How To Survive The Writing Highs & Lows

TypewriterFontWriterWriters are a misunderstood bunch.  To the outside world, one might think our lives are spent wistfully daydreaming the day away.  That we spend our time living in imaginary worlds, not staring blindly at a blinking cursor on a white screen for long stretches of time while we try to find the exact right words for every single word we want to put down, or the time spent learning and honing our craft, or the mental (and sometimes physical) obstacles we need to hurdle to finish a piece, in addition to all the other things we’ve learned we need to do in order to write professionally along the way.  Writing can sometimes be an exhausting pursuit.

After last week’s admission of current shortcomings, I discovered that I sometimes follow a pattern.  What’s nice about this “light bulb” moment is that I can now use it to my advantage.  Being aware of the non-productive periods can help me lessen them in the future.  All of life is a learning curve.  Sometimes we are made to repeat certain instances until we come to an understanding, learn the lesson, and stop repeating them.  I’ve written about the marathon-style sprints I’ve been on and I’ve written about the dry spells.  There is no more or less passion during either of these times, but there is an ease in which the flow occurs.  This is something that “other” people will not understand.

So, as I decided to stop the madness and get back to work, I had a bit of a serendipitous moment when I found this article entitled, How the Ups and Downs of Writing Can Improve Your Craft.  Again, from The Write Life (who are quickly becoming my go-to site).  The third bullet point in the lows is exactly where I’ve been – finding out what has brought me down and fixing it…the only way I know how – Get back to writing.  I’ve reassessed some of my goals and am making some imaginary deadlines to get me focused again.

I’m not sure where I read it, but I have it on my board, a mantra of sorts that I’ve had to get back into the habit of repeating:

Discipline, Focus, Positive Energy

It is one of my goals to remain positive.  It may sound strange, but I’ve seen a few things that suggest that positivity is a choice.  It’s easy to fall prey to depressing thoughts, or feelings of inadequacy, and I would prefer not to, not anymore.  This recent low has reminded me of that.  So I suppose there’s good in that.

I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors and lots of positive thoughts!

Good luck!

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A Little Writing Help

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I’m feeling sort of negative today.  A few things have compounded leaving me a little sour.  So rather than give into those feelings or give them any power, I’ve decided to be helpful.  My blog is supposed to be about writing, romance, and fantasy, in addition to the journey of becoming an established writer, so maybe this week I’ll pursue some of those other avenues in the hopes that it will lighten my mood.  Maybe I’ve been too serious, too focused on one goal…maybe I should cut loose, at least a little. :\

I came across this interesting article that deciphers the various questions you might be asked in a creative meeting whether with film executives or publishers, such as “Why this character?”, “Why this story?”, “Why now?”.  If you’re struggling with a particular story, asking yourself some of these questions might help you resolve those issues, or might reiterate to yourself why you were inspired to write this story in the first place.  Also, within each question topic are further tips to explore.  I’ll give ’em a look, and pass on the details.  If you beat me to it, please share.

Then there’s The Write Life.  You may have noticed I reference them, occasionally.  I follow them on Facebook and find a lot of useful tips and offerings.  They recently posted an article about 20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards.  As you are all probably aware by now, I love Pinterest.  I’ve been doing the whole cork board thing for years, and really wish I would’ve come up with this idea.  (That would’ve been one way to supplement my lifestyle.)  I’m currently going through the boards suggested to see which would be helpful.  This idea alone has inspired me to search out more useful tips to share on my boards, so look for those new additions soon.

I hope you’re all having a productive week and I wish you all the best!

2 Writing Opportunities

So I’ve come across two writing opportunities that I’d like to share:

1.  NBC is casting a net to find new comedy writers.  Here’s the link.

2. Disney ABC Creative Talent Development is looking for scenes for their talent showcase.  You can find more info on their Facebook page, and because I couldn’t find a proper link, here’s a screenshot of the details.

ABCshowcaseI’ll keep my eyes and ears open for any other opportunities!

Good luck!

How Are Those Resolutions Coming?

CloversIt’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I suddenly realized it’s going on almost 11 weeks since the New Year and all those resolutions (verbalized, or not), and I decided to reevaluate my “to do list”.  I currently have 18 items on it, some of them have subcategories, some are on-going, but of the 18, I’ve been working through 14 of them.  Not too shabby.  Some days I flounder.  Some days I struggle with my writing.  Some days I feel like all I’ve done is run in circles, but at least I made the list to keep me focused.  It’s like a tether that draws me back to reality.  I bought a monthly wall calendar to keep track of goals and to visualize them.  I created imaginary deadlines, and some more concrete…and yet I still feel like I could have made better progress.  I’ve let too many days pass without doing a thing…at least on the writing front.

