Quote Monday

Yes, it’s much later than I usually post.  Adult responsibilities were calling.  This week’s quote is in regards to a subject that has been floating around in my mind for some time – vacation.  The green monster of jealousy has been digging his fingers in as I watch friend after friend enjoy time away in amazing places, both in the States and abroad.

I haven’t had a vacation, a real vacation, in…honestly, that discrepant part of my memory can’t even recall.  It’s been at least 10 years.  Gracious.  Really?!  I did quite a bit of traveling in my 20s, but I can’t remember doing anything in my 30s.  Maybe a little jaunt to Disneyland when I was still in Arizona?  Does that even count?

((sigh))

For a girl who loves to travel, who loves history, and seeing the world…this is depressing.  Although this week’s quote is meant to be inspiring, and it does help, a little, I really need to get on an airplane!

Vacation

Anyone else been home-bound too long?  Let’s commiserate. 🙂

Goal Setting

After coming to the realization that I had accomplished very little last year, I decided to make some changes.  Any time you want to do anything, you have to be ready for the change.  You have to commit.  Going in all willy-nilly only leads to failure and subsequent disappointment.

DisciplineI wanted to be…better, in all aspects of my life.  So, I decided to mix things up and create for myself a new schedule that would lead me to the things I wanted.  I wanted to get fit, so I’ve made it a goal to work out every other day.  So far, I’ve been pretty good about it, and I do feel better.  I wanted to read more, since last year I didn’t read a single book, and I’m close to finishing no#5.  I wanted to write more, and I’m on a third rewrite of my tv pilot, I’ve written more fanfic, and I’ve taken on more Writing Prompt Challenges.

Additionally, I’m working on the show bible and making headway into the many writing books I’ve had on my shelf for years to determine which are truly useful.  The only “new thing” I wanted by now was a different job.  I’m still working on it.  Of course there are plenty of other things I’d like to do this year, but you know, one step at a time.

I’m not sure where I found this three step system, but I thought I would share it with you in the hopes that you can achieve your goals, writing or otherwise.

  1. Identify your big picture – brainstorm all the things you’d like to see yourself accomplishing and then streamline them into one overall phrase: “I want to…
  2. Outline the steps you need to take to accomplish the goal.
  3. Set benchmarks – create accountability and assess forward movement.  Set dates.

set and reach goal concept

Because of the job situation, which has lead to monetary issues, I am unable to enter any writing contests this year, which is disappointing.  Instead of looking at it as a negative, I’m trying to think of it as a gift – I have a year to get my writing “show” ready.

I printed out monthly calendars in order to set those benchmarks, dates when I want to have certain projects completed.  I’m working with only three months at a time, so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.  I’ve tacked the calendars to the wall next to my computer to use as motivation.  I’m a big advocate for visually identifying deadlines.  Just holding on to the idea of a deadline somehow makes it feel less relevant.  Seeing that April 15th (let’s just say) date circled, highlighted, marked in red, or what-have-you gives it more weight, makes it feel more real and impending, and sometimes we need that pressure to get things done.

WhereFocusGoesLife gets busy.  It’s easy to get sidetracked.  Sometimes it’s comforting to get lost in TV and gaming, I should know, but in order to reach our goals and follow our dreams, we have to be relentless in that pursuit.

Not every step toward our goal needs to be a big one, even the small ones get us a little closer each day!

As you know, I love a good quote, so here are a few to keep you motivated:

And remember, it only takes a couple of weeks to create a new habit. 😉

Wishing you all the very best!

Quote of the Week

I have mixed feelings about this week’s quote:

WorkHardinSilence

I like it, but it makes me think.  Creatives, in general, often create in solitude.  There are many opportunities for collaboration, but when we begin our artistic path, it’s usually just us and our work.

Social media allows creatives a number of avenues to boast of their accomplishments, no matter how great or small, and this, to me, seems a ploy to seek outside encouragement and gratification even if it’s not quite warranted.

This quote also makes me wonder how long we should “suffer in silence”?  The creative path benefits, I believe, from networking with others who understand; mentors who have come before and have knowledge and experience and the beginners who may see the ever-changing world differently.  We all benefit from both youth and experience.

I’ve been rewriting the space pilot, and because I love the work, I don’t find that it’s “hard”.  Obviously, some days are more difficult than others, but when you find something you love, the ‘hard’ in hard work, I don’t believe means the same thing anymore.

