Quote of the Week

I’ve been quiet again.

The thing I didn’t want to happen because I have goals to achieve. The thing I refused to allow even a whiff of to pass me by happened anyway.

It stopped me in my tracks.

The nothing. The barren landscape. The void.

I haven’t had the compulsion, let alone the passion, to write a word. For weeks.

Why? No idea. It all just came to a screeching halt.

I was talking to friends at work, musing over the lack of creating, when they said something quite similar to the quote I’m sharing this week. They reminded me of what I had accomplished this year, and that was only what I had told them about, so you can imagine my surprise at finding a quote that so adeptly surmised exactly that situation; something I needed to hear and wanted to share with you.

I have to remember all the quotes I’ve shared, the words of positivity, and not be so hard on myself. It’s only been a short time of inactivity, and I am fully aware of it. *Not like in the past, when months would fly by unnoticed. Not all days are going to be great strides towards our goal days, so we have to remember to be kind to ourselves and take note of the small steps too.

It’s the season of being thankful, so let’s be thankful for any and all progress we’ve made this year.

And anyway, just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking of things – plot points, new ideas, story rewrites, and new characters. The mind has been active…it just hasn’t reached my fingertips, yet.

As 2022 draws ever nearer to its inevitable end, celebrate the milestones you achieved this year. Each new day offers us a new opportunity to continue to work towards those goals, so if you’ve found yourself in a similar position to mine, take a deep breath, and try again.

Happy Writing! xx

*Side note: before posting this, I scrolled through my previous posts and it turns out, about two months have flown by. At least. Well, sh*t.

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Writing Tip Tuesday #6

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’m not sure how I first came across this idea of SMART Goals, and if you’d like to learn more beyond my summary, a search will provide you with lots of information. SMART is an acronym for a system to help you achieve better results. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.

I am all about the goal setting. Those of you who have been with me for a while now know this. If there’s a better way to go about achieving them…I’m all for it! And I thought you might be too.

It’s one thing to write down your goals – an elusive idea of possibility – and to have an external deadline, it’s usually what I need, to feel some pressure, it’s another to create a plan of attack, one that will help you visualize the path to success. To get down to the nitty gritty of goal setting, we have to be honest with ourselves and what it is we truly want.

Whether it’s a writing goal or another creative endeavor, choosing the goal we wish to pursue generally has a number of precursors, and a lot of forethought.

So here are the steps:

Specific: What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important to you? Be, as the word suggests, specific in the goal you wish to achieve.

Measurable: How will you know when it’s accomplished? What is the finish line to achieving this goal?

Achievable: Is attaining the goal realistic? Is it reachable? This is about being grounded in what is possible. Of course, I would never deny anyone reaching for the stars, we are dreamers, after all.

Relevant: Is this the right time to pursue this goal? Is it worthwhile? I’m not overly fond of the use of the word “worthwhile”. What I am fond of is the opportunity to achieve one’s goals. Dream big!

Time Bound: Set a target date. Find an external deadline. I like them. It offers a window of opportunity, something to work towards. I have often found that a hard line in the sand is a great way to feel the compulsion that only such a constraint can provide. A little fear. A little stress. They’re great motivators.

One of the notes I made, in addition to those above: Beware of goal setting that allows someone else to have power over it.

Good advice.

And then, like the image above, you can celebrate when you accomplish your goal. If you’ve used this method before, please share your thoughts. If you have any other goal setting tips, please share those as well.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Happy Writing!

Mid-Year Goal Check

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

It’s June.

It doesn’t really feel like it, as the sun has only been out a few times this year so far. By now, in Vegas I would already be complaining about the heat, longing for cooler days, and here I am on the flip side, wishing for a day above 65 degrees.

Apparently, according to long-time PNW residents, this never-ending gloom is unusual. Like, hasn’t happened in 72 years. Didn’t they something similar last summer during the heat wave? Either way, I’m so happy we could be here to experience it. ((insert eye roll))

The lack of noticeable change in the seasons almost made me forget where we are in the year. Halfway through. Time for a check in on those annual goals.