I feel like maybe I should cut myself a little slack, but then I think, I can’t slip back into old routines and bad habits.  Maybe I need more (or better) structure.  I applied for a six-month membership giveaway to a local writer’s space that would give me an “office”.  I’m crossing my fingers.  It’s too easy to be sidetracked at home.  This is why I think I should have done more these past 11 weeks.  I felt I was making progress on my first script, until I hit that historical snag.  I switched gears, started working on something else, and then figured out how to solve the first problem.  I started making progress on the other piece, then got the news that I could start writing for “real”.  On an actual show.  So I’ve had to switch gears again.  I better write down all those thoughts.

So how are your resolutions coming?  We’re three months in.  What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter when you decide to change your outlook, just that you do.  If you’re struggling to make your way, reach out and find the resources that will help you move forward.  The New Year was a great jumping off point, but you don’t have to make those new year resolutions to make things happen for yourself.  So what that it’s March?!  If there are things you want to accomplish, each new day is your new opportunity.  So in this vein, here are a few articles that I hope you’ll find helpful — 1. 50 Ways Writers Can Prepare For the New Year  2. 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump  3. 6 of the Best Pieces of Advice From Successful Writers

Here’s to continuing progress!  Best of luck everyone!

Rewriting Madness

EditingI’m finding that most writers have a hard time moving onto something new when there’s still work to be done on the piece they just completed.  Take me, for example.  I am so determined to get my first script right, that I can’t move onto anything else (I have tried), and what’s worse, more ideas keep popping up for other stories or new ones, so that I feel like my brain is running in every direction possible without really going anywhere, not with any real progress anyway.  I should learn from this, go work on something else, and then maybe the answers I seek would come to me…but I can’t.  I am compelled, driven, possessed…Last night at my writer’s group, we discussed this very topic.  When you’re so close to a piece, it’s hard to gain any perspective.  Sometimes you need  little break.  I’ve written about this before and it was reiterated to me last night.  It’s the “forest through the trees” scenario.  It’s hard to leave something unfinished.  We tend to feel guilty that we aren’t working on it.  Why would we spend all this time without seeing it through to the end?

This particular script has always been my baby (but is quickly becoming the redheaded stepchild – sorry redheads, no offense intended, as I’m sure you’ve noticed my love of ginger boys 😉 ).  The one I thought would do good things.  And yet every pass I make at it makes me feel further away from its original purpose.  This is why it would be a very good idea to separate myself for a little while.  There are a few impending deadlines, but getting some distance is probably best for everyone involved, because I’m not sure if the new ideas are any better at this point.  *If anyone has any resources to utilize to solve this dilemma, PLEASE share them!

When I talked with another writer, a novelist, last night, about the rewriting process, we agreed that being a novelist is better because of ownership.  You work with an editor who helps suggest ways of improving your work, but you are the author of that piece.  Your name will be the only one on it.  Whereas a screenwriter works alone for months or years honing that script into a viable, sellable work, only to be replaced.  It makes me cringe every time I think of it.  And this is where the crazy begins…

Okay, I realize I’m rambling.  Probably because I’m going crazy.  This is all madness.  Rewriting madness.  I believe it’s a state of mind that happens to all writers driven to finalize their work.  And then I heard this –

“The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated. Neurotic. Caffeine-addled. Crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.” — Robert DeNiro

I’m not quite sure how to respond to this except to say that now maybe people will understand what we go through on a regular basis.  If you’re also struggling with the “madness” here are a couple of links I shared before about editing.  One from The Write Life and the other is a list of essays regarding rewriting from LitReactor so you can decide on the topic that might work best for you.

Here’s to regaining some sanity!  Wishing you all the best!

The Liebster Award – It’s so nice!

LiebsterAwardImage2So yesterday I posted that a fellow blogger had given me The Liebster Award.  An award passed from blogger to blogger in an effort to build a community and expose others to new bloggers (those with under 200 followers).  This is a great idea, and I was thrilled that someone found my ramblings worthy (because there are millions upon millions of blogs on WordPress alone).  As a writer, sitting alone, day after day, struggling to make things happen, a little boost to the ol’ confidence is really, very nice.  So thank you, Michelle!  You are adorable and I wish you success in all your endeavors!  Check out her blog and send her a little love at aspecialkindofunique.

