I (Finally) Got a Job?!

TypewriterFontWriterLife can be funny sometimes.  After two years of struggling to find a job in Los Angeles, any job, applying for any film related position I was even half qualified for and those I was overqualified for – 200+ resumes later, I only ever received two calls.  A week back in Vegas and I had two interviews, thanks to a friend with contacts.  To be honest (and hopefully my friend doesn’t ever see this), I didn’t really want either, but who was I to complain? So I sucked it up and decided which of them would be the lesser of two evils.  After two promising interviews, a week passed without any word.  Again I was faced with the prospect that I might continue to be jobless, and although yes, I was new to this market, I wasn’t sure how much more rejection I could take (especially when it’s not in reference to my screenwriting for which I know I’ll have to develop a thick skin).

I started another round of job hunting and ground my teeth in silence.  I won’t go into the recent economic downturn and how so many people lost their jobs and homes, because this isn’t about that, but the thought that you might have to take any job for any pay is neither encouraging nor appealing.

I want to be a writer.  I want Hollywood to come calling and for studios to get into bidding wars over my scripts, but that’s still a little ways off. ;) So I figured I could try to find something within the realm of creativity and crossed my fingers as I searched the employment sites yet again.  And then there it was…content writer wanted.  I completely rewrote my cover letter, scoured my blog for a couple decent writing samples (one of which was my insight into Doctor Who which I would later discover was probably one of the best choices I made), and sent it off a little excited by the prospect.

And then I saw them.

Using my sister’s computer, so I could remain in the vicinity of my crazy dogs who are still not comfortable because they don’t have any of their own things (we’re still in my friend’s living room), for some unknown reason, her computer did not recognize two misspelled words.  Not big errors, two missing “i’s”, but there it was, strike one.  I had one friend try to reassure me by saying I probably didn’t want to work there anyway, but what an idiotic mistake.  I should know by now to never send anything off without another pair of eyes taking a pass.  As writers we all know we never see our own errors.

The following day, I received an email saying that they liked my samples and wanted to meet with me.  Score!  (I don’t know why I just said that.  I promise to not use it again.)

I called the office and asked to speak with the woman who had sent me the email, and had misread her name so I said it wrong, like really wrong…strike two.  I shook my head for some time after that one.

Set up the interview for the same day, and I was not prepared for that so I was running a few minutes late…strike three.

I was pretty sure that was it for me, but the interview was with the two heads of the department, and they’re fellow geeks, so my interview questions were not only based on my writing and capabilities, but who I thought might win in a battle between Godzilla and some weird hybrid of a terminator-like being made up entirely of crocodiles that had hive mentality.  When I sighed and said, “Why couldn’t you ask me about Captain America or Buffy?” they laughed.  I quickly discovered they were fellow Dragon Age enthusiasts, and that was it for me.  I knew I wanted to work with them.

A half an hour later I received a phone call, I got the job.  Seriously?!  I just got a job?  A real job, writing?  YES!  The only catch, I had to start the following morning at 8:30 am.  In the morning?

A few things – I hadn’t been up at 8:30 except if it was from the night before, and I had absolutely no clothes for an office environment.  I hadn’t worked in one in some 15 years, so it was off to every store in a 5 mile radius to find at least one pair of pants.  Besides the fact that about 75% of all my clothing is in storage, I really didn’t have anything to wear.  Luckily after four stores I found two pairs of pants and they will now be my staples until I can afford to buy a few more.  I forewarned those I work with about my limited attire, I know, such a girlie thing to be concerned about.  I doubt anyone will even notice as I’m seated at a desk for 8 hours a day.

So there it is.  I am now being paid to write.  How strange is that?

Now if only I could find a place to live, get settled in, and get familiar with this new routine, then all would be right in my world…well, almost. ;)  I have to figure out how after spending all that time in front of a computer writing I will want to write my own stuff?  Any tips are welcome and appreciated!

I wish you all well and hope you are working towards your goals!  Best wishes, my friends!