You may recall I mentioned making them more “manageable” at some point.

Yes, this coming from the woman who wanted to watch a movie a week, read two books a month, read three screenplays a month, all while working full-time, having two dogs, writing, managing an Etsy shop, a desire to cosplay, starting a business, and so much more, in addition to all the other normal life stuff.

Yeah, hi. No wonder every year I was disappointed with my progress. I was out of control.

I decided to cut back this year, and having made it to the half way point, I am able to reflect with better clarity and rationale and say with all honesty, more attainable goals are so much more beneficial to my overall well-being.

This is something I’ve had to remind myself of, a lot – goals are just things to aspire to, not necessarily achieve. It’s a way to stay accountable. They are not meant to act as a measuring stick in order to judge the merit of our character based on whether we actually accomplished everything on our list.

*By the way, that’s all me. I’m guessing at this point, all those quotes I’ve shared have done their job.

We all want to make progress. We want some way of measuring how far we’ve come. Hence the goals. But when they are wildly out of reach when you have other responsibilities, the lack of reaching them can really hit our feelings of self-worth. That is so not the point.

My favorite Goal graphic

Things are hard enough as it is. Why torture ourselves further?

I’m happy to report that I’ve made some of my goals. This is big for me. I’m usually eyeballing December 31st with skepticism. I know it’s judging me. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but having achieved some smaller and some larger goals, I feel a bit more confident moving forward.

And that’s all we need sometimes. A boost to our self-esteem.

Here are a few of the goals I’m happy with so far:

  1. My screenplay, Fate(s) is done. I will not touch it again without compensation. Pop the champagne! The troublesome child is ready to go out into the world!
  2. I completed the first draft of my fifth feature, Projection. Gotta say, I’m pretty satisfied. A rare state.
  3. I’m polishing up the next chapter in my fanfic series to get that off my mind. I’m sure more ideas will come knocking soon enough.
  4. I chose to only watch two movies a month instead of one a week. I’m currently sitting at 20/24. Not too shabby.
  5. I limited my book reading challenge, and not understanding how the library hold system works, it had been a while, ended up meeting that goal early on: 17/15.

My other goals were to get a new job (check), create a new writing space (partial check), and meet with a screenwriting coach (check). This I will cover separately.

More manageable goals are really the way to go. A feeling of accomplishment can really help the whole state of being and help on the long journey of our creative path.

How are your goals shaping up this year? Let’s celebrate our accomplishments and cheer one another on!

Happy Writing!

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!

Quote Monday

I’ve probably shared this one before, actually, I can guarantee that I have, but this is one of those quotes that I need to read again from time to time.

I’m about ready to quit my current job*, and The Sis and I were talking about what else I’d like to do. We currently share one car, which has made some things difficult, such as, being home bound on our days off, which are opposite of each other so we can share the car, so we don’t see the sights, we don’t do anything together, days go by and we barely see each other…it’s not really a way to live. She suggested, perhaps, that we get another car, so I could take a job anywhere, and my response was, “I don’t want just another job. I want my job. To be a writer.”

And she was like, “Okay. Let’s make that happen.”

I think that the more often I voice this desire aloud, the better. It helps to keep the fire burning.

And yes, some of you may say, “Well, you’re already a writer.” And yes, you’d be correct. But I want it to be my work. It’s how I want to spend my day. I’m tired of scraping minutes together between everything else in the hopes I’ll get a line written.

At some point, we want to be able to focus on the things that matter, whatever they may be. We want to stop being twisted and turned to fit inside a box that has no bearing on our lives or in the grand scheme of things. I think we all want to have a sense of pride, and fulfillment of purpose.

That is my wish for all of us.

So stay strong! Keep working towards that dream! And let’s do our best to grin and bear it through the mundane until we are where we want to be.

Happy Writing!

*I have to take another meaningless job in the meantime, it’s just that I’d like to get out of the house for more than just a piddly paycheck, so I’m finding something I can walk to. And also, I’ve been in physical therapy for about a month as the nature of the job is causing injury, so there’s that.

