When you see top tennis players, top footballers, top artists, you realise that at the highest level it’s less about skill than about the mental game.

The skill is crucial, of course. The top players and artists of all kinds work non-stop at perfecting their craft, and the best go on doing it throughout their lives. And yet when the big match comes, or the big performance, it’s the mental side that makes the difference.

The more I write, and the more I work with writers, the more I am sure it’s the same. You need to work on your skills, and equally you need to work on your mental game.

The trouble is, very few people teach us how to do this. I know of no screenwriting organisation (aside from Euroscript) that even thinks of addressing the issue. Nowhere else you can learn the enormously valuable techniques of getting your mind to do what you want it to do. We can all find ways of motivating ourselves, sometimes. But where do you learn how to do this any time you want, under your control.

This may almost seem too simple, and yet often the simplest techniques are the most valuable. This is one of the best skills I ever learned in the mental game.

Set yourself small goals.

When I started writing, the idea of writing a whole draft of 100 pages was so daunting I lost all motivation. I could write one page, but 100…?

So after much agonising, I set myself the smallest goal I could think of: I decided to write for one hour a day. No more. And it didn’t have to be good. It just had to be written. Next day, another hour.

Then when I finished the draft, I tried to correct the entire draft, and that was just so daunting I lost motivation again. So once more, I set the smallest editing goal I could think of: just rethink the structure. Very simple. I didn’t try to correct everything all at once, I started with the structure, then the characters, then the narrative, then the dialogue… and so on. The great German statesman Bismark once said, the best way to eat a large sausage is one slice at a time.

So that’s my tip: you don’t have to conquer the whole world in one go. Eat that sausage one slice at a time.

Write one page a day. Read one screenwriting book. Book one workshop.

There’s a multitude of ways to tap into the resources you didn’t know you have, ways to be motivated, to discover how your hidden beliefs are tripping you up and to stop them doing it, to control and use your emotions in powerful ways, to find the confidence to achieve long lasting creative success.