Feeling Like My Old Self Again

Sometimes we have to let things goHello, my friends!  I hope this post finds you all well!

First off, thank you for sticking around while I get my life (back) together.  After one of the worst moves I’ve ever had, and I’ve done six in five years (7 by the time we move into a place – yes, we are currently homeless, but not destitute thanks to a friend.  We are sleeping on an air mattress in her living room while all our belongings hang out in storage) so by now I’m sort of a pro, I’m starting to return to my abnormal normal.  I still have quite of bit of work ahead of me and I’m nowhere near my old routine, but all the stress has left me, I’m around some of my best friends, I have job prospects, and I’m feeling the desire to write again.

Last night I was compelled and it was almost like, “Oh, hey, there you are”, but I wasn’t sure where to begin after so much time.  So I opened up the fanfic and realized that the last few times I wrote it, I’ve been completely scattered and so the story is a little less than cohesive, so even my escape writing will require a little attention.

So, although I’m not quite myself, returning to my blog and all of you is the first step back in the right direction.  I’ll soon have some posts regarding Los Angeles (advice and what-have-you), moving advice for those who may want it (I’ve got stories and some tips), movie reviews (I’ve watched a few), writing prompts and tips, and general geek insight (Dragon Age Inquisition is coming! Iron Man is joining Captain America 3!  Have I mentioned my new fixation with Cap?  Chris Evans is adorable, but it’s Captain America the character I adore in general.  I have the lovely ladies over at The Collective to thank for that.).

And something I learned rather quickly was that change, even when unwanted or unexpected, can sometimes be for the best.  I struggled with the decision to leave LA, but I’ve found a sense of relief at letting go of the struggle.  That’s not quite the right word, but you understand my meaning.  My friends have been concerned that I might give up my writing, but they shouldn’t.  A relocation will not thwart any effort to accomplish my goals.  In fact, being able to find work, being surrounded by friends, and living in an affordable environment are all facets to a more well rounded life and encouraging mindset to facilitate my writing.  So, here’s to getting back on track!

Wishing you all the best!

I’m Still Around

Hi-SmileyEmoticonHi friends!

Yes, I’m still alive, and with a little over a week until we check out of Los Angeles, I still have plenty to do.  Especially since the house we were going to rent fell through, so we currently don’t have a place to live.  Stress levels are sort of high at the moment.  And we’re still looking for new jobs, but that has taken a back burner as we need living accommodations first.  It’s sort of a catch-22; need the job to obtain the rental, need the rental to obtain the job.  Blah, blah, blah.  I’m not going to ramble much on this topic, because well, what’s the point…and really, what else needs to be said?  Except that nobody ever really warns you about the chaos of adulthood.

While we’ve been packing up we’ve been watching lots of movies and television via Netflix and the Redbox, so I’ll have some reviews for you shortly that include Only Lovers Left Alive (oh, Hiddles), 300: Rise of an Empire, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (both characters are the newest additions to my list of favorite things ever) among others.

As for writing, that’s just not happening.  I can’t.  And I really miss it.  The split focus leaves little access to the imagination, so other than just letting stories percolate, nothing else is going on upstairs.  I haven’t even read anything, well nothing beyond rental adverts and such.  Again, I apologize for being so absent.  I promise I will start reading your posts and liking and commenting again soon!

This sounds a little redundant to one of my last posts, but truly nothing is any different because I haven’t been able to change anything (yet), and as you all know, I like to be in control.  And I like my routine.  I suppose this is more of a journal entry, a reminder for later.

I’m going to attend my writer’s group tomorrow night to say farewell and maybe release the pressure cooker of creativity that’s currently taken residence, and then I have a concert of one of my favorite bands, Within Temptation, on Friday night – a good way to bookend our time here.

I hope you are all well, continuing on your paths, working with passion, and doing great things!

Give me a couple more weeks, then I’ll be back with a vengeance! ;)

Take care everyone!