Quote Monday

After the big revelation in my last post, I needed a couple of weeks to recuperate.

Anything I wanted to say in the aftermath was tinged with bitterness.

I couldn’t look at, let alone think about posting another positivity quote. It felt false. Still sort of does.

I needed space. And to get my head on straight.

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this quote before, but it feels like the right choice at the moment. There are a great many things out of our control, but on the flip side, there are so many things we do have control over, and making a choice, coming to a conclusion, one simple action can lead you on the path towards better things.

Taking my own advice, I’ve made some decisions on how I will pursue my goal of becoming a professional screenwriter.

And I’m going to put it out into the universe in an effort to manifest it, and keep myself accountable.

After a polish on the screenplay, I am going to employ the services of a screenwriting coach. I’m going to face the music, face any hard truths, and come out on the other side with a plan.

It’s the one decision I hope will lead me to where I want to be.

What’s a decision you’ve been wanting to make, but haven’t yet, but are ready to?

Here’s to taking chances! I wish you all the best!

Throwback Thursday #2: The Lies We (I) Tell Ourselves (Myself)

Writer.

It’s what I tell people I am.

Most of the time it’s true.

Even in times of writing drought, when I was embarrassed by the day job, I told people I was a writer, as if that would somehow make up for, what I considered, my professional shortcomings.

I’m not just a food server, I’m a struggling artist.

I’ll never forget the time I used an elaborate word in front of a guest and them being surprised that I knew such a word and used it properly in context. How insulting.

Saying I’m a writer is almost like a hall pass. It takes time to make it, so floundering is all just a part of the journey. Working towards that goal for a number of years is expected, but I discovered I was lying. Pretending.

Disney’s Pinocchio

Not intentionally, of course. And really only to myself.

It was a way for me to justify taking another dead end job because a “real” job would be all-consuming and take away from what I really wanted to do. It was a way to excuse the life I had found myself in. It was a way for my friends to think me brave for following my dreams after all these years.

I didn’t want it bad enough. I thought it would be easier. The story is not quite right…yet.

Those are simple lies I could tell myself, in hindsight, as to why “it” hasn’t happened yet, but they’re simply not true.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It seems I’ve only ever gotten in my own way.

Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s laziness.

Showing up for a dream is hard.

I was searching through old posts for today’s subject matter and came across so many instances of me saying I was going to “do things different this year”. I was going to try a new strategy. Set new goals. Make my mark.

It all led to this.

I’ve had this blog for 8 years now. I can count on one hand the number of times I did something different in attempt to propel my career forward. I write about staying positive, reaching for your dreams, slaying your goals and rewarding yourself for achieving them because I wanted to create a space in which I could inspire others, as well as track my progress.

Progress…ha!

Finding myself regurgitating the same words all these years later…well, let’s just say it was rather eye opening.

If my actions are any indication as to who I am, I am mostly not a writer. But it is who I want to be.

I have wasted years not writing, but I’ve never not said I wasn’t a writer. It’s a big lie I’ve told myself, and one I will not continue to perpetuate.

One of my goals for this year was to discover what aspect of my writing to work on. I thought it might be structure or pacing.

Goodness. What sort of Pandora’s box did I open?!

Apparently, my problem is follow through. I could write all day, every day, but without an actual endgame, there is nothing to propel me forward to making writing all day, every day a reality. A contest deadline isn’t enough. There has to be more. More action. More steps forward. More accountability. More solid, actual progress.

I’ve been on a mission for months now, after that lightbulb moment, and I am proud to report that I’ve finished one story, rewritten two screenplays, and am nearly halfway through writing a new one. But now it’s time to do something about it.

This post (may) hint at my self-loathing for my ability to so long not go after my dream, despite all the quotes to the contrary, but it is the kick in the pants I need to get myself off this merry-go-round. Why would you want to keep reading about my journey if I don’t have one?

I want to throw my fist in the air and say “That all changes today!”, but it physically can’t, there are steps that have to be taken, but I am taking a first step in that direction soon.

A story for another day.

