Writer’s Slump

I’ve been quiet…for a while. Initially it was because I was focused on my work. My real work. I’m still disconnected from the day job since the incident back in February, so at least there’s that. It still takes up a lot of time and energy, just the same. But then a series of mental hits soon followed and I lost my mojo. I’m second guessing myself. I don’t write, even when I want to. I don’t know how to fix some of my story issues, I’m feeling depressed, and I’m just not writing.

I leave for the Austin Film Festival in the wee hours of the morning and I had this huge laid out plan for how I was going to be prepared for it. I was excited and ready to take on the challenge, and then, in the blink of an eye, the passion disappeared. No matter how many quotes about being positive and goal oriented, fearless and creative I read or post, nothing is cracking this current mood.

Yes, yes, I know that failure is a part of the process, but I feel like I’ve been struggling for a long time, when I know, in reality, with all the spurts of inactivity, it’s only been a few years that I’ve been actively pursuing a career. This year’s screenwriting competition season offered me nothing. With only one more competition awaiting announcement, I sort of feel like… I wasted a lot of money. I love the story I submitted, and it’s not to say that someone else won’t feel the same way I do about it in the future, but the lack of upward mobility was less than encouraging.

I don’t know why I want to rant about this. I’m guessing that sometimes we all feel like this, and maybe it would be helpful for other struggling writers to realize they’re not alone. We all hit walls along this creative path, but if it’s truly what we want to do, then I guess, after some moping, we’ll get off our asses and get back to it.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Because I only have tonight to shift this mentality and take advantage of this huge step I’m taking. And even though it may not sound like I’m excited, I am, deep down, and I’m sure everything will change once I board that plane and the realization hits of what it is I’m going to do.

I’m going to my first screenwriter’s conference!

I plan to discuss the conference day by day and hopefully impart some of the wisdom and helpful tips I learn. I’m hoping to get my mojo back, be inspired, and feel empowered, as well as make some writer friends who understand this journey.

So before that happens, what do you do when you hit a writer’s slump?

Quote Monday on a Tuesday

Although yesterday passed before I had an opportunity to post, it’s still early enough in the week to share some inspiration. ¬†In fact, today is my Saturday, so if you work odd shifts like I do, then it really doesn’t matter what day you choose to celebrate #MotivationMonday. ūüėČ

BeliefInSanta

We are our biggest critics, so it’s good to be reminded that we can also choose to be our biggest supporters. ¬†No matter what you’re passionate about, if you’re chasing your dream, then believe in yourself that you can and will make it happen. ¬†In the end, should we succeed or fail, it is up to us.

There’s another quote I’ve shared before that I feel is a good bookend for the above, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail.” ¬†Believe in yourself and find out!

Oh, February

Hiddles BdayEven though February is a slightly shorter month, it really did seem to fly by, and it had its moments.  From wanting to quit my job to celebrating my birthday, playing in the snow and buying a new computer, February was a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

Let’s start at the beginning.

I was officially written up at work for a few small things that could have easily been solved with a conversation. ¬†At my current employment, they only start paperwork when they want a paper trail on people they’re getting ready to fire. ¬†I took the hit hard because their accusations implied they thought I was capable of lying and stealing, among a couple of other not so flattering personality traits. ¬†And the source of it all, the one person I trusted. ¬†The person I share a very small office with.

Needless to say, it’s been a difficult few weeks in the aftermath, but it¬†was also an enlightening moment. ¬†Previously I wrote about having taken stock of my life near the end of last year and realized I had become too invested in a job that I didn’t truly care about. ¬†I wasn’t nearly focused enough on my writing and the career I actually want, so having it reiterated to me so effectively was enough of a boost to shift my attitude and focus.

The following week was my birthday. ¬†Dinner with friends and a numerical reminder that I’m not where I wanted to be by this particular moment in time.

SnowDayThen it snowed. ¬†Like a lot. ¬†So much so that the city issued a snow day, well, technically, a black ice warning. ¬†Now, for those of you who live in places where you have actual winters, you may mock us here in the desert, but the truth is, we don’t see snow very often and we are not at all equipped to deal with it. ¬†It was awesome though.

It was during this confinement that I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a new computer, something I had been deliberating for months. ¬†With the desire to move my writing career forward fueled by the past weeks’ infuriating nonsense, paying a pretty big penny for a new piece of equipment that’s meant to help me suddenly became the easiest decision.

Keeping up the momentum I entered two more screenwriting contests and started the whole “get my professional portfolio in order before the big screenwriting conference”. ¬†Yes, I am going to attend my first conference this fall during the Austin Film Festival.

