Wednesdays are for Writing Prompts.
Since discovering this image, I’ve had a story brewing.
Are you inspired? Are you up for the challenge?
Wednesdays are for Writing Prompts.
Since discovering this image, I’ve had a story brewing.
Are you inspired? Are you up for the challenge?
I joined the site Medium last year after coming across a number of articles linked to it. It’s free to use if you only read about 3 articles a month. I was finding so many that I had a back log of nearly 75 saved articles. Knowing I would never have a chance to read them all at that rate, I joined.
Feeling at a crossroads with a big-number-impending-birthday (yes, it’s that time of year again), I was looking at articles related to self-help, following your passion, goal setting, keeping momentum and focus, etc. and I read a number of articles about journaling. Growing up, I had friends who kept diaries. I was not one of them. It’s just never worked for me to remain consistent, but after seeing how people were discovering things about themselves through this process, I decided to give it a try.
A real try.
I started mid-December and wrote everyday, almost, for a month. I decided not to review anything I had written during that time, to see what would repeat. I wanted to learn if there were areas in my life that were seeking attention and needed it. Then we took a mini break to California, so nothing happened for about a week. When we returned home, I decided to look back on what I had written to look for patterns. Here’s what I discovered about myself.
This is just in one month.
I’ve continued on in the same vein, I’m not reading what I’ve written this past month. With my 45th birthday just having passed, I felt like these weighty issues were becoming amplified at my own displeasure for not making more out of my life at this point. I was feeling a writer’s mid-life crisis looming, but because I’ve articulated so many things that have been bothering me through journaling, I have a better path laid out before me to make some changes.
A random discovery from such a simple act. Thank you to all those writers who shared the positive impact journaling can have on your life!
Do you journal? How has it helped you?
A fellow Bang2Write-r shared this quote today on Facebook and I was immediately struck by it. If you’re not familiar with Lucy V. Hay’s site, give it a look. She offers a lot of tips and insight for writers.
Sound advice. Happy Monday!
I did it! I accomplished my goal of one new movie a week! I actually slightly exceeded it with 53 movies, the last just narrowly sneaking in on New Year’s Eve.
I’m sticking with the “ABC” grading scale and will give just a simple overview as many of my posts recently have been rather long and involved. Looking back on all I’ve watched this year, it’s rather sad to find how few of them were stellar endeavors.
31. What Happened to Monday: An interesting premise of septuplets born when overpopulation has mandated a one child per regulation. Noomi Rapace plays all the siblings who must discover what happened when one goes missing. My rating: B-
32. Ralph Breaks the Internet: When Vanellope’s vintage game is broken, she and Ralph must find the part to keep her racing. A cute follow-up to the original, with some clever references to keep all ages entertained; I just didn’t think it had as much heart as the first. My rating: B
33. Crazy Rich Asians: The clichéd story of a woman marrying a wealthy man and concerns about the family not accepting her is exactly that. While everyone was thrilled with the representation, that shouldn’t overshadow the lack of a well rounded story. It’s also a bit too long, and feels it. My rating: C
34. Aquaman: What can be said about the origin story of one of the least liked DC characters nobody asked for? The movie is too long, too convoluted, and an assault of CGI “magic”. The only reason anyone even bothered is Jason Momoa. My rating: D
35. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Every once in a while you just need a sweet movie without a lot of substance, which is surprising given its setting. Set after the German occupation of Guernsey, a Channel Island during WWII, a young writer befriends villagers who started a book club and of course, finds love. My rating: B
36. Bad Times at the El Royale: I didn’t know what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t what I got. Desperate to follow in Tarantino’s footsteps, this film about strangers converging at a strange motel that straddles state lines is a bit of mess that doesn’t tie up all its loose ends. My rating: C-
37. Bohemian Rhapsody: There is no dismissing Rami Malek’s performance as the charismatic lead of the band Queen, but it felt like the filmmakers played it safe. Not wanting to, possibly, turn people off from any negativity associated with Freddie’s life, they jump cut around instead, showcasing the music, without a lot of substance. My rating: B
38. Fighting with My Family: I grew up watching the WWF, now WWE, with my grandfather. I still tune in every now and then, and Paige, for whom the film is based on, is among one of my “newer” favorites. As the youngest wrestler to be signed, it was touching to see how it all began. My rating: B
39. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum: Not my favorite in the franchise, but still a pretty entertaining shoot ’em up movie with a few new twists to keep it interesting. Since the films continue in sequence, it’s hard not to appreciate Wick’s skill as the formidable hit man on the run. My rating: B-
