Writing Prompt #153

I enjoy the unexpectedness that comes from searching for an idea/image and being sideswiped by something else entirely.

I had something else in my head for this week’s writing prompt, but then I found this. The simplicity, the contrast…I like it.

Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com

So how are you feeling? Inspired?

I still have a few flash fiction pieces to complete to make the new goal I set for myself, and I’d be delighted if you’d join me in this week’s writing prompt challenge.

Happy Writing!

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Writing Tip Tuesday #8

I work with someone who wants to create their own video game. He wants to write the story, write the music, design the game, everything.

A worthy endeavor.

A grand endeavor.

We were talking world building, all the facets to consider, and I was reminded of this pin, a checklist, I had come across some time ago. It was the entertainment section that helped me introduce some of my characters in my pilot when I was stuck, and I thought I would share it.

Not all of these topics need to be addressed outright, but having an understanding of how your world operates will naturally make its way into your writing, and exploring these aspects may open up your world even further. You may develop more ideas, which is always a good thing, and will most likely make your world feel more authentic, richer, and layered.

I don’t know who created this list, but I appreciate the time they took to condense it all into one. It helped me, and I hope it helps you, and my new friend.

Have anything to add to the list? Please share below!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Note to self:

I had been doing so well, and then I got deterred somehow. I lost my motivation even as I found myself unusually satisfied with what I had been producing. I decided to take some time, recharge my batteries, but I have yet to find my center, my norm.

I’m not sure what happened.

Too often I have found myself in long lulls of not writing. I didn’t feel inspired. I let outside forces influence my productivity. And here I am, all these years later, still waiting, still hoping, falling back into old patterns.

Nope.

I refuse.

If I want to be a professional, I have to show up like one. I, currently, have the luxury of writing what I want, when I want, but that is not always going to be the case. I want to be a working screenwriter, and I have to remember, it’s about discipline.

It’s about routine. And you all know I’m all about routine.

When I sat and worked on the flash fiction pieces for the Writing Prompt Challenge, I felt like myself. It was freeing and satisfying, and it was a reminder that I have a purpose.

I have an external deadline, the move back to California, to get my writing in order. I have goals that still need to be met, and that won’t happen without discipline. I can’t will their completion into existence. I have to put in the work. No more flying by the seat of my pants.

I’ve talked about this before, the showing up, the holding yourself accountable, but also the being kind to yourself. Not all days will be multi-page days, but hopefully, most of them will offer progress, to some degree. Setting time aside to create is a step in the right direction. It’s the discipline to be in that space even if you don’t feel like it, because you know it all comes down to you.

We’re driven by the passion for our art, even when we don’t feel it, it’s always there, deep down (sometimes), so we need to entice it to come out and play just by being there.

So what tips and/or tricks do you have to keep up with the discipline? Share with the community! And Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Sometimes I need reminders. I need assurances. I need to take a deep breath and remember the good times.

This happens, on occasion, when I’m in a lull.

It’s easy to look at others’ success and compare, but that is not a wise course of action. There is no cause for jealousy in a field that is meant to inspire.

Whatever your creative pursuit, there is room enough in the world for all of it, and we should be cheering one another on for the accomplishment because we know what it took to get there.

Besides, taking the time to be bitter and resentful is just taking time away from being creative and making your own mark.

So (note to self) stop seething and focus on the task at hand (which is?), whatever that may be…

Happy Writing!

Writing Tip Tuesday #7

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Outlining.

It’s not my favorite thing.

I’ve read a number of tips from professional writers that speak highly of the technique and its mastery; some of them writing such detailed outlines that they nearly rival a first draft.

I tend to write a bare bones outline – each act and a variety of incidents I have in mind. I enjoy getting lost in a story and allowing my characters to tell me what’s going to happen next. This may not be to most prudent course of action, especially in a time-crunch sort of situation, but I’m not under those types of constraints and pressures to produce…yet.

