Writing Tip Tuesday #5

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Brian Koppelman is a screenwriter, showrunner, and producer. A few years ago, Screencraft collected a series of his tweets and compiled them into a list of 101 screenwriting lessons. I reread them a couple of weeks ago, and while there are obviously a number of useful tips, there was one that stuck out to me in particular.

95. Sometime in the first week of a new creative project, write down all the reasons you’re excited about it. Refer back to it during the long slog through the middle.

For writers, after months (or years) of working on a project, we may find ourselves out of touch with the “why” in the why we chose to write this story. Maybe we’ve lost the inspiration. Maybe we’ve lost a little of the love.

Sometimes, it really is a slog.

Our path is a lonely one, and we often only have ourselves to rely upon. None of us wants to be that person who claims to be a writer. We are writers. And sometimes we need little reminders, sticky notes, or what-have-you to keep the momentum flowing. We need to make it easier on ourselves – it may be a lonely path, but it’s also not an easy one – so do what you can.

I make a lot of notes when I have a new idea. I try to sit with it for a little while and write down all the initial thoughts that come to me, but I like this tip of creating a list of reasons why I’m excited about it as well.

As a screenwriter, I rely heavily on imagery. It’s one of the reasons I started the Writing Prompts, but also why I have oh so many Pinterest boards (with more to come with the new story ideas in development). I have found that having a visual representation of the inspiration behind a piece to be beneficial, often.

Waterhouse’s Psyche Entering Cupid’s Garden – Touchstone for Fate(s)

I choose color coordinated binders for each screenplay; the color is usually representative in some manner. I like the ones that have a sleeve cover, so I can put an image that correlates to the script at the front. You may have come across some of them in my Scribbles. I call them “touchstones”. I generally settle upon an image fairly quickly when starting a new script. As you’ve seen with the writing prompts, I go with my gut.

Whatever tethers you to your current WIP, put it in your eye line. Let it be present as you make your way forward. If you don’t have one, I would recommend finding one. Obviously, don’t get stuck in a Pin hole, like I have done on so many occasions, but spend a little time seeking something out that will aid you. Create a list of the reasons why this project excited you, so when the barely-wrote-a-word days come, you have a reference, and then maybe they don’t seem so bleak.

Have any writing tips to share with the community? Let’s help each other out!

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 of the Week

Almost 7 years ago to the day, I shared this quote. This knowledge, to some degree, makes me sad.

7 years?!

A new goal?! A new dream?!

While I absolutely agree with this quote, I am reminded that I still haven’t reached said goal from 7 years ago.

Now, while I haven’t done everything in my power to achieve my dream of becoming a professional writer, the passage of time is a harsh reminder that I have wasted a lot of it. Call back to a previous post. The time does, honestly, fly, and it flies with even greater speed the older you get. I have been spouting words of positivity and chasing your dreams all this time and simultaneously been dragging my feet.

I finally took the next step I’ve been talking about to work with a screenwriting coach. Before I speak with her directly, she has asked me to fill out a questionnaire that will save time in the “getting to know you” phase. There are some questions that are making me come to terms with my journey as a writer.

I am a procrastinator.

This is not newsworthy. I’m well aware of this problem, and even though sometimes I think I’m doing better…BAM! I discover I’m not. Hi. 7 years.

I have fear.

I’ve discussed this a time or two. Fear of the unknown. Fear of success. Fear of actually getting the thing I want because then what do I do? That’s a bad joke. But the nervous energy of the potential/wish fulfilling change is real. So many of us are comfortable with the known mundane.

I need accountability.

Because I’ve had to rely on a day job in the interim, often times that schedule takes precedence over all else. Bills have to be paid. This is a sad part of reality for all creatives before they can work full time at their passion. Beyond the job we have families and a slew of responsibilities that usually push our creative outlets to the back burner. The unsatisfying nature of some of our day jobs leave us tired and emotionally drained. Also, there’s no one to answer to at this stage.

The only one I’m letting down at this point is me.

At a day job, there’s accountability. There’s a hierarchy. A dependency. It’s what I want from my writing, to be responsible for only that.

So why this quote, you may be wondering? Given the above. Because as I now officially take the step towards accountability with a career coach, swallowing my fear and putting procrastination in the corner, I have to remind myself that age is just a number and taking this goal seriously, finally, is worth the effort.

With age comes a shift in perspective, obviously not everyone benefits from experience (i.e. the current state of things), but I know my sense of humor has changed. I find all sorts of random things fascinating thanks to exposure, and all that has affected my writing. Sometimes I think, I’ve had to wait until now to become this writer because I wasn’t ready before.

The story I’m running with started out as a fluffy romance piece, and now it has depth. Without some life experience under my belt, it never would have become what it is today. I have to remind myself of some of the quotes I’ve shared over the years, one of them being:

Trust the timing of your life.

So, no matter your age, no matter the goal, attempt the thing and who knows…maybe you’ll surprise yourself.

Best of luck! xx, Rach

Writing Prompt #146

This week’s writing prompt is completely different from the one I shared last week. You might even wonder as to my thought process in that decision. I just go with what speaks to me in the moment.

The thing is, I’m working on finishing the first draft of a screenplay that shares similarities with the image above. I have the final polish on Fate(s) and then it’s going out into the world, so I think I may have wanted to save this image until I could focus my attention on that story again.

Are you feeling inspired? Need a break from your routine with a little free write or flash fiction?

I look forward to reading your creations! 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!

Writing Prompt #145

For this week’s writing prompt I was torn between two images. I went with the first one, perhaps the other will be next week’s…

As some of you may know, I love lost worlds, history, and fairytales, and this image seems to combine a little bit of each.

I’m still a few edits from taking part in the writing prompt challenges myself, but would be delighted to read your creations. If any of the prompts have inspired you, please be sure to share!

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!

Writing Prompt #144

Ah, you know me. Whatever grabs my attention becomes the week’s Writing Prompt. This week I was intrigued by the idea of hands, and all they are capable of.

Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.com

Hands can bring comfort and pleasure. They reach out in desperation or to protect. They can inflict harm and reveal menace. We can convey a number of wordless meanings with them, or use them to emphasize that which is being said. We use them for everything.

So are you up for using them as part of this week’s Writing Prompt Challenge? I hope this offers you a little inspiration for a free write, a bit of flash fiction, or maybe an opportunity to add to your own work.

As always, don’t forget to share your creations!

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.