Writing Triangle

It was like I started every book by throwing myself at the keyboard and praying for a novel to shoot out of my fingers before the deadline.

It’s NaNoWriMo, and while many are participating, I’m 7 days late to the party, but still in it, nonetheless. I’m not writing a novel, but a screenplay. I found this gem of an article at The Pretentious Title Blog where a writer chronicles her struggles and successes. It’s definitely worth a read, and she does a great job breaking down how she went from 2k words a day to 10k. Her triangle metric is well thought out and worth considering for your own work.

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Darebee = Dare You to Be

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So there’s this website, called Darebee that has tons of free workouts. While not revolutionary on its own (even though the workouts have really interesting titles), what really makes this a Something Neat is that the site has different 30/60/90 day challenges, and you can check off a box each day you complete a workout.

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That’s amazing, right? AND all of their workouts are free. Free. No subscription, no cost to get the best, made-for-you, tried and true plan. Nope, just simple things you can do at home to give you somewhere to start if you aren’t sure where to begin. I love it.

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There Will Be Blood

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So today’s Film Friday features the 2007 film ‘There Will Be Blood.’ Whoa. Hold on to your cowboy hats for this film. The wikipedia synopsis runs as follows:

Silver miner Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) leads a hardscrabble life with his son, H.W. (Dillon Freasier). When he hears about oil oozing from the ground near the Western town of Little Boston, Daniel takes his son on a mission to find their fortune. Daniel makes his lucky strike and becomes a self-made tycoon but, as his fortune grows, he deviates into moral bankruptcy.

At it’s core, yes, it’s a story of the rise from rags to riches– and that has a real pull for me, as well as most Americans watching it. It’s that American dream that we’re all told to strive for, it’s that thing that will make us great and give us all the happiness in the world. But, with so many drama’s, not everyone gets that happy ending.

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I love this photo of Daniel Plainview and Walter White. Both men who started at the bottom, full of problems, who no one would have rooted for, but the brilliant writing and gorgeous filmmaking suddenly has you rooting for them. And even as they do terrible, awful things, part of you is still rooting for them. I will say, though, that Walter White at least you stay hoping he will make it out okay, Daniel Plainview you end up almost just watching the train wreck. You still have to admire the man, but boy, do you not want to sit down and share a beer.

Besides an incredible story, this film is also breathtaking to watch. As you can see from the above diagram, someone has broken down many of the scenes and shown how beautifully rendered they are. The composition is fantastic. At no point are your eyes not overjoyed with the beauty you’re seeing. It’s really masterfully shot. And the score! Phenomenal. I feel like the score is, in and of itself, almost a character. It helps drive the story forward and reminds you that you are watching a drama– this is not some random happenstance of events. You are watching LIFE unfold, and it is not always pretty. This is not a happily every after story your mother told you at bedtime, this is a Grimms’ brothers fairy tale to warn you of how not to be.

If you haven’t seen this movie, check it out.

Exercise… the Writing Muscles

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If you want to get fit, you exercise. You lift weights, you do cardio, you eat right, etc. But what do you do to hone your Craft? How do exercise your writing muscles, so to speak? I feel like there are four ways to improve:

1-Write

2-Writing Challenges

3-Read

4-School/Lessons

One: If you never write you’ll never improve. That’s just a simple fact. So writing this blog, writing for work, actually sitting down and puttering about with an outline, whatever it is, I just need to be writing. Without that, I’m not doing anything to actually, physically make progress.

Two: I bought a book a while back, 642 Things to Write About, and I’m not sure I’d ever cracked it open. Not really. So I’m going to start adding that in as a segment for this blog. I’ll just write in it, snap a photo, and Bob’s your uncle. Post done. Brain expanded. Challenge accepted.

Three: You have to read. If you aren’t reading, you aren’t learning from others. This may come in a variety of forms for me. I’m part of a tv writer’s group, Chicks with Scripts and I’m really enjoying it. We just increased the number of writers in our group, so every couple of weeks my reading may just be the reading for the group. But I also need to be reading the Trades like Variety and Deadline to stay abreast of current information. And I need to be reading books– how else will I research a new topic or discover something interesting?

Four: I don’t have all the answers. So right now I’m getting my screenwriting certificate at UCLA. The big writing class this quarter is Genre. So I’ll be learning about the different genres (hopefully more than just what they are, because that’s a check in the old box) and coming up with movie pitches for the different genres. So that’ll be an exciting one as well.