What lies have you told yourself that are keeping you from achieving what you want? Let’s help one another move passed them!

xx, Rach

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some time ago, around the cusp of the new year, I thought I would write “thank you” messages to all those who have inspired me in some way – an author whose book affected me, an artist whose work moves me, a yoga instructor who is the reason I enjoy the practice. It became one of the yearly goals I set for myself because who wouldn’t appreciate a shout out in appreciation of their hard work? Sometime throughout the year, the thought that I should write them in November came to me because that is when people are “thankful”.

Then November came, and I thought, maybe like the 12 Days of Christmas, I could do the 12 Days of Thanksgiving.

Then that window also closed.

I struggle to find enough time to work on my screenplays at any length, so the grand plan of writing some 30 thank you notes became a rather daunting prospect. Shortening it to 12 seemed more manageable, and yet… This is in no way meant to diminish the importance of any of those I was considering. In fact, as I write this, I’m thinking, “I have 37 days until the end of the year to accomplish this task, and I do thrive under pressure.” ((insert eye roll here))

So let’s strike one off the list: I am thankful for all of You!

You keep me coming back to this space, to stay positive, and to continue striving towards my goals, which in turn I send back to you. It’s a wonderful symbiotic thing we have happening here. 😉 You support my geeky obsessions, you share words of encouragement, and are an amazing circle of creatives to be a part of, so…

Thank you!

For helping me be the best version of myself.

Happy Thanksgiving! xx, Rach

Another Year Already?!

About nine years ago, I had been out of work for a year, had applied for probably 75 jobs or more (I used to remember the exact number) to which I only received two responses, and found myself terribly depressed (and not writing).

Finally The Sis encouraged me to just focus on my writing and build up my career, she would take care of the rest. It was a hard pill to swallow, letting my much younger sister carry the burden of our expenses, but I was no closer to getting a job, and at least I could write.

I had been reading articles for years, knew what I needed to have in my portfolio, and so basically, I started from square one. I wanted to create a pseudonym, create a new identity for the writer side of me, and actually started creating social media handles and a blog under the name Caedan Marek. I liked the name (and spelling of) Aedan, but so did everyone else, and cadence is the flow of sounds, and I’m a writer, hence the combination and eventual conclusion to the first name.

After some time, I realized it didn’t work. At least not for me at that moment. I didn’t want to be in meetings or what-have-you and not hear my given name. My real name is Rachael. Hi! But I would keep the last name. It held special meaning to me and I had decided upon it pretty quickly. I took it from a character in Michael Crichton’s book, Timeline. When I read it, I sort of fell in love with him, Andre Marek. I identified with him. And then stole his name.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know how I’ve struggled from time to time with my writing here and for the career I desire. Life often gets in the way of the pursuit of a dream only we can see.

So it’s now been 8 years. 8 years?! ((sigh)) I’m not sure if I should be proud or you know, not.

Reflecting on all these years of blogging, my first full year, 2014 was my most productive and most interacted with year. 2015 and 2016 were also pretty good, but then I took a sharp decline in 2017. That’s when I started working at the country club, and I was generally exhausted all the time. 2018 was worse, and then got slightly better in 2019. All while still at the club. Ugh. That place was like an energy sucking vampire. We all know what 2020 was like, and I’m already doing better this year, so there’s that.

Pinterest is my biggest referrer. Ah, thanks Pinterest! You know I love you too! And the writing prompts are my most often viewed posts. I’m glad they’re making themselves useful.

There have been a lot of things I’ve learned and discovered since I started blogging, and I have to thank The Sis for her encouragement and support all these years. We all need someone in our corner, and it is because of her that I will succeed. I felt this shift in my mentality recently. I must be more dedicated to my career goal, as it would basically be an insult to her belief in me otherwise.

So, Happy Anniversary to A Writer’s Discrepant Memoirs & Other Tales! And a big ‘Thank You’ to all of you for your continued support! This has been a place of refuge, where I can geek out, and keep track of my progress, and hopefully, in the very near future, it will be a place I will share the highs and lows on the actual journey to reaching my big dream. Wish me luck! 😉

xx, Rach