On my last screenplay, I chose to try something new – a reverse outline. Well, that’s what I’m calling it.

I don’t know if this is something I learned about along the way (I mean, there are so many things in my head who knows where they’ve all come from at this point), but it made sense to me at the time, and I did find a few holes with this technique, so I thought I’d share.

After my first draft was done, I created an outline based on the written text. I made note of each event, each change of scene, any important detail, and any topic that might need to be addressed further. When I was done, I had an outline that revealed any shortcomings and from there I could fill in those blanks.

From this vantage point I was able to see if events were happening too close together, and if I should incorporate a new scene or two to spread out the action. I found ideas that may have been introduced but lacked follow thru. I discovered conversations between characters that were too long, long winded, or not detailed enough.

It made the rewrite a much smoother process.

Yes, I know. It probably would have made the first draft an easier process as well, but that’s not how I write. A rough draft outline so I know the major beats and where it’s supposed to go is how I work, right now.

Yes, yes, I know I should probably be practicing for the work ahead, but I like to be surprised by the journey.

So what do you think of this trick? How do you prepare to write a draft? Share your tips below!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Nearly a month ago, I started to feel it.

The whisper. The tickle at the back of my mind.

The dreaded creativity cursed fear –

Burnout.

At least that’s what I think it is.

As I neared the completion of the first rewrite on my latest screenplay, I could feel my desire to continue waning. I was enjoying the rewrite, didn’t really have an idea of what I was going to do next, despite the plan I had in place in order to be prepared for the move back to LA, and so here I am. I think I mentioned the “fear” in a post, so perhaps I manifested it. Well, if my mind is capable of that, perhaps it could make some other things happen instead.

Even before I felt a bit aimless…lethargic…bored. Still sort of do.

I haven’t been compelled to do much of anything – not yoga, not gaming, not movie watching – just the bare minimum to get by.

So I’ve taken a break in the hopes I can refocus and find my center.

I’m not 100%, but I can feel myself returning to my normal, slowly. I even had the stirrings of a new idea, so…

Being a writer isn’t for everyone. It is not easy, as some may think. It’s not for the faint of heart, or those without the passion to carry them through the rough patches. It may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s true. While I want to be encouraging to those who already are writers, because we all get it, I’m not sure how apt I am to encourage someone who may only be “interested” to pursue this path.

Okay, that’s not true. You all know I’ve had multiple encouraging conversations with hopeful writers.

It takes a lot of years to see results. We spend an inordinate amount of time alone, doubting ourselves, our skills, our story, and everything in between. We have to push through writer’s block, being told we should get “real jobs”, having to listen to everyone we meet tell us that they have a “great” story idea, as if we don’t have our own or that we need the help.

We’re told we have to “show up” every day. We have to write when we feel like it and even when we don’t. We’re told we’re not real writers unless we do it every day. We’re told we’re not real writers unless we read. We have to get up extra early to find quiet time, or stay up late for the same reason. There are days when we’re lucky to write a sentence, and others when we go blind staring at the screen because we can’t stop the flow.

There’s panic and dread when we submit our stories. There’s a a little panic when we see a new story hitting the shelves or the screens that resembles ours. There’s a perpetual state of waiting. Waiting for inspiration, waiting for a break, waiting for results…and beyond all that, there’s hope.

There’s hope that our story will resonate with someone. That it will help them in some way. That we’ll see our name on a bookshelf or a tv/movie screen. That people will talk about our characters. That they can’t wait to find out what happens next. That they’ll see subtext we weren’t aware of. Maybe they’ll create fan art or fan fiction. Maybe they’ll ship characters we didn’t imagine together.

It’s the hopes and dreams we have for our work that keep us going, but sometimes we need a break from the pressures we place upon ourselves. We heap quite a bit upon our shoulders, and elsewhere. We can’t half ass our creativity, not if we want it to matter, not only to them but also to us.