I’ve found that when we get comfortable, things slide. ¬†I know I’ve had this conversation with myself a number of times in the past, getting my sh*t in order, but then my job gets in the way. ¬†In some way or another. ¬†It’s usually my major source of ire, and whether I ¬†have a job that sucks and spend too much time looking for another, or invest too much and lose focus on what really matters, I get comfortable.

The now tenuous work situation has me looking at things differently. ¬†Maybe my increased maturity ūüėČ is also helping to streamline my focus. ¬†I don’t want to regret not taking this chance. ¬†I don’t want to only ever say I’m a writer without anything to show for it. ¬†And while I’ve said this a time or two before, something’s different now.

Sometimes we have to let things goAfter shedding a number of tears because the higher ups insulted my character, I said¬†some words aloud on the drive home that were meant to give me perspective, and they did just that. ¬†And that’s when I felt it. ¬†The shift. ¬†I literally felt a detachment occur.

As clich√©d as it’s going to sound, life continues to put us into situations that we may not understand at the time, but are meant to help propel us in the right direction when we finally realize the pattern. ¬†This is my moment of discovery. ¬†It’s time to take advantage of it.

What Kind of Screenwriter Are You?

In my time of slack, I accumulated hundreds of emails that required at least a fleeting glance. ¬†In my time of focus, I think I’ve cut that number down to about 60 that will require a slightly longer look-see. ¬†Not too bad given the short amount of time dedicated in that direction. ¬†During this time, I came across a personality quiz for screenwriters from Stephanie Palmer’s Good in a Room site.

writingmemeI feel like I know who I am as a writer. ¬†I don’t outline much; I “generally” know where it’s going to go though, before I sit down.¬† I like happy endings, my characters are often sarcastic and they’re always do-gooders (the protagonists anyway), and because of my genre choice, I have some freedom to let my imagination run wild. ¬†I listen to my characters. ¬†I alternate between procrastination and binge. ¬†I like to write some things by hand (my fanfiction has almost entirely been written by¬†writermemehand, oddly enough), but the computer monitor allows me more space to “see” (hence, all my screenplays have been written via the modern age). ¬†Plus I type much faster than my hand can write to keep up with my¬†brain (which is why some of my fanfiction looks like chicken scrawl).

I realize that my style of writing will some times write me into corners, but often¬†ideamemetimes, I discover alternate paths and ideas that I never would have seen had I not allowed my story to just unfold. ¬†I have literally found myself astounded with what I’ve unearthed this way.

So I wasn’t surprised by my results upon taking the quiz – Gardener Heartwarmer. ¬†Even the name sounds right. ¬†Here are some of the highlights from the break down:

  • You are good at generating new ideas and following them courageously wherever they lead. You work best when they have the time and the confidence to allow their creativity to spring forth without judgement.
  • You combine new ideas in unusual ways and can make unexpected, quantum creative leaps. You also function well when ideas are in a murkier state ‚Äď and this is often the case when a screenwriting project is in earlier stages of development. ¬†You create strong, complex characters and stories which contain emotionally powerful moments ‚Äď the cinematic moments we remember forever.
  • Drama requires conflict, and this means putting characters in the worst possible moments of their lives. This can actually be difficult for you because you are experiencing the emotional journey of your characters so poignantly.

And then there were a few helpful tips.  This one, in particular, struck me:

Your creative work is going to take you to some deep, dark places. Make sure you’re writing at the right time of day (or night) so that you have the freedom and the strength to go where you need to go.

I used to like to write at night, when the world grew quiet. ¬†The Sis would be asleep with the furkids snuggled up beside her, my phone was silent, and there was less likely to be something to sidetrack me because The Sis was asleep and I didn’t want to disturb her. ¬†I’ve been trying to write during the day, and I find too many distractions. ¬†I need to get back to the old routine, where I can be more productive.

So, are you ready to learn how well you know yourself as a screenwriter?  Take the quick, six question quiz here.  Share your results below.

Quote Monday

Today’s quote is continuing in the theme of goal setting from my last post.

sacrifice

When I thought on this for just a few seconds, I didn’t care for the feeling, meaning I had already been sacrificing what it is I really want for myself. ¬†I need to hang this on my wall.

What are you willing to give up to achieve your goals?

That Time I Chose to Become Rachael C Marek

RCM4yrsIt was a little over four years ago when The Sis and I had a conversation.

We were living in Los Angeles, and I had been struggling for nearly a year to find a job.  No exaggeration, I sent out over 250 resumés and only received three responses in return.

I was miserable. ¬†And while writing should’ve given me some solace, I was too concerned about finding paying work, so every time I was on the computer, I felt guilty if I wasn’t doing that.

I barely wrote a word that year.  One of the main reasons for moving to LA Рfor me to become a professional writer Рand I was failing, spectacularly.

