A Ramble

Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m going to ramble a bit.  I realized something last night while sitting in my writer’s group…There’s this thing that happens the longer you remain idle…you become even more idle.  It’s a perpetual cycle, and it’s hard to start up again when you’ve been motionless for so long.  Take me, for example.  Until I mentally (and subsequently, physically) decided to do more with my life and my career, I hadn’t realized how much I needed time away from my living space (and the living objects within it) to accomplish some things until I joined a few writer’s groups as part of my New Year’s resolution (one in particular – Writers Blok).  For two solid hours, once a week, I get “me time”.  I can focus without interruption, without constant noise, and me yelling at my dogs to stop play-fighting to just write.  To prove my point – since beginning to write this, I’ve been interrupted at least three times by my very sick sister to make her food or tea, I’ve had to intervene on my dogs’ crazy antics…I’ve lost count, and I’ve been sidetracked by other randomness a few more times.  Most writers like to sit somewhere and work, but as we’ve established previously, my laptop no longer works, so for quite a while now, I haven’t been able to leave my environment to work, at least not on anything new.  Unless I’d like to use the old standard of pen and paper, which unless I’m taking notes or making an outline, does not make for a conducive writing experience, not for me any way.  So, since joining this new group, I’ve been going through drafts of my scripts sent to my iPad in order to review them and make notes.  (Last night, I did learn from another writer about some writing apps that might be useful.)  Then I come home and write on the new stuff, inspired by the solitude and being surrounded by other writers eager to accomplish their goals…except for last night.

Everyone was so relieved I was home; my sister was finally able to go to sleep, after worrying where I was when the writer’s group ran an hour over (this is LA, after all), and the dogs needed dinner and my lap to finally find some peace, which of course meant I couldn’t sit at my computer, so I accomplished nothing (well, nothing further).  We have our routine and when that’s interrupted, everything goes south.  So what I realized is, regardless of my technology-challenged status, I need to get out of the house more.  Not only for my sanity and creativity, but for the randomness that occurs when you’re out and about.  Last night on my way to the group, I saw a man jogging wearing two different shoes.  Why?  A woman waiting for the cross walk, holding her yoga mat, was doing stretches.  Was that the most opportune moment?  A woman driving next to me, who could barely see over her steering wheel, nearly caused an accident because she was driving well under the speed limit and hit the brakes when there was no one in front of her.  Ma’am, please get off the road and save us all the rage.

So back to that light bulb moment…now that I’ve started to take part in some events, I have two more this week, I realized how much I’ve been missing out on.  All that time being idle did me no favors.  And to top it off, I’m a bit of a flake.  So when the day of some event arrives, I am easily swayed into not going.  Usually by my own volition.  But, when I decided to change my perspective, the easier it became to do things.  I still have that lingering thought, that little voice that whispers it would be easier to just stay home, not worry about parking, traffic, being on my own and not knowing anyone, and all the other little doubts that make it easy to chicken out/flake.

So why am I sharing this?  Because if I can do it, so can you.  As a writer, and a screenwriter at that, a lot is left up to us in order to achieve our goals.  I have to do a lot of leg work in order to get my work out in the world and seen.  So I can’t be idle.  I can’t stay home because it’s easy, I have to get out, meet people, network.  We must be like the characters we write – bold, daring, adventurous!  If you’re struggling, remember to write down the goals you’d like to accomplish and create a path on how to achieve them.  Don’t let fear, idleness, or doubt hinder you.  A friend told me today that she admired my fortitude.  It’s new for me, to be this determined, but the positive things that are happening because of this mental shift are just fuel to continue forward.

I’m sure I could ramble on, but everyone is finally asleep, so now I can work…I wish you all success as you journey toward your own goals!

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Networking Opportunity: Final Draft Meetup & Screening

FDlogoAs I’ve mentioned a time or two, especially for a screenwriter, networking is a necessity.  If you live in L.A., Final Draft offers monthly mixers, Final Draft Meetup & Screening, at The Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood.  This month it will be on November 11th with writer Wayne Powers and a viewing of his film, The Italian Job.  And it’s Free!

Previously I’ve been unable to attend, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to go this month.  If you decide to mingle, say hi!

Hope everyone’s having a productive week!

Network, Network, Network

As a (currently unemployed) writer, sometimes I go days without speaking to anyone other than my sister and my dogs.  A writer’s life is already fairly solitary and add a few other non-social qualities and you’ve got a creative hermit.  My sister and I moved to Los Angeles together without knowing anyone and I would still say our acquaintances are few and far between.  It’s been a bit of a struggle (I will write another post, or three, on moving and living here for those of you considering it) and meeting people has been difficult…and as an aspiring screenwriter, meeting people is key.  You have to get out, mingle, socialize, network.  So last night I attended an event at the Writers Guild.  It was specifically for animation writers, which I am not, but the guest speaker is a friend, so I went to support.  In the course of the evening I met a few people with shared interests and it felt good to be around others creatively inclined.

AboveLAWhen I used to vacation in LA, I couldn’t imagine living here.  The city is HUGE and I was always a little unsure about the move (because I was a big chicken), but I knew it was something I was going to have to do in order to make my career aspirations a reality because this is where the action is.  For those of you who do live here, there are so many opportunities to take advantage of; free screenings, free seminars, meet and greets, events, etc. through numerous organizations.  For those of you who do not, there are still plenty of avenues at your disposal; states have a film commission where information can be found in regards to film companies and productions shooting in the area which might lead to other opportunities (guest speakers), the website Meetup lists writers groups (genre specific groups available as well) and opportunities to mix and mingle, and some groups, like Women in Film (which is not only for women), have chapters worldwide.  You may also want to look into your university or community college for classes that offer a chance to meet other writers or offer other opportunities like monthly meetings.

My tip of the day (which I must also take to heart): Get out of the house.  Escape those four walls.  Meet people.  Network.  It’s not only good for your writing but your mental well being too.

Have a great weekend!