This also forced me to find blogs to follow, something I’d really been meaning to do…it was on the list.  So, with the award there are some rules and a little Q & A to get to know one another —

Liebster Rules:

1. Each nominee must link back to the person that nominated them.

2. Answer the ten questions given to you by the nominator.

3. Nominate 10 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the nominees know you have nominated them by going to their website and notifying them.

A little about me:

1. What’s your favourite book or series? (As an avid reader, I’m always curious!)

This is a tough one to answer.  I have the same trouble with declaring one favorite movie.  I guess I might be like those parents who adamantly profess they don’t have a favorite child, when secretly they really do prefer one over the other.  I mean I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but, if I had to choose…Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Discovering this novel changed quite a lot for me.

2. A quote that inspires you?

I have many of these, tacked on my wall (and Pinterest and Facebook) as constant reminders, but the one that motivated me to follow my dreams is “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”.  People who aren’t creatively inclined seem to always want to squash what they consider “pipe dreams”, and without art, in any form, the world would be a dull and depressing place.  If I had to continue to go to some boring office job or what-have-you, as so many think I should, I’d probably have off’d myself by now.

3. What’s one of your favourite hobbies? (Besides writing, if you consider that to be a hobby.)

I do not.  I used to have a piano growing up, and I loved to play.  I miss it.  When I have the space and the money, I’d love to buy another.

4. Favourite food dish?

I’ve been a vegetarian for over six years now, so my eating habits have changed, but I have always loved pizza.  It doesn’t matter that I had some three days ago, or yesterday, I could go for it again.

5. If you could be any mythical creature what would you be?

A mermaid, without a doubt.  I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, I scuba dive, and growing up I had ridiculously long hair, loved the movie Splash, and would often pretend to be a mermaid.  Ooh, unless I could wield magic…

6. What kind of music are you interested in and favourite bands in those genres?

I listen to a lot of classical, soundtrack (movies, even video games), and I suppose what would be considered New Age when I write.  Enya, by far, is my favorite artist, ever.  Favorite bands are Depeche Mode, Garbage, Muse, and Within Temptation, to name a few.  I’m always on the look out for new music which is why I’m a big fan of YouTube.

7. If you could visit any place in the world where would you go and why?

Oh goodness, where to start…I love to travel.  I’ve even backpacked around Europe, but I’ve never seen the Pyramids of Giza.  I did a report on them and had to build a model when I was in school, I was maybe 12, and I’ve been fascinated with them ever since.  I have a friend who currently lives in Egypt, so if I could afford the trip, I could knock that off the bucket list.

8. What kind of quirks do you have?

Oh, what creative doesn’t have their quirks?!  I’d say I’m borderline OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).  I like things to be in their place, I hate that I don’t have enough room in my tiny apartment for everything to be put away properly, but I’m not so bad that I need all my canned labels facing out, although they usually do (because how else would you know what it was?).  I’m also a procrastinator.  I know it.  I admit it freely, because at this point in my life, I really can’t change who I am, and there’s something about the pressure of a time-sensitive deadline that really gets the blood flowing.

9. How would you describe yourself personality wise?

I suppose I’m sort of a contradiction.  When I have to go out socially, if I don’t really know anyone, I’m quiet, reserved.  But, I used to be a server/bartender where I had to be social with strangers.  Even though I’m an artist, which usually lends itself to less seriousness and responsibility, I’m sometimes too rational, too cautious, having loads of responsibility tossed on me at an early age.

10. Do you have a religion or belief system you follow; if so, what is it and why? 

Ooh, this is one of those taboo type questions.  Nice.  I was raised as a non-denominational Christian, which means you follow the Bible’s teachings and believe in Jesus, but after a few “experiences” with supposed Christians, I was turned off to the whole idea of organized religion.  I don’t accept the Bible as law, because it was written, and altered, by men to serve their own purposes.  I don’t think the world is well off, but believing there is no God, no higher purpose, is depressing and bleak.

And here are my nominees (which I promise to finish another day as this was very time consuming):

 1. The Art Blot
 4. Tetoaws
My Questions:
 1. As a writer, I should ask, “What is your favorite book?” but I will expand that to include whatever your most treasured reading is (poetry, graphic novels, short story, what-have-you).
 2. What is your favorite movie?  (Yes, you may only choose one.)
 3. Coffee or tea?
 4. Are you a gamer?  If so, what’s your favorite game or series.
 5. What sound brings you the most pleasure?
 6. If you had the opportunity to go anywhere today, where would it be?
 7. If you could live in another era, which would it be?  And where?
 8. Do you have any pet peeves concerning the current state of the “modern age”?
 9. Do you have any kids or furkids?
10. And for a little fluff…do you have a celebrity crush?  Or is there an actor you could watch for an hour and a half just doing some mundane task?  Like sitting in a corner?
And so the torch is passed.  Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to explore other amazing people and their blogs and for this honor!
xx, Rach

