Quote of the Week

Sometimes I need reminders. I need assurances. I need to take a deep breath and remember the good times.

This happens, on occasion, when I’m in a lull.

It’s easy to look at others’ success and compare, but that is not a wise course of action. There is no cause for jealousy in a field that is meant to inspire.

Whatever your creative pursuit, there is room enough in the world for all of it, and we should be cheering one another on for the accomplishment because we know what it took to get there.

Besides, taking the time to be bitter and resentful is just taking time away from being creative and making your own mark.

So (note to self) stop seething and focus on the task at hand (which is?), whatever that may be…

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Nearly a month ago, I started to feel it.

The whisper. The tickle at the back of my mind.

The dreaded creativity cursed fear –

Burnout.

At least that’s what I think it is.

As I neared the completion of the first rewrite on my latest screenplay, I could feel my desire to continue waning. I was enjoying the rewrite, didn’t really have an idea of what I was going to do next, despite the plan I had in place in order to be prepared for the move back to LA, and so here I am. I think I mentioned the “fear” in a post, so perhaps I manifested it. Well, if my mind is capable of that, perhaps it could make some other things happen instead.

Even before I felt a bit aimless…lethargic…bored. Still sort of do.

I haven’t been compelled to do much of anything – not yoga, not gaming, not movie watching – just the bare minimum to get by.

So I’ve taken a break in the hopes I can refocus and find my center.

I’m not 100%, but I can feel myself returning to my normal, slowly. I even had the stirrings of a new idea, so…

Being a writer isn’t for everyone. It is not easy, as some may think. It’s not for the faint of heart, or those without the passion to carry them through the rough patches. It may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true. While I want to be encouraging to those who already are writers, because we all get it, I’m not sure how apt I am to encourage someone who may only be “interested” to pursue this path.

Okay, that’s not true. You all know I’ve had multiple encouraging conversations with hopeful writers.

It takes a lot of years to see results. We spend an inordinate amount of time alone, doubting ourselves, our skills, our story, and everything in between. We have to push through writer’s block, being told we should get “real jobs”, having to listen to everyone we meet tell us that they have a “great” story idea, as if we don’t have our own or that we need the help.

We’re told we have to “show up” every day. We have to write when we feel like it and even when we don’t. We’re told we’re not real writers unless we do it every day. We’re told we’re not real writers unless we read. We have to get up extra early to find quiet time, or stay up late for the same reason. There are days when we’re lucky to write a sentence, and others when we go blind staring at the screen because we can’t stop the flow.

There’s panic and dread when we submit our stories. There’s a a little panic when we see a new story hitting the shelves or the screens that resembles ours. There’s a perpetual state of waiting. Waiting for inspiration, waiting for a break, waiting for results…and beyond all that, there’s hope.

There’s hope that our story will resonate with someone. That it will help them in some way. That we’ll see our name on a bookshelf or a tv/movie screen. That people will talk about our characters. That they can’t wait to find out what happens next. That they’ll see subtext we weren’t aware of. Maybe they’ll create fan art or fan fiction. Maybe they’ll ship characters we didn’t imagine together.

It’s the hopes and dreams we have for our work that keep us going, but sometimes we need a break from the pressures we place upon ourselves. We heap quite a bit upon our shoulders, and elsewhere. We can’t half ass our creativity, not if we want it to matter, not only to them but also to us.

There are times to press on, to push through those blocks and walls, and there are others to set yourself to rights. Another thing we writers need to know – the difference between them.

What a wonderful life we lead.

So keep your chin up, and do what you can to move forward. Just do your best, even if that means taking a break. No other path is as persistent as ours. No other creative pursuit, or otherwise, is expected to give 365 days of commitment, so let’s remember to be kind to ourselves.

If you have any tips about staving off burnout or how to get past it, please do share!

Happy Writing! 😉

Quote Monday

I am happy to announce the completion of the first rewrite on my new script. And I have to say, I’m fairly pleased.

There it is again, that feeling. Satisfaction.

The Nordic people are known for a particular approach to their work – it can always be better. This is something I definitely echo.

It took a long time, too long, in fact, to be satisfied with my first screenplay. This new one is number six, so maybe it has something to do with that. It’s not my first rodeo. Big question mark.

It took a little longer than it should have to get through the rewrite. I’m not sure how else to explain it, but I had this feeling that I would be aimless when I was done. Still sort of do.

And that’s where discipline comes in.

I was not motivated to finish the draft. I would be sad to be done with it. And yet I knew it had to be done. It’s not like I don’t have a number of other projects waiting. And so I pressed on.

