

  28. Trying to finish my last screenplay made me feel like spent three months in a drunk tank. I hear you. I hope you give me some answers.

  29. I'm reading these things backwards. I should've started with this one. I dig what you're doing, dude.

  30. I feel like I've been in the doldrums since Yentl.

  31. It's not Monday nights at 's nor is it burgers in the Village.
    But it is a good thing and I'll be looking for more.

  32. Most screenwriting blogs I've read don't really offer solid advice on writing. I hope yours will be different.

  33. Hey D.B. - Today I should have written 5 pages but at least i found your site! have to finish first draft by late May deadline so feeling now that I can do it if I stay disciplined. Thanks!

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