40. Tall Girl: I, myself, am a tall girl. I’m 6′ and have been since I was 16 years old. I’ve heard all the same jokes, and had to deal with feeling like the jolly Green Giant among pretty much everyone I know while wearing men’s jeans because they had an inseam measurement. While I appreciate the message of accepting who you are, because you really can’t do anything about your height, the movie is just…blah. My rating: C-
41. The Favourite: Courts are notorious for their backstabbing and conniving, but I was hoping for more from this film than just that. Women have a reputation where other women are concerned, and in a time when we need to be more supportive, on the whole, this film about taking advantage of an already fragile person, was uncomfortable to watch at times. Olivia Colman is an amazing actress, and fully deserving of the accolades. My rating: B
42. Spider-Man: Far From Home: First off, I want to put Tom Holland in my pocket. In the wake of Avengers: Endgame, poor Peter is struggling to find his place and just wants to spend some time with his friends, but where superheroes travel, chaos is soon to follow. An entertaining follow-up in the MCU and development for a beloved character as he comes into his own. My rating: B+
43. Mary Queen of Scots: If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I’m fascinated with Queen Elizabeth I. This film takes a look at the relationship between the queen and one of her biggest rivals, Queen Mary of Scotland, played by two wonderful actresses, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. I’ll watch anything where the Queen is concerned, in spite of uneven storytelling. My rating: B-
44. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part: Another sequel that lacked the heart of the first. The Lego citizens face a new threat and must find a way of coexisting with their “enemy”. While still a cute movie with a sweet message, it was fun to watch, if not sort of forgettable. My rating: B
45. Glass: Having not seen the original in this strange trilogy, Unbreakable, I don’t have all the information to grade this film as part of a whole. I found some aspects entertaining, a film with a variation on the comic book figure, and I appreciate some of the risks taken, but overall there felt like there was something missing. My rating: B-
46. Fallen: I knew this was going to be a bad movie, and it was. I’ve always enjoyed the tale of the star crossed lovers, but this story, based on a YA series of novels was unmoving, the actors were dull, and just when it started to move in a slightly interesting direction, it was over. My rating: D
47. Shazam: I was unfamiliar with this superhero character prior to the film. My only reference was from the TV show Archer on a few occasions. The story of a young boy who gains powers which transform him into a fully grown, muscle bound man was more interesting than I would have guessed. There’s also a sweet message about family. My rating: B
48. It Chapter 2: The story of the child eating clown continues as the Losers, now grown up, must return to the beginning to finish what they started as a new cycle begins. Casting did a great job with the grown versions of the children, but this movie failed to recapture the fun of the first one. My rating: B-
49. Dumplin’: I love me a drag queen, and in the preview for this movie, a few help to inspire a teen girl overcome body image issues and compete in a beauty contest run by her once beauty queen mother. My rating: B+
50. Let it Snow: This teen holiday film about a group of friends finding love was a story that didn’t really do anything different and was actually fairly dull and forgettable. My rating: D
51. Knight Before Christmas: I followed one bad movie with another. A knight is sent forward in time on a quest and finds love with a modern day woman who’s been romance deprived. Meh. My rating: D
52. Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of the Skywalker: Oh, where to begin…if you’re not a fan, you’ve probably still seen some of the reviews, or heard the hubbub over how fans are disappointed. This fan included. The final episode in the latest trilogy initially seemed better than reviewed but as I continued to think on it, I realized how much was missing among so many other things. My rating: C
53. Love and Friendship: A Jane Austen story I wasn’t familiar with, Lady Susan – surprising, I know. Upon the viewing, I wish I did know more because the way it was filmed was a bit confusing. Lady Susan is conniving and manipulating. It appears as if she’s out for herself, which she is, but she also is looking out for her daughter, in a strange way. I’ll give it another watch after a read and see if it improves. My rating: B-
If you’d like to see what else I watched this year, here are parts One and Two of the series. Do you agree with my ratings? Would you like to offer any recommendations as I endeavor into the new year?
I came across this prompt while cleaning up my email. Somewhere along the way, I emailed myself this idea, and that’s where it ended.
So I share it today in the hopes it inspires us.
Who wants to take on the challenge? I look forward to reading your creations!
I also share writing prompts on Instagram, so if you’re looking for more inspiration, take a gander. Happy Writing!
Sometimes our goals are a bit overwhelming, and fear keeps us stationary. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, so hopefully this week’s quote will inspire you to be brave.