Some days flowed better than others. Some days I was lucky to rewrite more than one line.

So often I’ve heard, and I’ve probably shared it as well, that we have to show up even when the muse hasn’t. Writing is a practice. We have to do it every day. Blah blah blah.

Surprisingly enough, it’s true.

We (I) really should listen to those who have come before because if we waited for inspiration and motivation, it would probably never happen. To be a writer we have to be diligent. We have to embrace routine. We have to show up, and then we’re there when the muse visits.

Nothing has to be perfect. Nothing ever will be. We can do our best, I mean that’s what rewrites are for, and hope that it resonates with those in a position to make something happen.

So Happy Writing! 😉

Have an accomplishment you’d like to celebrate? Have you chosen discipline over motivation? Let’s cheer one another on!

Quote of the Week

I was going to try to count how many quotes I’ve shared now; take note of which topics of positivity and encouragement I’ve been peddling all these years.

There have been a lot.

I had to stop at some point because I was wasting time instead of writing.

I started the quote section of my blog because for a long time, when I came across a really good one, I would post it on my cork board above my desk. I needed inspiration, often because it wasn’t to be found elsewhere, and figured there were probably others like me, who just needed a word of encouragement to continue on their creative journey.

The quotes I choose are generally related to the way I, myself, am feeling at that particular moment. Maybe I chose one because of something I talked about with someone during the week, and sometimes, like this week’s quote, it is for a particular someone who I know needs to hear it.

The Sis has been struggling for a little while now. Her career path is unique, mentally taxing, and physically tough sometimes. It has both a number of pros and cons, but recently the negatives are starting to far outweigh the benefits. We had a conversation the other night, one in which I told her that I didn’t think she was happy, and that no job is worth that.

Day jobs take up a lot of our time. We sometimes spend more time with coworkers than our own families. So it should at least bring some measure of pleasure with it. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of changing jobs without some risk, there are a number of other factors why people stay, but if you are truly unhappy, it is something to reconsider.

I have been unhappy in most of my jobs. Why? Because none of them were what I actually wanted to do with my life. Now there’s a death bed regret. Luckily, I have someone who is supportive of my dream, and now it’s my chance to return that encouragement.

Hence a quote of the week that hopefully offers that inspiration.

I hope you have someone who supports your dreams; at least one person you want to make proud. The Sis is that for me, and after all these years, she deserves the reward that comes with that dedication. And now it’s her turn to find that dream for herself.

Need a cheerleader in your corner? You know where to find me! 😉

Quote of the Week

I had thought to do an overall post of my meeting with screenwriting coach, Lee Jessup, but I’ve chosen, without realizing, to just pepper in the details of that conversation instead. At some point, I’ll have to gather them all together for my own recollection.

There was a takeaway about passion.

One of the things she mentioned, and one of the finer points of that meeting that I have held on to was her notice of the passion I had for both my story and storytelling.

I am absolutely passionate about the story I submitted to her for review, Fate(s). Those of you who have been with me for a while now know, it had been a troublesome child. Act 3 had been written so many times, I could create a series of “what ifs”. But I knew it was “the one”. Present tense. It is the one. Eventually.

It was shaped by things that had actually happened to me, so the fact that she could feel the passion, read it on the page, that meant a great deal. And that warmed the spark I’ve been carrying for a long time.

Writing is my passion. It’s the thing that has sustained me all these years. It stresses me out. It elates me. Like Gloria Steinem said, “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” I love it.

Which is probably why I should have treated it better all these years.

So write the story that excites you. I hope it lights your soul on fire! That translates, and others will feel it. And oh, what a joy that is to discover.

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

One of the big goals I had for myself this year was to meet with screenwriting coach, Lee Jessup. I wanted to speak with someone who knows and works with writers, is part of the industry, and could offer me insight as to whether or not I was on the right path.

I received wonderful feedback with only one rather sizable problem that needs attention.

I need writer friends. In particular, screenwriter friends.

Gasp! I have to be social? Isn’t that one of the perks of being a writer? To be antisocial? With purpose? ((wink))

I haven’t been part of a writer’s group since I left LA over seven years ago. I enjoyed that group. There were a number of published or soon-to-be published authors, but no other screenwriters surprisingly, given our proximity to Hollywood, so while a supportive, friendly group, I still didn’t have anyone who understood my specific needs.

