I don’t use this space as a soapbox, but today, more than any other, we must think of those who need us to choose their welfare above our own.
I don’t use this space as a soapbox, but today, more than any other, we must think of those who need us to choose their welfare above our own.
After reading my post about reflecting on the Austin Film Festival a year later, some of my friends said I was being too hard on myself.
It’s easy to be hard on ourselves. We’re usually our own harshest critic. I’ve long had an on-again off-again relationship with my feelings of self worth. Bad decisions are a part of life, no matter their size, and I often wonder if a certain decision here or there altered my path because I have a bad habit of comparing my current situation to where, ideally, I think I should be by now.
As positive as I try to be, I stumble occasionally. It’s hard not to see the goal in sight and maintain the momentum and positivity, but the creative path is a challenging one – one I embraced long ago, as many of you have as well – and so while we may suffer in our pursuit, we know why we do.
When I shared with a friend that I was reworking an entire act of one of my screenplays, he was in awe of my ability to do something like that. I was surprised by the reaction because I didn’t think it was awe inspiring. I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s how I identify no matter what else I may be doing. And in that moment, I found a twinkle of pride.
I am a writer.
I may struggle with my writing from time to time but it is my calling, and I have to get out of the mindset that it doesn’t have value until others think it does, and that any small step towards accomplishing my goal is not worth being proud of.
So let’s take a moment to celebrate our hard work. No matter where we are on our journey, we’ve come a long way from where we started, and we should be proud of that.
A writer’s group I’m a part of does weekly check-ins of progress, and I’d like to try that here. I’d be delighted if you’d share a proud moment in your writing. Was there something you accomplished this week that you’d like to share? Let’s support one another!
Last year at this time I was preparing to head off to the Austin Film Festival Screenwriter’s Conference. My first (and only) time at any such event. I had finally chosen to invest in myself, and I was so excited at the prospect.
I had no real idea of what to expect.
It was more than I imagined. A year later and I’m still beyond delighted I chose to go. I was surrounded by like-minded individuals. I was listening to professionals offer sage advice and found the common thread that united us all. We were creatives. I was invigorated and inspired, and made the decision to quit my exhausting-body wrecking-causing-me-to-drink job on the second night. I did my best to get out of my comfort zone and walk up to strangers to start conversations knowing the purpose of my attendance was to meet other writers. And I did.
And one year later, many of them are doing amazing things.
And I…am envious.
I had big plans after the conference. I did indeed quit my job. Upon my return home, I gave notice and it was like a weight was immediately lifted. The Sis and I began talking about a move because Las Vegas was only meant to be temporary and it had been 5 years. I started to formulate a plan for, not only my writing goals, but also my life goals. Things were looking up.
We visited Washington state in March as a research trip for the move just as the first cases of the virus made their appearance. And it went downhill from there.
I was suddenly frozen. The uncertainty of it all…I was at a loss of how to proceed. In those early months, thinking about writing, of being creative was nearly impossible. I couldn’t even bring myself to write a blog post to commiserate.
I was in awe of those people who were going about their “business as usual”. That mentality escaped me, for a long time. I could barely find comfort or escape in a film, and have found myself way behind in my “One Movie a Week Challenge”. I never expected to be so affected by anxiety. Thankfully, in all this, I discovered yoga.
Then there’s the political stage.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the news and feel a sense of relief instead of all this?!
So here I am. A year after one of the most inspiring, motivating weekends in my life, and am no better for it. One friend is waiting to hear back on a directing fellowship for her short. One is meeting with a producer for her unique script. One is winning competitions and shooting a script. One is currently directing her project, pitching other ideas while on set, and winning awards.
I am absolutely thrilled for them all! It is inspiring to know these women as they make their way in the industry. And these are also the people I am in awe of. While I found myself almost paralyzed by indecision and the external constraints, they endured.
When it became clear that there was no immediate relief in sight, and after reading a poorly written published novel, I got off my ass and started to write. It’s been slow, but the spark is there. I realized, finally, that no matter what was happening outside, I am miserable and without purpose when I’m not pursuing my dream. I have had too many gaps in my life of not writing and focusing on irrelevant things, and I always regret those times. Time wasted.
