“If there is something that you have to do, resist the temptation to do it under duress. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that would happen if I didn’t do this?” And if you can get away with not doing it at all, don’t do it. And then imagine what would it feel like to have this done. Spend a day or two, if you can, just 15 minutes here, 5 minutes here, 2 minutes here, here and here, imagining it completed in a way that pleases you! And then, the next time you decide that you’re going to take action about it, the action is going to be a whole lot easier.”
This relates to a pretty common screenplay question I get.
“What if you sit down to write and nothing comes? Should you force yourself to stay there and write?”
To be honest, only you can answer that question for yourself. But this is how I would approach it:
First, ask yourself if you have a deadline and if you’re being paid for what you’re working on. If the answer is “yes,” then you don’t have a choice. Sit there until it’s done.
But if what you’re working on isn’t for a job and you don’t have a deadline, I direct you to one of the tenets of The Horowitz System™:
“Hard work is just easy work done at the wrong time.”
That being said, I’m not advocating that you walk away and ‘play hooky’ altogether. Instead, why not try something that will contribute to your own writing process, like read a book or go to a movie. It seems that writers never make enough time in their lives for those things.
It’s my belief that if you reward yourself (within reason) for your own humanity, it helps you get it on the page, because it will give you a better understanding and appreciation for your own characters.