Maybe this quote is similar to the old adage, “let your work speak for itself”.

What do you think about this week’s quote?  I’d love to hear your ideas and interpretation.

Have a great week!

*I don’t think this piece could have been written any more disjointed.  It’s how my mind was bouncing between ideas, and that seems to have translated directly to the page…enjoy. 😉

Quote Monday

My birthday was sort of a bust this year so I’ve decided to indulge, wherever and whenever I can, until the end of the month.  Yes, this is a forewarning that my blog may be transformed into a steady stream of my favorite things for at least 7 more days.  😉

Exhibit A: this week’s quote.  I used it on my university graduation announcements, and it’s something I need to remind myself of, often.

GoConfidently

Have a wonderful week, my friends!

Quote of the Week

As writers, and creatives, in general, we tend to overthink every. little. thing.  We can create an entire novel or screenplay in our minds, so it’s no wonder that we are capable of making great leaps with just a tidbit of information.

We see the world differently, and that’s a good thing.  We also tend to be extremely hard on ourselves.  Nothing is ever good enough; not us, not our work.

This is simply not true.

Don't Believe

We, each, have a voice and we have chosen this difficult path because of the passion we have for storytelling.  Yes, everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone can write a compelling tale.  How many times have you said you’re a writer and been met with the “I have a story for you” response?  I’ve had people call me out of the blue to ask if I’d be up for writing their life story.

First of all, that’s not my genre.  If we were actually friends, you’d probably know that.  I’m good, by the way, mind overflowing with characters and backdrops, but thanks for thinking of me…?

How about you keep that story for your next cocktail party.

I believe being a writer is a calling.  If you can’t give it up, then keep at it!  This is why we have to do our best to remain positive.  It’s takes a great deal of self-confidence and optimism to follow such a dream, so when that little voice in the back of your mind starts to get a bit mouthy, remember this quote, and keep working until you silence it.

Happy Writing!

 

Quote Monday

After last week’s post, I sort of went on a mental holiday.  As a favor, a friend of mine let me borrow his XBox One.  For those of you who know of my love for the Dragon Age series, you can imagine my excitement at finally getting to play the DLCs.  More on that later.  When people let you borrow their things, regardless of their reassurances that you may keep said item(s) for an extended period of time, you don’t want to take advantage, and so I played Dragon Age like a crack-addled crazy person without a care in the world.  Translation: I played a lot, for days on end.

It’s easy to get lost in such an immersive world where your decisions seem to matter.  Whereas in life, you may be struggling and feeling insignificant, in my gamer life I was reunited with old friends, stopped an invasion, slayed two dragons, and even got married. 😉  Not a bad week.

In real life, I still haven’t had a single response to any of the applications I’ve submitted for a new job, I had a few rotten shifts which in turn caused me to have to borrow money to pay rent and buy food, and I mistakenly received a text from my boss, clearly meant for someone else, in which she insulted me.  Real life sucks sometimes.WhereFocusGoes

And that’s why we have to get up, brush ourselves off, and kick reality in the teeth!  This may be the pre-birthday doldrums talking, but I want my life to not be…this.  If I were in a princess movie, the handsome prince (who happens to look like Tom Hiddleston) would be riding up on his white steed to save me The Oddsright about now, but as we all know, life is hardly a fairy tale, and we have to make our own future.

Both of these quotes spoke to me this week because I have been focusing on the wrong things and worrying about the future of my career.  I was doing really well on the new schedule, focused and determined, but something threw me off course and now is the time to correct that.

If you’ve made big changes, I’d love to hear your story; how you did it, and if you found the result you were seeking.

Have a great week!

 

Quote Monday

We live in an age of immediate gratification.  The world is at our fingertips and we can have (almost) whatever we want thanks to Prime shipping.  In the words of Veruca Salt, “I want it now!”  And do you remember, we didn’t like her.  This makes waiting for positive feedback, a step forward, or any progress on a long term goal for creatives all the more painful.

We seek out a modicum of pleasure in the quick response to a post via any one of the social media time-sucks (those little thumbs-up and likes can really do a number on the ego, can’t they?!), and we can check our inbox a hundred times a day (because very little actually arrives in physical mailboxes any more), because we can’t seem to wait.  We want satisfaction, and we want it now.  It’s makes the “patience is a virtue” phrase all the more relevant.