Happy New Year, friends!
Can you believe it? Not only has another year ended, but we’re now in a new decade. I’m still of the mindset that the 90s were the last decade because to think otherwise is just ridiculous. How could it be, now, 20+ years ago?!
I tend to bring in the new year doing the one thing I hope to be doing the rest of it, writing, but I’ll come clean, I haven’t been able to write since quitting my job. I, instead chose to spend it with one of my favorite people, Jane Austen. I completed my “One New Movie-a-Week” Challenge last week with Rise of the Skywalker, but I thought it might be a nice motivator to watch a movie, a world I want to be a part of, instead. I had not seen the film Love and Friendship, based on the novella, Lady Susan, and while I’ll have more to say on it in my next post about my movie challenge, it got me thinking about my own writing. So at least there’s that.
I nearly finished my Goodreads reading challenge of 12 books, a despicably low number, I know. I kept seeing these posts that if you want to be a writer and don’t make the time to read you can’t really be a writer. I was a much better reader a few years ago when my schedule permitted me to do things in a particular order. Now, I’m trying to implement that old schedule into my new daily routine. When I realized the end of the year was nigh and I wasn’t going to make my goal, I had to reevaluate a few things.
In that reevaluation was the thought that maybe I had set myself up for failure by expecting too much of myself throughout the year. I already knew the job was not allowing me to accomplish much, so achieving some of those goals was always going to be difficult, if not impossible. While I did complete a few of the tasks I had set out to do, like attending my first screenwriter’s conference, others, like the reading challenge, fell by the wayside. How could I possibly expect so much when days, weeks, and even months passed without a glance towards my passions?
I have to look at this year’s goal setting a bit differently. Remember, I don’t like resolutions, and I don’t think January 1st is a magic reset button, but it is an unavoidable marker for moving forward and starting anew. The outside world has dates and seasons for meeting goals, and a new year puts much of that into perspective. But there are things that I continue to carry over each year that I want to do that, while time consuming, are still worthy goals to pursue. It’s just going to take some patience and clever maneuvering, and not be at the forefront while more pressing matters are attended to.
What do you want to accomplish this year? How will you set out to ensure you reach that goal?
Here’s one of my favorite goal setting images for inspiration. Now let’s go crush 2020!
This is not the kind of post I would typically write about, but as part of “The Journey”, it felt like something I needed to talk about.
Writers have a bad rap of being alcoholic-lazy-caffeine addled-bad eating habit having-delusionals. I, personally, am only two of those things. I’ll let you wonder which two.
I didn’t personally need to put myself in the challenge. When I became vegetarian, it was easy for me to discover the foods that didn’t agree with me. Example – I learned I was lactose intolerant. But I did need to change my habits.
We gave this challenge a shot because The Sis had been suffering from stomach problems, and we wanted to determine for ourselves the culprit before heading to a doctor.
If you’re unfamiliar with Whole30, it’s not one of the fad diets making the rounds, it’s actually a way of eliminating the foods that have adverse effects on your system. Not only with stomach aches, but fatigue, skin problems, body pains, and a number of other ailments.
So we started by buying the book about two weeks in advance. It was fairly inexpensive on Amazon ($16). You may be able to get it at the library, I’m not sure, but we wanted to be able to keep the recipes and continue to reference it. Then came the purge.
Sugar is one of the biggest offenders, and you’ll soon discover that it is in everything, so the removal of it does have positive side effects. One of them being weight loss. Unlike some of the other plans floating around, you can still eat fruit. It took some time to prep for this new way of eating, so removing things from sight and weening off of the non-compliant foods began about a week out. I didn’t want a shock to the system when we could no longer enjoy sweetener in our tea or coffee, or had to give up bread and goodies.
Let me start by saying one thing. This is a rather time consuming process. Many of the recipes only make enough food for one meal for two. So there is a great deal of cooking involved. If you find a dish you enjoy, double it in the future to save time. Make a few things in advance and freeze portions to save yourself some stress when you realize you don’t have time to cook, yet again.
I am by no means exaggerating. There is a lot of cooking involved.
It is also a bit costly at the start, but when you consider that you’re making food at home, that you can stretch into multiple meals versus eating out many times a week, that really isn’t a drawback.
The book is great at explaining the phases of physical and emotional highs and lows you’ll endure over the thirty days. It even describes the dreams you may have because of the fear you will eat sugar unknowingly and have to start all over. The Sis had a few of these dreams. For my fellow vegetarians, you will not experience the full benefits of the “diet” as seitan and soy are staples for us as a source of protein, but for meat eaters in the challenge, they are both non-compliant.
