There’s a reason life is referred to as a roller coaster, or a merry-go-round, because the uncertainty, the highs and lows, and the sometimes nauseating experiences we encounter on a daily basis leave us either winded or reveling in those moments. And sometimes it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook when everything you encounter is telling you to expect the opposite. Most of the battle is uphill, with numerous peaks and valleys, and so many twists and turns that you have to wait quite some time to be certain that you’ve made the right choices along the way. This is also the life of a writer. And people wonder why we go a little crazy sometimes; between deadlines and submissions and the waiting, our own tendencies to sabotage either ourselves or our work, and the years of hard work we have to put in before we can even be taken seriously…yea, staying positive is definitely a trick that needs mastering. Here’s an article that may help a bit, 15 Things that Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do.
I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person. Obviously, as any artist does, I’ve had my low points and questioned if I would ever feel happy again (well that sounded a little dark), because it’s easy to be waylaid by negative outside (and inside) influences and voices that would eagerly delight in our giving up, because it’s easy, and this is why we should be more determined to prove all those voices wrong. This is why staying positive is such a necessity. In order to continue down a thankless path, there has to be something that propels us forward. A reason, a hope, a glimmer of something beyond the darkness, and in order to see it, we have to be willing to stick it out. How would we ever accomplish any of our goals in the face of such adversity if we weren’t positive (at least in some regard)?
I’ve been (mentally) all over the place the last week. There’s been a lot going on. Last week I attended a lecture by a producer whose message was all about “being positive” and creating positive stories, and I left in a great state of mind with a few tools to improve my writing. The entire time I listened to her speak, I was thinking of my own stories and how they might be altered according to these ideas (and my life, as we are the heroes of our own stories). I’ll share a few things I learned, in regards to writing:
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Stories don’t have to be complicated to be interesting. She used the example of the Disney film, Tangled. Every character’s want is clear and obvious.
We love to watch a character who is really good at something, or learning how to be good at something.
Audiences don’t care about a character’s accomplishment, but the moment after between the hero and their loved one (and knowing which relationship is the most important is key to the whole story). We also love a character’s resilience to overcome great adversity or loss.
Learn to end your story where it is satisfying, not necessarily happy.
Since taking this new outlook on my career; trying to make industry connections, joining writer’s groups, trying to be more social in general, and taking chances, I’ve discovered that the dark cloud has lifted. The knowledge that I’ve taken control of my life is empowering. A lot is still left out of my control, as a screenwriter I can not achieve my goals alone, but doing what I can to achieve some forward momentum has helped reiterate this positive mind set. Then a friend called, inviting me to be a part of a new animated series he’s working on. I’m so excited by the prospects of a “real” writing job that I had to share. Hopefully, this is the first step at that turn in the road that I will look back on one day and remember “this is where my new journey began”…Let the uphill battle continue!
I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors! And remember, stay positive! 🙂