The creative path is not the way for those who desire a “quick fix”.  Creatives need to find a balance in this fast paced world and remember that we need to put in the time and effort to reap the reward, and it starts with this:

Discipline

I want this as a poster on my wall.  In fact, I may do just that.  It’s easy to get sidetracked, and I know this from experience, but no more.

Stay strong, my friends!  Wishing you all the best with your goals!

Finding Your Writing Voice

TypewriterFontWriterI hate, that as screenwriters, we are often told that our first screenplay is rubbish.  No one ever says that about a first time novelist. (Although, obviously, there are exceptions to that rule in either case.)  It’s an infuriating statement.  I’ve been writing something since I was eight, of course, that was all rubbish and I had no idea what I was doing, but when I wrote my first screenplay in college, I was in love.  That’s when everything changed.

Now, the premise of that screenplay has sort of remained through subsequent drafts, but it has seen a major overhaul of story and characters a number of times.  So yes, that first screenplay was terrible in comparison, and I would never have considered sending it out, but I don’t believe that’s what “they’re” talking about.

Regardless of how many revisions a screenplay has seen, I think “they”, the elusive industry people, believe that a first screenplay is just a starting point.  They don’t believe we have found our voice, learned enough about structure and pacing, and all the other technical screenwriting terms we’re supposed to know because writing a screenplay is nothing like writing a novel*.

*I’m currently reading Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.  Gracious.  If a screenwriter wrote like that, we’d be blacklisted.  For those who have read it, you know what I mean, for those who haven’t, eek, it’s a tough read.

As a screenwriter, I have not focused on any other writing styles as part of my portfolio or tried my hand at being a freelancer.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  Whenever I tell someone I’m a screenwriter, the next words out of their mouth are almost always in regards to having anything published.  Nope.  I don’t write the kind of stuff that can easily be published, anywhere.  And then I feel like a failure.  Although, in all fairness, I’m not going to hone my screenwriting skills writing an article on cats, or what-have-you.

Reading Stephen King’s On Writing didn’t help morale either. (Now, I learned years ago not to compare myself to others, not in writing or in success, but, and this is a BIG “but”, he currently has 50 titles to his credit, in addition to so many other things while I’m sitting proudly behind my 4 1/2 full length features, which I round up to 5 to sound better and the immense TV show floating around in my head.  Ugh.)  He started writing when he was a kid too, influenced in a completely different way than I was.  Where he enjoyed the horror movies of the 50s, I was drawn to princess stories and the fantasy films of the 80s.  He was encouraged to create his own stories, but honestly, I don’t remember having that same sort of support.  Here’s that discrepant part of my memory.  I don’t remember really sharing anything I had written until my senior year in high school when I took a creative writing class.  That was the first time I had ever read my words aloud, and although the feedback was positive, I didn’t feel compelled to send my work out.  Again, I didn’t even know where to begin.

I continued to write in the privacy of my room, taking a variety of English classes, playwriting, and creative classes along the way, but nothing satisfied the way screenwriting did, and I wouldn’t find that for many years.  I remember I wrote this one-act play that my teacher loved.  She said I should have it put on by this theater group that performed at a coffee bar across from the university.  I never pursued it.

It was these early mistakes that I think stunted my growth as a writer.  Without proper encouragement, I was left flailing – never to develop my voice, never to see my work in print or on stage, never to pursue a career with any fervor.  Now here I am, all these years later, finally getting it together.

So, here’s the point.

If you truly want to be a writer, you have to work at it.  That’s how we develop our voice.  We have to read.  We have to write.  Everyday.  This has been reiterated by every writer throughout history.  And it is absolutely true.  I am not the same writer I was when I was 8, at least I hope not.  I’m not even the same writer I was in my 20s, and that is due to exposure.  When we are exposed to other voices and styles, we see what we like, what we don’t, what works, what doesn’t (at least for us), and that makes us better writers by adding to our toolbox.  Another lesson from On Writing.

It is through trial and error that we develop our writer’s voice.  We have to practice everyday.  Find new ways to explore our voice.  That’s why I started writing the flash fiction pieces, and the fan fiction, for that matter.  This blog has helped me tremendously as well.  I thought that if it wasn’t screenwriting, it didn’t matter.  How wrong I was.