It was then The Sis and I had “the talk”.

She was making good money at her job, and she had already been supporting us, so instead of continuing on in such a futile manner, the definition of insanity, I should change tactics and do what I was meant to – write.

It took a little time to become accustomed to the idea that I was being given free reign to follow my dreams, but I realized that I probably wouldn’t have another opportunity like that again, and so Rachael C Marek was born.

I wanted to create a pseudonym, but I still wanted it to be me. ¬†My name really is Rachael (Hi!), and the C is the beginning of one of my middle names, but the Marek, well, that’s thanks to a character I identified with in a book. ¬†It seemed appropriate.

The above reminder popped up last week and it gave me reason to pause. ¬†Had it really been four years since that pivotal moment?! ¬†It made me wonder what I had accomplished in all that time. ¬†I have some writing to show for it. ¬†I still have big dreams. ¬†I still have stories to rewrite, even more to tell…and although I may still be some distance from fulfilling my goal of being a professional writer, I’m in a better place overall and I think that a big part of that started when The Sis encouraged me to become Rachael C Marek.

She deserves a BIG Thank You for years of support of every variety.

And then there’s all of you. ¬†You’ve been welcoming and encouraging, and although I’ve never met you, and maybe never will, we’ve been a part of each other’s journeys, the ups and the downs, and such a community is important to the lowly/lonely writer, so thanks.

xx, Rach

Quote Monday

So I happened upon my insights page and compared what I’ve done this year (so far) to the three years prior and the results are dismal. The first year I really took to blogging, I posted 164. ¬†The next year, which saw a great increase of interaction with the outside world, I posted only 112. ¬†Then last year, I posted 118. ¬†Can you imagine with my lulls of inactivity where I might be sitting this year?

21.

Yep.  21 posts (now 22) in seven months.  ((sigh))  Wow.

If those are the results of my blogging, I don’t even want to know what that might mean for my writing.

I set goals for myself at the beginning of the year (last year had proven productive, for the most part), and I wanted to keep that enthusiasm going. ¬†I’m now reevaluating those goals as I’m certain I’m going to fall short at the rate I’m crawling.

How did this happen?!

I may need to reevaluate a few other things as well.  I saw this quote and decided it may be the best way to get motivated again.

NotAPriority

What are your motivational/goal achieving tricks?

Quote of the Week

PassionIgnore the working out aspect of this quote (unless you’re also into that) and think on what the words mean. ¬†Where do you spend this kind of energy?

Is it on your writing (or other form of art)?

I know I don’t always put such passion into my work, as any artist knows, not all days encourage such intensity of emotion, but most days, we should have it.

As a “yet to be professional” screenwriter, I’m passionate about everything I write because they are the stories I want to tell. ¬†It’s my hope, in time, I will have the opportunity to feel this same intensity on a professional level. ¬†Because if we’re not passionate about our art, then why are we doing it?

It’s a thankless path for the most part, well, at least until we “make it”. ¬†It’s hard and it’s lonely and nobody cares about our struggles – their concern is for the final result, so we have to have passion.

I spoke with a fellow writer once who wanted to give up. ¬†They hadn’t had any success and just didn’t feel the drive to continue. ¬†My advice was to take a break and see if they missed it. ¬†Like a relationship, which is pretty much what it is, a little perspective via distance can help a great deal. ¬†Hopefully, a little time away will reignite the fire, but if not, they won’t waste any more precious time on something that doesn’t spark such emotion.

Because I believe that this is something we all want to find – something that drives us, something that we’re willing to give up sleep for, and let our minds wander off to…

So tell me. ¬†What are you passionate about write now? ūüėČ

Quote of the Week

I apologize that I haven’t really had anything to say or share. ¬†I’m still in escape-limbo mode.

Actually, I’m trying to figure out what to do with myself. ¬†As many of you know, The Sis and I move, a lot. ¬†I feel perpetually antsy. ¬†I long to find a place to settle down, somewhere¬†that feels like home, and so in the interim, I’m finding it hard to make a whole lot of progress in any direction.

There are things I want to do, but if we’re not going to be here much longer, I’m not sure how much to commit. ¬†I mean, why put in energy to something you might not finish? ¬†Right?

Huh.  The things that happen when you become an adult.

And a lot of this comes down to my financial situation. ¬†When you can barely make ends meet, it leaves a lot of feelings of resentment that you’ve somehow allowed yourself to get in this situation in the first place. ¬†It’s a vicious cycle.

So, while I mull over my current predicament, I need to find a boost to my mental well-being.Pic Jointer (11).png

I don’t like to vent here, but if you have any words of encouragement or wisdom, please send them my way!

Hoping you all have a wonderful week!