A Few Things…

A long weekend with my sister off from work led to very little progress on the writing front.  We did finally watch some movies on the ever-growing Netflix queue, so a little progress made on the personal to do list, as well as getting the living space more organized.  Yay.  And I’m finally making some headway in the novel, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  It takes a little effort, because his writing style is very particular, but a definite read for any writer.  Quick overview – it’s about the future and how books are banned.  One of my goals (not to be completed in a year) is to read all the “best” books.  I grew up in a state that ranks at the bottom of education, so I’ve taken it upon myself to read those things I should have years ago.  I alternate a must-read with a pleasure-read, but have been doing rather poorly the last year or so, so, it’s on the list!  Here’s a link to the 100 Best Novels, if you’re up for the challenge.  I was recently asked why I’m doing this, and my response, “I’m a writer.  I should be educated in those that are considered great in my field”.

I wanted to do more with my dot.com (I love saying that), so I’ve started to add “Excerpts” of my work for a little insight into the types of stories I’ve written (all part of the “branding” I’m trying to achieve), a “Calendar of Events” for contests and writing opportunities (there are links for you to explore), and a Pinterest link to see the types of things that inspire me; people, places, castles, clothes, art, etc.  Take a gander if you want to waste a little time –

Hiddles(rugged)

(in adding that link, I still had Tom Hiddleston on the page, so that was a nice, welcome sight…So this is for my fellow Hiddles’ swooners!  Yes, those are both words.  Or will be.)  All of these are a work in progress.  And I’d love if you’d share any writing items (contests, meetings, conventions, classes, etc) of note as well.  I’ll put them up on the calendar.

Today’s post is a little random, as I am, at the moment…LitReactor shared The 10 Weirdest and Most Wonderful Libraries in the World.  I think I could be happy working in a library.  I’ve always wanted to open a little coffee/tea shop and have loads of books that people could take, swap, share.  That’ll be later.

And then not to forget about the writer’s struggle, The Write Life shared the Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing.  This would be a monetary investment, but sometimes, it’s necessary.  I have a couple of those to make in order to move forward.  This would be one of those catch-22 scenarios where you need a little money to make a little money.

So it’s Thursday and this is my first post of the week.  Shameful.  I hope you’re all doing better than I!

Continued success!

Websites for Writers

This list will probably take some time to go through, but I wanted to share it.  The Write Life Presents: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014.  I’ll slowly make my way and if anything stands out, I’ll be sure to make special note of it.  And please do the same.

Here’s to a productive week!  Best of luck!

New Look & An Interesting Article

I’m going to try this new look out for the next week and see how it “feels”.  I’d love some feedback or ways to improve.  What do you all think?  Yay or nay?  I’m not sure yet…

So the article I read, “What to write about when you don’t know what to write about” from ItStartsWith might be helpful for when you’re staring at that blinking cursor upon a stark white, blank screen.  If you need some inspiration to just start writing, anything, this article may help get those ideas flowing.  Sometimes I feel if I’m not working on one of my scripts than I’m wasting time, but writing anything is always good.  It keeps the mind sharp, continuously active and thinking, and ideas come from the most unexpected places.

I’m not going to go on and on today, like I sometimes do, because I’ve been playing around with themes all afternoon, it’s now 11:45 pm, and I haven’t written a word (except for what you see here).

Best of luck everyone and have a great week!

Sticking With It

Okay.  Scratch two items off my new to do list — I am officially a dot.com (yay!) and I joined a handful of writer’s groups (Meetup.com).  I’ll be attending my first one next week.  I’m also working on an application to volunteer (VolunteerMatch.org — if you’re interested in finding an opportunity to volunteer as well) to teenage girls in an effort to help them find their writer’s voice.  I feel like I’m going from 0 to 60 in no time flat, but I’ve always worked much better when I have more to do.  And as the last year has shown, I’ve had way too much time on my hands with little result, so it feels good to start making plans.  What I’m hoping to gain from all this is some accountability — some pressure to produce and succeed.

I’ve set a few deadlines for finishing some writing projects in the hopes that with the spring (that time of year when agents get bombarded) I’ll have a handful of pieces ready.  In addition, I’m working on some personal goals, looking to update my blog, among the many other items on that Professional To Do List I’ve grown so fond of.  *Whew.

So here’s to sticking with it!  I hope you all are achieving some of your goals as well.  Let’s keep at it!

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -Michelangelo

Best of luck!