Don’t make my mistakes.  Let my errors be a lesson or a cautionary tale.  Find avenues to get your work out there.  Attain feedback.  Find a writers group.  Find a beta reader.  You can be your own cheerleader, most of the time we have to be anyway, but find someone who will encourage you.  You may already have this person in your life, or maybe they’re a friend waiting to be made in a writers group.  They don’t have to be a writer, but only other writers understand the life.  It’s tough, it’s lonely, and often thankless, but we do it for the love.

We love to tell stories, and hopefully one day, others will love reading them.  As for that first screenplay, I’m still going to send it out.  I love it…now.  It doesn’t remotely resemble the first version all those years ago in Screenwriting 102, and that is in part because I have written and rewritten and written some more, not nearly as much as I should have by now, but I like my current voice and style, and that is reflected in it’s most recent rewrite.

Although in the real world, by which I mean Hollywood, I would not be allowed to keep rewriting my script 10+ years later.  Oh my gods, if someone doesn’t buy it soon, I’ll be known as the George Lucas of rewrites. 😉

If you ever need an encouraging word, you know where to find me.  Wishing you all the very best!

Quote of the Week

 

Time was not on my side yesterday.  I picked up an extra shift, and then came home exhausted.  I could not keep my eyes open.  I didn’t read, I didn’t write, I didn’t walk my dogs.  It’s those kind of days that make me think, “I just wasted what I was given”, and I have done enough of that already.

Moving forward, I’m trying to do things differently.  I’ve set myself up with new goals and a new schedule that were designed to help me accomplish more, and so far, I’ve been pretty good.  Yesterday was a random exception, or so I’m calling it.  I’ve finished reading my first book of the year (YAY!) and I’m about a third of the way through writing the sci-fi/space pilot script (another YAY!).

One of my other goals is to stop playing it safe.  I was driving around the other day thinking about my life and my writing and the predominate thought was, “I don’t want my work to never leave the hard drive”.  I want to leave my mark, and in order to do that I have to leave my writing comfort zone.  I have to take bigger risks in my storytelling.  That’s what will make it worth it.  That’s one of the reasons I tried my hand at that mature content in my Dragon Age fanfic.  Escape from the ordinary, I guess.  *Side note, Stephen King’s On Writing has been inspirational.  If you haven’t read it yet, put it on your list.  I highly recommend it.

And so I put forth the following quote:

“We all die.  The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Be brave, my friends!  Happy Writing!

Also, I was thinking of the passing of David Bowie quite a bit, and this quote feels quite apropos.  RIP.

Starting the New Year Right

2016I once read this quote-like thing that said something about: how you choose to spend the first day of the new year is a good measuring stick for the rest of the year.  Or something to that effect.

The first day of a new year is not a magical reset button, but it is a good jumping off point, especially now that so many other obligations are behind us.  And thinking about how that one day of activity might influence the remaining 364 days is kind of scary…although I did happen to start my pilot last night around 12:30 for good measure. 😉

A blank slate sits before us.

As you’ve learned, I don’t like resolutions, but there are a few things I would like to do this year, things that keep getting pushed to the sidelines, such as:

  1. I’d like to get my screenwriting portfolio in order…finally.  I want Hollywood to not know what hit ’em.  Which means getting my writing space in order again: buying a desk chair, plastering my wall with my goals, setting deadlines and keeping them, finding ways to get my writing out into the world, etc.
  2. I’d like to learn to sew in order to make my first cosplay outfit.  You guessed it, something Dragon Age related.  I have such a good idea, well, I think so.  I’d draw you a picture, except that was one of my plans for last year, to learn to draw, and of course it never happened.  Maybe this year.
  3. I’d like to travel somewhere new.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had an actual vacation.
  4. I’d like to read more.  I’ve been horrible about this recently, except in regards to fanfiction, which is just fun.  I have one of those lists of the books everyone should read, and well, there are a lot left.

There are of course the things like lose 10 lbs and clear out the junk in the garage and find a new job, blah blah blah, but those always seem to be in rotation.

So if you’d like to not jinx the rest of the year, do something today that you’ll thank yourself for later.  Kidding!

Happy New Year, my friends!  Dream Big and let’s make this year Fantastic!