The older I get, the more I understand how precious time truly is. Should I fail to succeed in the pursuit of my dream of becoming a professional writer, I’m not sure how that will feel in the end. I don’t like the way it feels now.
So, it’s taken nearly a year to come back to the realization, but here I am. I’m grateful to those at AFF who gave me so many opportunities to meet the fearless women I now call my friends. I wish them every success, and hope to count my own among theirs soon.
For those of you who have been with me for a while now, you know of my long love affair with the series Dragon Age. I have taken part in nearly every aspect of the fandom – the love runs deep. Very few details have been released in the last couple of years in regards to the next installment since it was teased at the 2018 Game Awards. And when any little hint does come to light, fans analyze every minute detail for clues and concoct wild theories based on the scarce evidence.
December tends to be DA news month but Christmas came early this year when a number of images of concept art were recently released. You can imagine the subsequent frenzy that ensued. With the release of the latest novel, Tevinter Nights, characters both new and familiar were revealed along with story details that we could weave together in the hopes of understanding where the next game would lead us.
In the FB group I’m a part of, people regularly prompt the members by asking what they want to see in the next game. Besides better hairstyles, which is a major pet peeve among us (I even wrote about it a while back), there are a lot of ideas floating around. With all this in mind, I’ve decided to share my own take on what I’d like to see in the next game. Here are my top 7. I tried to stop at 5 but that was difficult, so I’ll do my best to be concise.
*This will include spoilers if you have not read the comics and books, and with the understanding that the reader has played the games.
With all I have to say on this subject, I couldn’t share all the artwork too, so here is a link to see all the beautiful designs.
Are you as excited as I am for the next installment? What are your hopes for Dragon Age 4? It’s still a ways off but hopefully there will be another book, or comic, or more hopeful news, like a release date in December (or all of the above) to tide us over. ((sob)) Want to commiserate with me? Let’s talk Dragon Age!
It’s been over two years since my last WPC?! Eek! That’s not good.
I’ve been inspired by a number of the images I’ve shared, so I really have to take responsibility for my inaction. A resounding theme in my life lately. Well, some of that can be blamed on “things outside of my control”.
When I started the prompt series, it was in an effort to build a community, so I’d be thrilled if you’d like to take part. Should you find a writing prompt here – there are a few off to the side or you can use the search bar – that inspires you, tag me and please allow me to share your work. Let’s build a positive writing community together!
I use the prompts as an opportunity to create a space for free writing, something I rarely find myself capable of in my professional writing. These are short, usually around 200 words, with little forethought or editing. Here is my submission for this week’s challenge:
The hallway was dark. Hannah, barefooted, tip toed toward the daylight that awaited her at the other end. She ran one hand along the wall to feel the old, rough stone bricks while her gown swished at her feet as pace hastened.
Without knowing why, her heart swelled at the thought of what lay beyond.
The hallway had brought her to the rear of an English manor nestled in the country. Stairs led down to a well-kept garden and a sweet surprise she dared not believe. Cautious that the leaves would be sure to give away her presence, she took careful steps until she could nearly reach out and touch him.
Evan turned simultaneously and captured her in his warm embrace. His exhale of relief at holding her in his arms caused his arms to tighten.
Hannah couldn’t recall how she had come to arrive here, or why her heart recognized the man who held her when her mind didn’t, but at the moment, it didn’t matter. She felt like she had just found home.
~ * ~
As I mentioned in the prompt’s post, this image reminded me of my screenplay, 217. It’s a story about how Hannah finds Evan in the in-between moments of a near death experience. And now I’m going to go write! Or should I say, rewrite.
I look forward to reading your creations! Happy Writing!
In preparation for our move, I’ve gone through nearly every piece of paper in my office, multiple versions of my scripts included. A thousand pages of repetitive screenplays with minor changes between them were just sitting on the shelf, taking up space, for no reason.