There’s Nothing Like a Move to Make You Reevaluate Your Life

DesertI’ve been meaning to post something, anything, for days, but every time I sit at the computer I’m compelled to do other things that a relocation requires, i.e. new home search, job hunt, moving company comparisons, purging and packing.  My thoughts cannot turn themselves toward anything creative, and hence, I’ve written very little over the last week or so.  The only thing I have been able to write is a little fan fiction while at my writer’s group last Monday night.  I know, I know.  Pathetic.

What I’ve discovered is that because it’s not really “mine”, I can slip into this particular story anytime and escape.  There’s no pressure.  As writers, we’re so compelled to put the exact right words on the page for every word, sentence, paragraph, etc. that we sometimes stumble around writing very little in the end because it is ours.  We want it to go out in the world and do great things.  It has to be perfect.  This is one reason I’ve been willing to stick with the fan fiction.  Besides really enjoy the story, which is why I was inclined to write it in the first place, I have found pleasure in the writing because of its freedom.

As you all know, I love my routine, so this is really wearing on me.  I don’t care for not having enough brain capacity to be able to split my focus and concentrate for a few hours every day on the thing I love, my writing.  So, I decided that today, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, I would sit for a little while and chat with my friends for a bit…

SmilingEmoticonHi friends!  I hope I find you all well.

…and maybe do a little writing.  We’ll see if I can muster up some focus.

On a side note, as this current Los Angeles chapter draws to a close, I’m thinking of doing a few reflection-type posts; a reminder for myself and maybe a cautionary tale for others, with some helpful tips (and not just about writing).

So as I continue down memory lane with each packed up box, and the desire, albeit a small one, to just chuck everything into the trash…

I wish you all the best, and hope you’re working towards your goals!

Writing Prompt #39 & An Apology

Hello, my friends!

As the pressures of moving and all things associated set in, I find myself a little scattered.  So I will apologize in advance for the sprinkling of posts over the next few weeks.  Of course this all occurs after celebrating blogging for a year, when I’d like to keep up the momentum, but you know how life can be funny like that sometimes…

To tide you over in the interim, here’s this week’s Writing Prompt.  This image inspires a few different ideas for me, so hopefully I’ll be able to find some time to write.  Wanna join me?

IniciaticWell, Portugal

Happy Writing!

Quotes of the Week & A Little Something Extra

Sometimes knowing a decision has to be made does not make the action occur any quicker.  Nor make it any easier.  Sometimes you need an external persuasive element, and sometimes you don’t want it or need it at all, but it happens nonetheless.  In the face of such challenges, we, not only as writers, but just as people, need to maintain our perseverance.

Yes, this is relevant to what is happening in my own life, as a decision was made for me and The Sis, one we had been kind of trying to avoid for as long as possible.

It is necessary to remind ourselves that bumps in the road, detours, and change are just part of the journey.

TryFallChangeRise       PerseveranceIsStubbornnessW:Purpose    Persevere1

And the “little something extra” is a freebie!  Gotta love that!

I met with an entertainment career coach at the beginning of the year, Shawn Tolleson, here in LA.  She helped to put some things into perspective, something I needed at the time.  Something I may need again. ;)  She is offering a free online class.  Here is the link to sign up.

Happy Wednesday!

Has It Really Been A Year?!

I received a notice from WordPress this afternoon -

Happy-Anniversary

I can’t believe I’ve been writing here for a year already…and you know how I like to celebrate milestones. :)  As writers we need to enjoy the crossing of thresholds, the overcoming of obstacles, both big and small, and the one year anniversary of my blog is definitely a milestone.  I feel I should honor it and all of you by doing something special, but I’m not sure what would be appropriate.

First off, I suppose a big

Thank-You

 

is in order!  When I chose to start this blog, I was looking to create a platform for Rachael the writer – it’s grown into much more than that.

I love this space!  The encouragement I receive here makes me want to be more, to do more.  I’ve grown as a writer.  I’ve made friends here.  Found support here.  This blog makes me write when I don’t feel like writing anything at all.