I’ve known for quite some time that I needed to make at least a few screenwriter friends, it was one of the reasons I attended the Austin Film Festival Writer’s Conference a few years ago. And I did, sort of. I met a number of screenwriters who I now interact with on social, but there were two women who I befriended that I have actual conversations with outside of that, but we live in different parts of the country, so it takes effort sometimes to keep in touch.

I asked one of them to give me some feedback on an early draft of my pilot, and she did not disappoint, but I can only ask that of someone so many times. Especially when we only talk a few times a year.

I need to branch out.

It’s something we all need. Support. Alone with our words for months on end, it’s no wonder why other people consider us “crazy”. Sometimes I can’t look at the thing I’ve been working on anymore because I can’t see the forest for the trees. We need another pair of eyes. We need someone, or a lot of someones, who understand our mindset, our struggles, our craft. We need people to hash out ideas with, people with a wide range of experience and knowledge of our field, and people who share our passion.

I think people in other vocations, non-creative pursuits, have an easier time finding others like them. When I worked in event management, it was easy to become friends with DJs, wedding planners, and photographers. We were in an industry where opportunity allowed for us to repeatedly interact, and that’s why so many writers, I think, congregate to areas where they’re most likely to run in circles with other like-minded individuals.

So we’re moving back to California next year. Yep. Lee helped me to understand that it was an integral part of my journey. It was inevitable. She assured me that I’m ready for the next step, but need to make connections, and the best way to do that is to be in a place where they’re more readily available.

So I’m putting out the call! I’d like to do something like that here, now. Do you have any tips on making (screen)writer friends? Are you part of a writer’s group you’d recommend or are you considering starting one? Please share below, and let’s start building that community!

Happy Writing!

Quote Monday

No matter how much we accomplish, it’s easier to find fault, to consider what more we could have done, and to reflect only on the negative.

Creatives, athletes…we’re never satisfied.

The Sis and I enjoy Formula One, and one of her favorite drivers, even when he won, would always say, “We could have done better.”

Relentless.

We’re hard on ourselves. We nitpick. We doubt.

When I had that conversation about a month ago now with the one screenwriting coach, I said, multiple times, that I had wasted time. A lot of it. She tried to placate that negativity by saying I had been living my life.

Uh huh.

Then last week, I went to coffee with a friend and told him how much I had written. His eyes literally went wide. It wasn’t like I had just been puffing myself up by saying I was a writer, I had the material, whether ready or not to be seen (see, hard on myself) to back it up. That impressed look, made me feel a little bit better.

I’m still no where near satisfied, but you know, it’s a process.

No matter where we are on our journey, it’s obviously easier to look back and measure our success, or lack there of, by that distance then to look forward and try to see the finish line because that is more elusive. We don’t know how many more steps we have to take before we can consider ourselves a “success”.

Besides, when is our kind ever satisfied?

It’s also easy to compare ourselves to others who are further along, and possibly younger ((gasp)). Or be annoyed that they found their way sooner.

When I was in film school, I learned how so many directors had used their families’ video camera to make shorts when they were like 10 years old.

Good for them.

Vera Wang didn’t become a designer until she was 40.

Way more relatable.

It’s hard work to silence the inner negativity demon. We work alone most of the time and without recognition or validation for years, sometimes. Don’t look back. Don’t be put off by the make believe distance you’ve manifested in your head. No matter if you’ve taken one step or a thousand, celebrate where you are now.

You’re so much further than you think.

You’re so much further than those who talk about it and yet have never taken the first step or those who quit along the way.

I finished a new screenplay in the month I’ve had off from work. Hence my silence here. I’m celebrating this achievement – a story that didn’t exist a month ago. What a deep feeling of satisfaction. When I wrote Fade Out, my heart flipped, and there was a moment of pride, and like I had given myself a high-five.

When I woke up the next day, there was that quiet nagging voice telling me to get back to work.

See. Relentless.

Do you have an accomplishment you’d like to share and celebrate? Let’s cheer one another on!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Almost 7 years ago to the day, I shared this quote. This knowledge, to some degree, makes me sad.

7 years?!

A new goal?! A new dream?!

While I absolutely agree with this quote, I am reminded that I still haven’t reached said goal from 7 years ago.

Now, while I haven’t done everything in my power to achieve my dream of becoming a professional writer, the passage of time is a harsh reminder that I have wasted a lot of it. Call back to a previous post. The time does, honestly, fly, and it flies with even greater speed the older you get. I have been spouting words of positivity and chasing your dreams all this time and simultaneously been dragging my feet.

