Quote of the Week

One of the big goals I had for myself this year was to meet with screenwriting coach, Lee Jessup. I wanted to speak with someone who knows and works with writers, is part of the industry, and could offer me insight as to whether or not I was on the right path.

I received wonderful feedback with only one rather sizable problem that needs attention.

I need writer friends. In particular, screenwriter friends.

Gasp! I have to be social? Isn’t that one of the perks of being a writer? To be antisocial? With purpose? ((wink))

I haven’t been part of a writer’s group since I left LA over seven years ago. I enjoyed that group. There were a number of published or soon-to-be published authors, but no other screenwriters surprisingly, given our proximity to Hollywood, so while a supportive, friendly group, I still didn’t have anyone who understood my specific needs.

I’ve known for quite some time that I needed to make at least a few screenwriter friends, it was one of the reasons I attended the Austin Film Festival Writer’s Conference a few years ago. And I did, sort of. I met a number of screenwriters who I now interact with on social, but there were two women who I befriended that I have actual conversations with outside of that, but we live in different parts of the country, so it takes effort sometimes to keep in touch.

I asked one of them to give me some feedback on an early draft of my pilot, and she did not disappoint, but I can only ask that of someone so many times. Especially when we only talk a few times a year.

I need to branch out.

It’s something we all need. Support. Alone with our words for months on end, it’s no wonder why other people consider us “crazy”. Sometimes I can’t look at the thing I’ve been working on anymore because I can’t see the forest for the trees. We need another pair of eyes. We need someone, or a lot of someones, who understand our mindset, our struggles, our craft. We need people to hash out ideas with, people with a wide range of experience and knowledge of our field, and people who share our passion.

I think people in other vocations, non-creative pursuits, have an easier time finding others like them. When I worked in event management, it was easy to become friends with DJs, wedding planners, and photographers. We were in an industry where opportunity allowed for us to repeatedly interact, and that’s why so many writers, I think, congregate to areas where they’re most likely to run in circles with other like-minded individuals.

So we’re moving back to California next year. Yep. Lee helped me to understand that it was an integral part of my journey. It was inevitable. She assured me that I’m ready for the next step, but need to make connections, and the best way to do that is to be in a place where they’re more readily available.

So I’m putting out the call! I’d like to do something like that here, now. Do you have any tips on making (screen)writer friends? Are you part of a writer’s group you’d recommend or are you considering starting one? Please share below, and let’s start building that community!

Happy Writing!

Mid-Year Goal Check

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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!

Writing Prompt #147

I’ve had a week, so instead of sharing this week’s Writing Prompt on Wednesday, as is the norm, it is now Saturday, even later than I planned yesterday.

Photo by Csongor Kemu00e9ny on Pexels.com

I didn’t know what I was looking for in the way of imagery this week. I’m still celebrating the completion of a new script and thought to find something representative of it, and then I found this.

I was not a history fan when it was required in school, but have since become quite fascinated with different time periods and often include some aspect within my screenplays, so I found myself drawn to the photo above and the story potential.

Feeling inspired? Want to join me in a little free write or flash fiction? If you’re ever inspired by any of the prompts, please don’t forget to share! I look forward to seeing your creations!

Happy Writing!

Quote Monday

No matter how much we accomplish, it’s easier to find fault, to consider what more we could have done, and to reflect only on the negative.

Creatives, athletes…we’re never satisfied.

The Sis and I enjoy Formula One, and one of her favorite drivers, even when he won, would always say, “We could have done better.”

Relentless.

We’re hard on ourselves. We nitpick. We doubt.

When I had that conversation about a month ago now with the one screenwriting coach, I said, multiple times, that I had wasted time. A lot of it. She tried to placate that negativity by saying I had been living my life.

Uh huh.

Then last week, I went to coffee with a friend and told him how much I had written. His eyes literally went wide. It wasn’t like I had just been puffing myself up by saying I was a writer, I had the material, whether ready or not to be seen (see, hard on myself) to back it up. That impressed look, made me feel a little bit better.

I’m still no where near satisfied, but you know, it’s a process.