I can share my passions aside from writing.  I can geek out.  I can reflect.

And through this space I continue to learn, be inspired, and find new interests.  So thank you to all of you for your continued hard work and passion!

So as I reflect on the passing of this last year, I turn a hopeful eye to the future and the changes that are coming.  Thank you for joining me on this journey and I look forward to continuing to share it with all of you!

Best wishes to you, my friends!

xx, Rach

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #8

CanyonLake, ThailandWhen I shared this image, redgypsophila of Adventures in Writing decided to do something different and challenge herself by writing multiple pieces from the one image, conveying a different mood in each; 1. Contentment, 2. Isolation, 3. Betrayal, 4. Terror, and 5. Wonder.  For her final piece, entitled Mood #6: Editing, she joined them altogether, and recently shared it.  I’ve been following along and enjoying each one, and am pleased to share it.  I really liked this concept and how she chose to portray it, by showing the newly added sentences in red that would help join the moods more seamlessly and crossing out the now defunct text – a fun read!

Congratulations on completing your challenge and thank you for joining me!

As for me, I don’t have any new flash fictions to share, but I thought I’d share a little of the new chapter in the Dragon Age fan fiction I’ve been working on.  It’s sort of a continuation in the forest, where the previous chapter took place, because I was trying to figure out a way of joining the two together, and this is what came out of that…

*For those of you new to what I’m doing, I shared a Writing Prompt image of concept art from the video game Dragon Age (one of my fixations) and found that I really enjoy writing fan fiction.  You can read Chapter 1 under Excerpts.  This is the start of Chapter 2 (or perhaps the actual end of Ch. 1) -

Our time in The Brecilian Forest had had this strange side effect of separating us from the rest of the world; sheltered under the imposing canopy, removed from the impending threats, distanced from other people, and fighting trees, werewolves, and every other thing the forest housed had left us disjointed. A few weeks trekking through that unforgiving forest, discovering the source of the curse and its repercussions, had left us reeling in the aftermath. The first sight of the bright red sails of the Dalish’s landships were a welcome sight and the first sense of relief we had felt since we had last seen them.

Since the incident in the cave, I had steeled myself a bit in regards to my emotions, especially those toward Alistair. I had allowed my feelings to blind me to the task at hand, well not completely, but it had definitely been a distraction, and that was something none of us could afford. A mage with a lack of focus was not a companion anyone would wish for; my magic would be stunted and ineffectual, my aim would be off, and I could inflict harm to anyone nearby, even if unintentionally. I could be dangerous all the same, or more so. I had to do my best to reclaim some modicum of my level-headedness if not for anything but the safety of my friends.

It had been difficult to distance myself from Alistair, but our circumstances were such that we had to stay together as a group at almost all times, which left little time for private side conversations. It was only when we were spread out as we made our way carefully through the forest that we sometimes paired off, but even then, I would stay near either Morrigan or Leliana while Alistair and Keiko led and Sten took up the rear.

At times I had heard Alistair talking to Keiko and Keiko barking a response. The mabari were an extremely smart breed, and made for wonderful companions in part because of their understanding. They were also intuitive, resourceful, and lethal. So when I would hear the two of them having a sort of conversation, I had to swallow back the emotions that would inevitably surface at such a show of affection. It was clear they liked one another, and such devotion from a mabari was a testament to a person’s character. Keiko liked everyone in our party, which only led me to believe further in each of them. I had known on some level that I could trust them, and if Keiko did too, then they must be worthy, but he had taken a special liking to Alistair.

One night as we all huddled together around a small fire we had built in the alcove of the remains of a structure, Keiko had stood guard for a short while. Occasionally, he would make a round to make sure we were all well, then return to his post, alert and ready. I didn’t sleep while he was on duty, but I soon discovered none of us had. It was not that we didn’t trust that he would alert us to trouble, or protect us if necessary, but there was something about keeping him company that we all silently agreed to. When he would make a round, he would sort of nudge each of us, and we would all smile in return and give him a pat or an encouraging word. At one point, Alistair finally agreed to keep him company and the two of them bounded off into the darkness.

