Do you remember the bit in the Odyssey where Odysseus lashes himself to the mast? He knew that the Sirens (two seductive bird women) could lure sailors with their enchanting music and songs to shipwreck on the rocky coast of the island where they lived.

He instructed his men to stuff their ears with wax so they couldn’t hear the enticing sounds, and to tie him to the mast so he could hear them but not steer his ship toward them.

When he heard them, he ordered his men to untie him but they refused.

You’re Odysseus. You’re on a journey–writing your screenplay.

The Sirens are…new ideas. Beautiful, fresh, uncorrupted, seductive new ideas. They sing, ”We are better! We are more beautiful! We promise more! You’ll enjoy writing us…not like that hard work you’re stuck in at the moment! Leave that old idea, push it overboard, steer over here!”

Tie yourself to the mast!

By all means listen, even take notes (if your hands aren’t tied…) but don’t go there. Not now. Those Sirens will age quickly. They’ll turn into the same (temporarily) unbeautiful hags you’re struggling with (sometimes they’re called Act II).

If you stay on course, a miraculous thing will happen. You’ll write and rewrite. Then you’ll rewrite some more. And pretty soon, that thing you’re working on will start to look a lot more attractive.

And it won’t crash on the rocks.

(Jurgen Wolff’s screenwriting blog is at, where you can sign up for his free monthly Brainstorm creativity e-bulletin. His most recent books are Your Creative Writing Masterclass and Your Writing Coach, both published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon and other booksellers.)



Jurgen Wolff is a writer whose credits include "Family Ties," "Benson," "Love Boat," "Relic Hunter," and the film, "The Real Howard Spitz," starring Kelsey Grammer. I also wrote two TV movies for the Olsen twins back when they were just millionaires instead of billionaires, and the mini-series, "Midnight Man," starring Rob Lowe. Jurgen has been a script doctor on numerous projects.

His books include, "Focus: the power of targeted thinking" (Pearson 2008), "Your Writing Coach" (Nicholas Brealey, 2007) and "Do Something Different" (Virgin Business Books, 2005). He has two more coming out in 2009, "Marketing for Entrepreneurs" and "Creativity Now" (both from Pearson). Previous books also include "Successful Scriptwriting," "Successful Sitcom Writing," and "Top Secrets: Screenwriting." My ebook Time Management for Writers, is available from my website,

Jurgen teachs writing workshops internationally, and divide my time between London and Southern California. He teaches Script Coach at Raindance