There’s an odd thing that happens to writers who reread their work years later…they often find themselves surprised that they wrote it.
I know my stories. I was there when they were conceived 😉 but sometimes you find yourself in awe of a golden nugget or two buried within them.
Rereading multiple versions of my screenplays all in one go reaffirmed my desire to continue writing them. All of my stories are in need of a rewrite. For a while now, I thought some of them were only in need of a polish, but on reflection, there are some major things I want to change. To every. single. one. An unfortunate side effect to gaining more experience and insight and developing my writing skills further. Oh gawd. I may be George Lucas.
So it was when I saw this image, which reminds me of one of my stories, that I found myself drawn to it, and wanting to explore it. So I wrote something (yay!) and hope you will join me in this week’s Writing Prompt Challenge.
If you find yourself inspired, don’t forget to share!
Hi everyone! It’s been a while.
I hope you and your loved ones are well.
I have started a number of posts over the last month and have deleted each one. I haven’t had anything to say because sharing quotes about following your dreams, or tips about writing, or what I’ve watched all seem rather trite given the circumstances.
I give my fellow bloggers props for being able to continue in light of everything.
But then I thought, at some point, we’ll get past this pandemic and some sort of new normal will begin, and so I should probably come out of the shadows. Staying positive during these strange times has been a running theme from a lot of what I’ve seen, and the creative, funny, inspiring sides of humanity have prevailed, mostly – there is always, of course, a flip side – but I like to be positive too.
Sometimes that’s difficult.
I have long struggled with my writing. Blogging too, obviously. While my writing should be an escape from the real world, and it’s what I want to do in life, there are too many times when my writing has taken a back seat. I have discovered that I often feel guilty for wanting to write when there are other pressing matters, like planning a move out of state (or abroad) or starting an Etsy shop to alleviate some our burden and aid in the move.
For the last few months I couldn’t turn my mind to writing as it felt like a reward I didn’t deserve.
I willingly quit my job late last year. I was deeply dissatisfied, and because our move was to take place only a couple of months later, I didn’t seek out another one. My plan was to organize the house, sell or donate what I could, and get us ready for the next move. I think not having a job, made me feel like I needed to overcompensate in the other areas of my life so that I didn’t seem like I was taking advantage of the situation. For the first couple of months, I didn’t even take a “day off”.
Then the virus happened.
Not much happened to me, personally, to change my day to day but because I was already in this particular mindset, the extra time so many people were given started a trend that I found sort of infuriating. You may have seen them, they said things like this:
If you don’t find the time to write now, you’re not really a writer.
People are already struggling enough with a myriad of issues, and then to throw this into the mix, to make one feel defeated…argh. Thankfully, wiser people countered with responses like the “boat” analogy.
We are sailing in the same storm, but not in the same boat.
*If you’d like to read the whole thing, let me know and I’ll post it in the comments.
Eventually, with the move decided upon, the Etsy shop open, and enough organizational projects completed, I finally felt like I had “permission” to write.
Permission to create…permission to follow my dream…sigh. And I have. Not everyday, but more than I have in months.
And it’s not like I wasn’t thinking about writing all this time. I’ve been reading, watching the MasterClass series, I’ve been keeping my journal, and I’ve had story ideas. So while the physical act of writing may not be happening consistently, the other aspects of a writer’s life are, and with that understanding, I’ve stopped being so hard on myself.
Do you know how hard it is to ignore that nagging “you should be writing” feeling?! You can only do it for so long before it drives you mad.
Writers are so hard on themselves.
When I came to this realization, I figured there may be others who feel the same way, and maybe need to hear this too.
Hi! You’re not alone!
So whether you’re writing everyday, or just thinking about it, cut yourself a little slack. As writers, we’ve already chosen a lonely, difficult path, and we have to remember to be kind to ourselves. There are plenty of other people, always at the ready, to knock us down. Ourselves included. Compound this with a global pandemic, and the need for some positivity, something I enjoy, is needed more than ever!
So here’s one of my Quote Mondays from the past.
If you need support, in any way, please let me know and let’s stick together!
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?
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.