No matter where we are on our journey, it’s obviously easier to look back and measure our success, or lack there of, by that distance then to look forward and try to see the finish line because that is more elusive. We don’t know how many more steps we have to take before we can consider ourselves a “success”.

Besides, when is our kind ever satisfied?

It’s also easy to compare ourselves to others who are further along, and possibly younger ((gasp)). Or be annoyed that they found their way sooner.

When I was in film school, I learned how so many directors had used their families’ video camera to make shorts when they were like 10 years old.

Good for them.

Vera Wang didn’t become a designer until she was 40.

Way more relatable.

It’s hard work to silence the inner negativity demon. We work alone most of the time and without recognition or validation for years, sometimes. Don’t look back. Don’t be put off by the make believe distance you’ve manifested in your head. No matter if you’ve taken one step or a thousand, celebrate where you are now.

You’re so much further than you think.

You’re so much further than those who talk about it and yet have never taken the first step or those who quit along the way.

I finished a new screenplay in the month I’ve had off from work. Hence my silence here. I’m celebrating this achievement – a story that didn’t exist a month ago. What a deep feeling of satisfaction. When I wrote Fade Out, my heart flipped, and there was a moment of pride, and like I had given myself a high-five.

When I woke up the next day, there was that quiet nagging voice telling me to get back to work.

See. Relentless.

Do you have an accomplishment you’d like to share and celebrate? Let’s cheer one another on!

Happy Writing!

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.

Writing Prompt #143

It’s Writing Prompt Day!

This week I was drawn to the idea of ruins and history and this is the image I found that spoke to me.

Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on Pexels.com

Looking for a little inspiration? Want a break from your writing routine? Join this week’s Writing Prompt Challenge! Don’t forget to share your creations!

Happy Writing!

Escapism or Research

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

We all remember during lockdown and the US presidential election, how so many of us struggled, while others flourished. There was an outpouring of creativity and community and I was in awe of what could be done when given the chance. I was not one of those people. I was in the first group.

I was not creative. I barely wrote. I couldn’t watch anything “heavy”; there were a lot of bad movies viewed. I developed anxiety.

It was a strange time.

It was the year that will go down in infamy – 2020.

We couldn’t wait for it to go away. So many of us looked to 2021 as a magic reset button.

It was not.

I was determined to make 2022 different. With the new year and new goals, I decided to stop wasting my TV viewing time on things I’ve watched a dozen times over. I would watch those “must see” movies and shows in my genre. I would read the books I “should have” read. I would read more screenplays because you know, that’s what I want to do in life.

I had a new perspective and I wanted to make an impact.

Then, when things felt like they might be getting better, ever so slightly, a megalomaniac chose that moment to make things that much worse.

It’s easy to use TV, movies, and video games as a means of escapism in a world turned on its side. It’s easy to rationalize it all as research when you’re a creative.

It’s a little column A, a little column B.

So, despite the current situation, I thought I’d share the 3 shows I’ve watched so far that I’ve enjoyed if you’re in need of a little escape (or research 😉 ). They’re all available on Netflix.

  • Arcane – By far the best show I’ve watched in some time. The animation is beautiful, the characters are all intriguing, and the world is unique. Considering it took 6 years to make the first season, I’m guessing it will be a long wait for season 2, but it will be worth it.
  • The Witcher Season 2 – I am a big fan of the third installment in the video game series – I even wrote a review about it – so I was always going to watch the show. While season 1 was a little convoluted and hard to follow if you weren’t familiar with the material, they did a great job with the second season.
  • Shadow and Bone – This series kept being suggested to me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had not read the books, or even heard of them beforehand. I have since read the first novel. Don’t waste your time, just watch the show. It’s a magical land, actually, they don’t call it magic, and there are some fun characters, and it was better than I thought it would be.

I’ve started a few other shows and if anything else resonates, I’ll be sure to pass it along.

Do you have any shows or movies to recommend? What shouldn’t be missed?

Happy Watching!

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

Writing Prompt #141

It’s Writing Prompt Day!

I found myself drawn to the stark contrast of this image, a place that would be amazing to actually visit, so it became the prompt for this week’s challenge.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Pexels.com

Does this spark any story ideas for you? I look forward to reading your creations!

Happy Writing!