I finally took the next step I’ve been talking about to work with a screenwriting coach. Before I speak with her directly, she has asked me to fill out a questionnaire that will save time in the “getting to know you” phase. There are some questions that are making me come to terms with my journey as a writer.

I am a procrastinator.

This is not newsworthy. I’m well aware of this problem, and even though sometimes I think I’m doing better…BAM! I discover I’m not. Hi. 7 years.

I have fear.

I’ve discussed this a time or two. Fear of the unknown. Fear of success. Fear of actually getting the thing I want because then what do I do? That’s a bad joke. But the nervous energy of the potential/wish fulfilling change is real. So many of us are comfortable with the known mundane.

I need accountability.

Because I’ve had to rely on a day job in the interim, often times that schedule takes precedence over all else. Bills have to be paid. This is a sad part of reality for all creatives before they can work full time at their passion. Beyond the job we have families and a slew of responsibilities that usually push our creative outlets to the back burner. The unsatisfying nature of some of our day jobs leave us tired and emotionally drained. Also, there’s no one to answer to at this stage.

The only one I’m letting down at this point is me.

At a day job, there’s accountability. There’s a hierarchy. A dependency. It’s what I want from my writing, to be responsible for only that.

So why this quote, you may be wondering? Given the above. Because as I now officially take the step towards accountability with a career coach, swallowing my fear and putting procrastination in the corner, I have to remind myself that age is just a number and taking this goal seriously, finally, is worth the effort.

With age comes a shift in perspective, obviously not everyone benefits from experience (i.e. the current state of things), but I know my sense of humor has changed. I find all sorts of random things fascinating thanks to exposure, and all that has affected my writing. Sometimes I think, I’ve had to wait until now to become this writer because I wasn’t ready before.

The story I’m running with started out as a fluffy romance piece, and now it has depth. Without some life experience under my belt, it never would have become what it is today. I have to remind myself of some of the quotes I’ve shared over the years, one of them being:

Trust the timing of your life.

So, no matter your age, no matter the goal, attempt the thing and who knows…maybe you’ll surprise yourself.

Best of luck! xx, Rach

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote is one that struck me hard upon seeing it. I’ve been floundering a bit this past week or so. Maybe it’s a little burnout, maybe it’s a bit of that fear about my goal setting/achieving sneaking in. Whatever it is, I feel the passing of time, and I don’t like it.

This is one of those lessons you learn as you get older.

When you’re young, time is endless – it seems there’s so much of it, there’s so much of it ahead of you, to do with it what you want, to waste – and then as you get a little older you start to panic that there’s not enough.

I suppose I’m the proper age for a mid-life crisis. I’m currently of the mindset that all my time must be allocated for specific purposes, and if not, I feel a sense of guilt. It’s not to say that I don’t find myself still wasting a bit of it scrolling through Pinterest or shopping for things I know I’m not going to buy any time soon, but I feel properly remorseful in the aftermath.

I still suffer from procrastination.

Thankfully, it’s not as bad as it used to be (but as of this post, I haven’t finished my taxes nor taken that second step towards my writing goals, so there’s that).

So take it from someone who has wasted a great deal of time, and who lives with someone whose job it is to work with the dead (a morbid fact of life), while time may feel infinite, it isn’t. We may never feel 100% ready to take the leap towards our long held dreams, but at some point, we have to be brave and take the chance because we have to use the time we have available to us. I suppose whether it works out or not is another part of life, but using our time wisely will at least give us more options.

Hmm…I like that.

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

This is one of those quotes that when you read it, and let it sink in for a minute, you think, “Wow. Reality check.”

There’s a strange security in the unknown. If you never attempt the “thing”, then you have this false sense, a suspended belief that everything is just fine. There’s no rejection, nothing to rebound from. We can continue on in the delusion.

It’s not me. It’s them.

It’s when we take a chance, and put ourselves out there we take the risk.

And that’s scary.

What if everything we’ve hoped for, worked for, dreamed of is not possible?

But what if it is?

That’s scary too. For a whole slew of other reasons.

Tired of the unknown, I took the first step this week. I quit the day job. It was like a weight was lifted immediately. There is now light at the end of the tunnel. There is possibility. There is also now a freedom to make the next job work better with my goals.

So now I can turn my attention to finding out if my writing has the merit to get me to the dream job, because not knowing is growing tiresome. I’m taking the second step this week. An evaluation to learn what may need attention.

Wish me luck.

Is there something you’ve been afraid to try for fear of disappointment? Are you ready to stop wondering? Share your thoughts below and let’s commiserate.

I wish you the best of luck and the courage to face what comes next!