The positive side effects of this challenge are the variety of new recipes you’ll discover. Pinterest is great at finding even more. Shocker, I got in a Pinterest reference. You won’t need to snack, not really, because you’re eating 3 complete meals a day. If I was peckish, I’d eat some walnuts or pistachios. It makes you look at food differently, and the improvements are quickly obvious. Even more so if you work out. We did not. So without that added benefit, The Sis lost about 14 lbs. and I lost 10 lbs.
We’re now at the end of the reintroduction phase. After thirty days, you slowly introduce the big offenders back into your diet to analyze how they effect you for the following 10 days. One day you have grains, or dairy, or gluten then go back to the Whole30 for the following two days. This gives you time to see how you react. My reintroduction was shorter because I was already having both gluten and soy products.
I’m going to continue to limit my exposure to sugar, in particular. One thing I realized was that after quitting my job, I no longer had the desire to drink alcohol. I was only having a drink or two a night at most, but it had become a coping mechanism and that is a horrible discovery. It was also one of the major contributors to my weight gain and hence the removal increased its loss. I don’t need sugar in my morning tea anymore, and I’m not compelled to seek sweets out like I once did, although I am having a hankering for some junk food now that the 40+ days has come to an end. Oh, pizza. How I’ve missed you.
Side note, if you’re a Costco or similar warehouse member you can buy bulk spinach, fruit and veggies, avocado oil, coconut milk, almond butter, coconut aminos (a soy sauce alternative) and a few other items there, which will help offset some costs. I even found ghee, a clarified butter which is Whole30 compliant at a better price. I also discovered, as a lactose intolerant, that I’m okay with ghee.
If you’re interested in trying Whole30 for yourself, here are a handful of our favorite recipes beyond the cookbook to get you started.
If you’re considering Whole30 and need support, tips, other recipe recommendations, or how to make it more vegetarian friendly, please let me know and good luck! It seems a bit overwhelming initially but it’s really not difficult and you’ll reap the benefits.
Everyone’s posting year end reviews and goal updates, and even as I, myself, am doing some reflection, if you’ve followed me for a while, you know I don’t like resolutions, one can’t help but look back on what’s been accomplished in the course of a year. It’s also the end of a decade, so there’s even more to think on.
While the beginning of a new year is a great jumping off point, you can start something new or achieve a goal at any time.
I’m sure I’ve used this quote before, but as The Sis and I begin to prepare for a new journey, this quote seemed rather apropos.
∼ Saturday: Day Three ∼
7:45am: Another early morning. More caffeine needed. There’s a coffee shop on the ground floor of my hotel that I’m thankful for, and it’s fairly popular due to its proximity to the conference. They have my favorite flavor, lavender, for their coffee and the most delicious pastries. It gets me through the bulk of the day.
9:00am – 10:15am: One of the panels I’m most looking forward to, Writing Sci-Fi with Gary Whitta and Emily Carmichael. They both offer some useful tips and let us all know that it’s okay to not write 8 hours a day. No one writes like that, and we shouldn’t feel like this is a goal we have to achieve. I learned about the Pomodoro Technique (which I will look into a bit more) which suggests writing in 25 minute spurts.
Tips: 1) Keep a Dot Journal to track writing progress. Check on it regularly. (I haven’t done this yet because I’m still learning how to create this type of journal.) 2) Maintain consistency in your world. If a character has a power, be sure to use it. (This is something we, writers, sometimes forget.) 3) Keep the rules of the world simple.
10:45am – 12:00pm: Overcoming Scene Challenges with Meg LeFauve, Carly Wray, and Dave Kajganich. This proved to be one of the best panels I attended. The most important thing I learned was that if there’s a problem in Act 3, it’s most likely because of something in Act 1. “You haven’t earned it” was repeated by the panelists, and this was a big note for me. As many of you are aware, from my many references to my troublesome third act of one of my screenplays, I either have a problem earlier on, or I haven’t followed through with something to earn the third act.
I happened to have an opportunity the following morning to speak with Dave Kajganich while waiting for coffee. I thanked him for his advice, and then he gave me some more. He asked me what I was struggling with and offered me some alternative ways of thinking about it. Does it have to have a happy ending? I told him I like happily ever afters, but it got me thinking. Maybe it doesn’t? Does it have to take place in modern times? No, it doesn’t, and I don’t know why I’ve been trying to force it. He was appreciative of me reaching out, he wasn’t sure if anything he said during the panel was useful.