There are times to press on, to push through those blocks and walls, and there are others to set yourself to rights. Another thing we writers need to know – the difference between them.

What a wonderful life we lead.

So keep your chin up, and do what you can to move forward. Just do your best, even if that means taking a break. No other path is as persistent as ours. No other creative pursuit, or otherwise, is expected to give 365 days of commitment, so let’s remember to be kind to ourselves.

If you have any tips about staving off burnout or how to get past it, please do share!

Happy Writing! 😉

Writing Prompt #150

One hundred and fifty writing prompts.

Goodness. I feel as if I should celebrate.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I started sharing imagery aka writing prompts as a means of escaping my own writing, to break the routine, to try my hand at different styles, and to spark my imagination. I am embarrassed to admit I have only written 36 so far. Maybe a new goal can be to try to get to 50 by the end of the year?

I call what I write flash fiction. I try to keep them around 200 words with little forethought or editing, just a way to write without censoring myself. If this sounds intriguing, scroll through the images I’ve shared, and give it a try. And then celebrate that you created something new, and please share it.

I look forward to seeing what you create!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

I was going to try to count how many quotes I’ve shared now; take note of which topics of positivity and encouragement I’ve been peddling all these years.

There have been a lot.

I had to stop at some point because I was wasting time instead of writing.

I started the quote section of my blog because for a long time, when I came across a really good one, I would post it on my cork board above my desk. I needed inspiration, often because it wasn’t to be found elsewhere, and figured there were probably others like me, who just needed a word of encouragement to continue on their creative journey.

The quotes I choose are generally related to the way I, myself, am feeling at that particular moment. Maybe I chose one because of something I talked about with someone during the week, and sometimes, like this week’s quote, it is for a particular someone who I know needs to hear it.

The Sis has been struggling for a little while now. Her career path is unique, mentally taxing, and physically tough sometimes. It has both a number of pros and cons, but recently the negatives are starting to far outweigh the benefits. We had a conversation the other night, one in which I told her that I didn’t think she was happy, and that no job is worth that.

Day jobs take up a lot of our time. We sometimes spend more time with coworkers than our own families. So it should at least bring some measure of pleasure with it. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of changing jobs without some risk, there are a number of other factors why people stay, but if you are truly unhappy, it is something to reconsider.

I have been unhappy in most of my jobs. Why? Because none of them were what I actually wanted to do with my life. Now there’s a death bed regret. Luckily, I have someone who is supportive of my dream, and now it’s my chance to return that encouragement.

Hence a quote of the week that hopefully offers that inspiration.

I hope you have someone who supports your dreams; at least one person you want to make proud. The Sis is that for me, and after all these years, she deserves the reward that comes with that dedication. And now it’s her turn to find that dream for herself.

Need a cheerleader in your corner? You know where to find me! 😉

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!

Quote of the Week

I had thought to do an overall post of my meeting with screenwriting coach, Lee Jessup, but I’ve chosen, without realizing, to just pepper in the details of that conversation instead. At some point, I’ll have to gather them all together for my own recollection.

There was a takeaway about passion.

One of the things she mentioned, and one of the finer points of that meeting that I have held on to was her notice of the passion I had for both my story and storytelling.

I am absolutely passionate about the story I submitted to her for review, Fate(s). Those of you who have been with me for a while now know, it had been a troublesome child. Act 3 had been written so many times, I could create a series of “what ifs”. But I knew it was “the one”. Present tense. It is the one. Eventually.

It was shaped by things that had actually happened to me, so the fact that she could feel the passion, read it on the page, that meant a great deal. And that warmed the spark I’ve been carrying for a long time.

Writing is my passion. It’s the thing that has sustained me all these years. It stresses me out. It elates me. Like Gloria Steinem said, “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” I love it.

Which is probably why I should have treated it better all these years.

So write the story that excites you. I hope it lights your soul on fire! That translates, and others will feel it. And oh, what a joy that is to discover.

Happy Writing!