I felt my heart constrict in that moment. I watched Keiko walk proudly beside Alistair, whose chainmail glistened in the light of the fire, with one hand sitting casually on the hilt of his sword, the other patting Keiko as they discussed their strategy.

“There is no need to fight so hard against it.” Leliana whispered. Her insinuation was coupled with a slight of her head in Alistair’s direction.

“There is every reason.” I countered, barely keeping the edge of my emotions from my voice. I could feel them bubbling to the surface, along with the hundreds of thoughts I had had since that episode in the cave. There were too many unknowns, and we were surrounded by danger and death at every turn. It was unlikely either of us would survive until the end, whatever that actually meant.

I swallowed hard and pushed all those emotions and thoughts down. This was neither the time nor place, if such could even exist. We were duty bound, and every thing else was a foolish notion, a daydream. It didn’t seem a bad idea to have something to hope for, but the threat of loss was too great, and the subsequent pain might be too much to bear, depending on how long things carried on before they came to an abrupt halt.

Morrigan interjected. “When at war, certain…relationships occur, for the sole purpose of their necessity to maintain a sense of stability in a violent world. Perhaps you could look at Alistair in that regard. You need not look beyond the need for comfort, although I would recommend someone, well, less him.” There was the faintest hint of amusement teasing her lips.

We were all taken aback when Sten joined in, “He would most likely take instructions well”, to which we all laughed. Our giggles prompted even the gruff Qunari to break a smile, or what could be considered a smile, as none of us had ever seen one on him before.

And now…on to Redcliffe.  RedcliffeVillage

Be A One-Hit Wonder

TypewriterFontWriterThe other night when I was talking with my fellow writers at group, one of them mentioned the “10,000 Hours Rule” by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers.  The idea behind this is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any field.  I would love to be able to figure out where I am on that scale.  How many hours have I put into my writing and when do those hours start?  Did they start when I was a kid telling stories, or when I was a teen trying my hand at my first novel, or when I finally made the decision to go back to school and found screenwriting?  If we start from the moment I started calling myself a writer, I probably have a few thousand hours still to go.

I have seen how my writing has changed over the years, and even in the short time I’ve been blogging.  It has helped to hone my voice.  So a big THANK YOU for helping me do that!  Clearly, I still have a little ways to go.

As writers, we have to continue to learn and grow through practice, reading, and just being a part of the world – where we probably get most of our material.  I have binders full of notes, and every once in a while, I’ll flip through them and stumble across some useful tidbit like the one I’m going to share today: the “Be a One-Hit Wonder” theory.

Yes, it sounds like a negative, but it’s really not.  The idea is that we prioritize our work.  Something I need to learn to do.

The theory is two-fold.  1) Evaluate which pieces are time sensitive; have deadlines (actual or self-imposed), or need lead time.  And 2) Finish shorter pieces first as that boosts confidence and gives us closure.

The idea is to make consistent, manageable progress on those things we can control.

I think this concept is one of the reasons I’ve been escaping into flash fiction and fan fiction, the sense of accomplishment.  And I even called one of my blogs “An Odd Sense of Accomplishment” when I talked about finishing my fanfic piece.  There is a sense of relief at seeing a final product after long stretches without one.

Screenwriting is my passion, but sometimes it is a struggle to get the words on the page.  I think it has to do with the awareness that I am passionate about it, I want it to be the very best it can be, and that every word matters so the value of its importance is heightened and therefore a harder end to find.

And this directly relates to last night’s late post.  I have a third act to finish.  That’s it.  Completely manageable.  Once I find that closure on this particular piece that I have long (long) sought after, I will evaluate all the other pieces in my portfolio and create my One-Hit Wonder list.  Which projects will offer me that sense of accomplishment in a shorter amount of time and lead me further along my journey towards professional writer?  I look forward to finding out.

What do you think of this idea?  Is it something you might implement?

Best wishes!