#16 Give Up Alcohol – DONE!

So, I did it. I gave up alcohol for a week. It actually wasn’t that hard once I made a firm commitment to do so, rather than a pie crust promise to myself to do so. I have a friend who doesn’t drink, and a month or so I ago I asked about it, and she said it was easy to not do something once you’d legitimately, firmly decided on it. It’s the New Years Even goals that never seem to work out for us, or never seem to quite happen– that’s when we’re just setting ourselves up for unrealistic expectations and then end up berating ourselves for a little lack of willpower.

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To be perfectly honest, it was also easy after realizing I might have the family hereditary blood disease of spherocytosis, aka, I have spherical shaped blood cells rather than circles. In my mom and aunt, this meant they eventually had to have their spleen removed– an action that makes you constantly tired and basically unable to workout or run marathons. That’s a terrifying prospect to me, so I actually made an appointment to get my blood checked out and haven’t had a drink since.

Part of the snazzy side effects of the disease means that alcohol affects me differently, and I believe can make it harder on the liver to cleanse the toxins, which means it can lead to liver failure. I work at a hospital, of all the things you don’t want, liver failure or liver disease should be at the top of the list. It’s the worst. So not drinking seems like an easy option until I get some blood work done and know for sure.

It’s also been really easy because my husband has decided not to drink as well. Talk about a killer support system. I think that’s been the biggest difference between going 7 days no sweat and the other times I’m attempted and failed– I had the person who’s opinion matters most to me 100% backing me up rather than saying ‘Just have a sip of this cocktail.’

Overall on my 30 in 330 goals, I’m not doing stellar. I’ve only accomplished about 10 out of 30; but I’m also looking at it as I’ve accomplished one major goal every month– and that’s kind of amazing if you think about it!

Twitter Tags

Twitter. We all have one, but are we making the most out of it? Do we really even understand it? I try and post a tweet every day, but I don’t always succeed and most of the time they get zero traction. I found Little Bit Social and was delighted to see they’d done a breakdown of the most common daily themes based on hashtags. I’m sharing a few of my business-related favorites for each week below, as well as my own interpretation of the hashtag.

#MondayMatters – Love this one because the idea of starting the week off with what matters is also just a good thought philosophy and great frame of mind for the week.

#MondayMusic  – What are you listening to? What pumps you up for the week? Maybe find a sweet new song with this hashtag.

#MondayMotivation  – What are you planning on getting done? What keeps you going? This hashtag has all varieties of subjects attached.

#MarketingMonday  – Do you have a business plan for the week? A tip to share? Want advice?

#ManCrushMonday – Find people we admire is important, letting others or that person know, even more so.

 

#TastyTuesday or #TemptingTuesday  – Food is love.

#TotalHonestyTuesday – This is one from The Financial Diet, an amazing site about finance, that I really love. We never talk about our slip-ups because we want our social media image to be perfect. What if we posted those stains and goofs?

#TryItTuesday – Never used this one, but I love it for it’s challenge factor.

#TuesdayTech – If you don’t want to be old, you need to stay abreast of technology. That’s just a fact.

#TravelTuesday – Great chance to live tweet your travel plans or just throwback to a recent trip.

 

#WorksForMeWednesday – Share what works for you, or look up what works for other people.

#WednesdayWisdom  – Basically the same. Everyone is feeling giving on Wednesday.

#WayBackWednesday – If you aren’t sharing insight, you’re apparently feeling nostalgic.

#WomanCrushWednesday – I REALLY support this one. We, as women, and especially in my field, need to do more to raise each other up.

#HumpDayHaiku – I’m a sucker for a good haiku.

 

#ThoughtfulThursday – It’s almost the weekend, time to reflect.

#ThankfulThursday – And be grateful. It’s never a bad time to say thank you.

#ThrowbackThursday – A classic.

#WhatDoYouThinkThursday – Great way to share your opinion on a topic that might not be timely, but that you think is worth mentioning.

#ThirstyThursday – Because there were a lot of meals between Tuesday and now.

 

#FridayLieDay – Two truths, one lie. Fun game to play!

#FeatureFriday or #FilmFriday  All the new movies are coming out, what are you talking about?

#FriendFriday  – Give a shout-out to a buddy. Post a sweet photo.

#FridayReads  – What’s next to your nightstand? (In my case, a pile of 10!)

#GoodNewsFriday  – Share some positivity out there! What went well this week?