12:15pm – 2:15pm: The Awards Luncheon was not being held close by. It was a number of blocks away and not paying attention to the time, I thought it started at 12:30pm, and add on a big parade for Día de Muertos, I was power walking to make sure I arrived on time. There was no shuttle, and the AFF staff I spoke with were very helpful, but afraid that if I didn’t arrive before it started, I may not be able to get in at all. This was an additional upgrade to my conference badge, so I was not missing out.
There were some amazing speeches, and it was an insight as to what was winning on the festival circuit. It ran way over for time, so I was unable to make my next panel, so I grabbed another coffee and got in line for the Lawrence Kasdan retrospective. Even an hour and a half before the panel I was still about 15 people from the beginning of the line.
4:45pm – 6:00pm: A look back at the life of Screenwriter, Lawrence Kasdan. He wrote The Big Chill, co-wrote Empire Strikes Back, wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Bodyguard, French Kiss, As Good as it Gets, and so many more. How could I not attend?!
7:30pm – 9:30pm: Pitch Finale. Another writer from my FB group, Jasmine and I planned to meet up to attend the finale together. All the winners of the pitch sessions gathered to pitch to the crowd and then winners were chosen from those. It was so much fun and so inspiring. There was a great deal of support and encouragement for the people pitching.
My shoulder ached from carrying around my computer bag all day, so after Deena and I grabbed a bite to eat, we returned to my hotel to minimize my carrying capacity so we could head to the last mixer of the weekend.
Upon exiting my room, we were dumbfounded to find a most likely drunken naked man in the hallway. We never did find out if he had locked himself out, or was kicked out, but either way, when the young woman, who was the manager on duty arrived, another conference attendee, Deena, and I kept her company until the police arrived. We weren’t going to leave her alone with a delusional nude. That made for a good story when asked what we would remember most from the conference.
11:00pm: Heart of Film Cocktail Party. I saw some familiar faces, which was nice, and made friends with Margaret. One of the winners from my pitch session.
It had been such a long day, but so rewarding.
~ Sunday: Day Four ~
There was a Hair of the Dog Brunch at 10:00am but my check out was at noon and I was going to be in a panel, so I skipped it, and slept in a bit. The sleep and food deprivation had finally caught up with me. I checked my bag, grabbed a coffee (which is where I met Dave and got that great advice), met up with Jessica and Deena for a quick hello and pastry breakfast, and then Jessica and I made our way to one of our more anticipated panels.
11:30am – 12:45pm: The Quagmire of Female Character by Lindsay Doran. When I was living in LA, I attended another presentation by Lindsay about the Psychology of Storytelling. She’s an executive and producer and her insight is unlike any other. She’s so engaging that I didn’t even take any notes, which, of course, I now regret. If you’re familiar with what’s going on in Hollywood, and the rest of the world, you’ll have an understanding of the balancing act that is currently happening with how to handle female characters. This panel enlightened us all.
Tip: If you have the opportunity to hear Lindsay Doran speak, do it.
1:15pm – 2:30pm: Writing for Animation with Brad Graeber, Alvaro Rodriguez, and Willis Bulliner who created the animated Netflix series, Seis Manos. Jessica didn’t have a panel planned, so she attended with me. It wasn’t what I was expecting, it was more about how they got their show off the ground, but it was still interesting.
3:00pm – 4:15pm: Life as a Screenwriter with Shane Black and Scott Rosenberg was, I think, the last panel of the day. It was the last one I attended anyway. It was the other panel I was most looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. These two screenwriters have been in the business for many years, and now, a bit older, have a different insight into the industry. I thought I took some notes, but I can’t seem to find them. Wah-wah.
4:15pm – 5:15pm: I have to say my farewells and get to the airport. It was during my good-byes that I made a new connection with someone who is doing something I’ve been thinking about. Traveling the world. And getting paid for it.
I’m sad about leaving. The entire weekend has been enlightening and I’ve had a wonderful time, even more than I thought I would. I’ve made friends, and writer friends at that. I gained a bit more insight about myself and what I want to do. The tips and lessons learned have opened my eyes to my writing, which was the point of the trip.
Overall, for my first conference, I’m not sure I could have chosen any better. If you have an opportunity to attend any writer’s conference, I definitely encourage it. It’s an experience unlike any other.
If you attended AFF, I’d love to connect and swap stories. If you’re planning on attending a conference and need some tips, I’m happy to help.