 

#SaturdaySummary  – Wrap up your workweek. This one also feels just as good for thinking about on your own.

#Caturday  – Because kittens are love.

#SaturdaySwag – Like #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) but for merchandise.

#SaturdayShenanigans – Don’t be all work and no play.

#SocialSaturday – Everyone wants to share their weekend plans, but maybe use this to think about networking.

 

#SelfieSunday  – Take a moment to snap a pic and meditate on where you are today.

#SundayFunday  – Again, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

#LazySunday OR #SlothSunday – Don’t feel bad about taking it easy.

#SundaySongBook  – In case you need inspiration for #MusicMonday

#SundayQuotes – Share a favorite quote or find some inspiration.

 

Something Neat

So on the Scriptnotes podcast (which you should 100% be listening to if you’re a screenwriter) they do a little segment at the end of every episode entitled “One Cool Thing.” So every week, they’re finding something cool or neat or informative in their lives and sharing it with others. It’s like Show and Tell for grownups, and it got me thinking.

Why don’t we all try to find one new cool thing every week? Why not try to dig around in this world of ours or pay a little more attention to what’s happening around us? So I’m going to start adding in a Something Neat segment as an easy way to reliably post and just find more cool things out there for myself.

So, onto today’s Something Neat:

@commontreesofla just tickles me every time I see it in my Instagram feed. It’s quite new, and doesn’t have loads of followers yet, but I love it. The creator, Stephanie (who I do not know) just wanders around the city of LA and photographs and labels the trees. So you get an explanation of the tree, how to identify it, and a neat little factoid about it. I’m basically in love with it.

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Monday Motivation= Less Procrastination

It’s Monday. That means another week full of promise, and another Monday where I feel like I’m constantly behind and should be better. (Completely forgetting to set my alarm and starting the day in a panic will also do that.) But, with coffee in hand, I set about getting to work.

…only to scour the internet and not work. So coming across this article from Harvard Business Review was a great little reminder about motivation, habits, and how to start a Monday off right.

How to Beat Procrastination

Enjoy.

Wednesday Writing

Are you writing today?

No, because you’re reading this blog. 😉 Trick questions there. But since you’re reading, go check out this article: 12 Fundamentals of Writing the ‘Other’

I stumbled upon it by accident, but it’s really well written and covers some really good points about writing from a perspective that is not our own. (And just ignore the fact that it comes from Buzzfeed until you get into it. I was skeptical at first too.)

I don’t know if it just hit me because there was another murder of an unarmed black man yesterday, or if I’m just whirling around in that head space, but I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be an ally. As a heterosexual white female, how can I be an ally to my homosexual friends? How can I show my support, that I can more than hashtag #BlackLivesMatter ?

For me, this article just reminded me that one of the best ways is to keep writing diversity into my work. To not default to white, but to purposefully add colors to my worlds. We don’t live in a Leave It to Beaver world, we live in a world with color. And I’d rather see that in my writing.

Rejuvenate My Soul

I hiked up Mt Baldy!

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It was part of 3 peak challenge my amazing friends and I are doing. (I’m the one in the bear head wrap). So far we’ve done the ‘easy’ peak. Mt Baldy, or San Antonio, has an elevation of 10,064 and is 10.2 miles, round trip. My fitbit clocked me at around 15 miles, but who knows. I’m shorter so I take smaller steps. img_5954

It was absolutely breathtaking. It’s been almost a week since we hiked up, and I’m feeling major withdraws. I just want to get back out there and keep hiking. To be sure, while going up I was feeling the elevation and my lack of endurance.

img_5958Coming off a 2 month injury, my biggest worry was being the slow person in the group. I was, but I didn’t factor in that my friends are fantastic and it wasn’t even a big thing. It was totally fine. And getting to the top and hanging out was bliss.

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We made friends with these two other hiker dudes and they hung out all the way down. Which was great because I got to borrow a pole. Now, I’d always thought they were dorky, but I’m slow as molasses on the way down because I expect to fall and smash my head open. They loaned me a pole, one pole, and I was able to keep up with the group. It was a straight up miracle! So, needless to say, I bought a set of my own for future hikes. It’s bad enough being the semi-out-of-shape one in the group on the way up, I don’t really want to be what slows us up on the way back too!

We gave ourselves a weekend break, so no mountain scaling for me this weekend. But I can’t wait for San Gorgonio next!

AND that’s a check on #13 of the 30 in 30 challenge!