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.

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Sunday Sunshine

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Feeling like your Sundays are the dreaded day before the week begins? Maybe it’s time for a perspective shift! Try thinking of Sundays differently:

-As the chance to plan your week out

-As a day to reflect on the past week

-As a day to take a bit of time for yourself

-As a chance to look at your goals and accomplishment

There are numerous articles on the power of reflection and looking back at what you’ve done, as well as the benefits of planning ahead and taking a few minutes each night to look at the next days goals.

Check out these helpful articles:

11 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues by Forbes.com

4 Ways to Use Sunday to Make Your Upcoming Week Easier by The Financial Diet (a blog which you should totally be following!)

So this Sunday, I’m working on a project I’ve long had on the to-do list– repainting some equipment cases, an act that will help make our business feel more legit as well as improve our pride of ownership.

This Sunday, I’m meal planning for the week. I’m doing the Whole 30 (post coming soon!) challenge and meal planning is a necessity unless I want to turn into a ravenous monster who ends up bailing on my month’s commitment.

This Sunday, I took time out of my day to sit with a cup of coffee and watch my cat. It was great.

This Sunday, I’m going to curl up with a good book at the end of the day to relax.

2016- The Year of Learning

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This year my goal is to learn, to hone my skills, to really knuckle down, acquire discipline, and pursue learning. I’m continuing work on my screenwriting certificate and applying to fellowships and competitions to really try and hone my skills and develop my craft.

In addition, I discovered a fashion design certificate on groupon, and have purchased and begun a year long semi-intensive certificate in fashion design. I’ve always been interested in clothes, sewing, runway, and the creation of the things we wear everyday, so why not? It may take 10,000 to master a craft, but I enjoy a good diversion and feel it’s important to let the brain wander in different directions.

This year, instead of trying to read 25-50 books, I’m selecting 12 books from my shelves and working my way through one book per month. These are books on the craft of screenwriting (I have at least 10 half-started), books I’ve long wanted to read but never actually picked up (Quiet: Power of Introverts), books I’ve enjoyed but gotten distracted from (House of Leaves), or books that will highlight other pursuits (Born to Run). In short, I’m trying to consolidate and optimize my time.

Now, I think resolutions are bunk. They’re like a pie crust promise: easily made and easily broken. (We can all thank Mary Poppins for that bit of wisdom.) But goals– these are sustainable and empowering. One thing I discovered last year that has really allowed me to hone in on the things I want, and get them done in a timely manner, is Passion Planner.

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This gem has really helped me, especially because it includes a lot of visual components and places to make lists, keep things together, and progress points to really look at how you’re doing each month, and whether you’re really making progress. If you don’t already have a planner you love, I recommend giving Passion Planner a try.

What are some of your goals for the new year? Do you have a theme or focus that’s driving you?

Success, and the fear of

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Success.

That word is packed with so many things. Hopes, fears, aspirations, and conflict. At least, the idea of success in my mind fills me with conflict and conflicted emotions.

I have a fear of success.

I know that it’s bizarre, and completely irrational, but it doesn’t make me procrastinate any less or try to avoid being successful. I know that it stems from my childhood and where it comes from, but that knowledge doesn’t make the nervous whirl in the pit of my stomach go away when I think of actually trying to go after something I want. It’s the same feeling I get when I think of the times I was successful as a kid and then other kids made fun of me. I’m not sure that there is a worse feeling than being made fun of for doing well– you succeeded, yet you are still a loser. I ran my hardest in cross country and managed to come in second place! My less successful teammates mocked me for running the B group instead of the A group, taking away my hard won success. So my brain equates success with losing, and that’s not really a good way to get to where I, or anyone, wants to be in life.

I just did some research on the fear of success, and it’s a legit thing. It is nice to know I’m not the only one who suffers from this. So I want to share some of the articles and found and what I am doing to overcome this fear.

Step 1: Buckle down and do it. I overcame my fear of talking to strangers and being shy by just doing it. I live in LA, and an ability to network is a requirement. If I can’t make small talk with strangers I’ll never get jobs or make connections. And, more importantly, I would be spending all my time alone at home because I wouldn’t have any friends. Most of my current friends are people I randomly met at a party, started talking to, and found that they were fantastic. So I’m applying that same logic to my fear of success. I know I have the fear, but I just have to face it head on if I want to overcome it. It will be a struggle, something I probably always carry with me, but the more I do it the easier it will get.

Step 2: Ask myself these questions. I found these questions today, and I’m going to include them in my ‘diary’ on a regular basis. (My diary is more a reflection of my day and musings about my goals and where I want to be.) The questions are these:

How will my friends and family react if I accomplish this goal?

How will my life change?

What’s the worst that could happen if I achieve this goal?

What’s the best that could happen?

Why do I feel I don’t deserve to accomplish this goal?

How motivated am I to work toward this goal?

What am I currently doing to sabotage, or hurt, my own efforts?

How can I stop those self-sabotaging behaviors?

This questions came from an amazing article, very worth reading: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/fear-of-success.html I highly recommend spending time every week thinking through these questions. The article recommends 15 minutes to really think about them, and that’s what I’m going to. Every week.

Step 3: Stop beating myself up. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful, yet I then turn around and sabotage myself. After sabotaging myself, I beat myself up for failing, yet again, to overcome and strive for what I want. Condemning myself doesn’t do anything to help, and only re-affirms the concept that I don’t deserve success. So from now on I’m going to value my successes and forgive myself for any stumbles. As the photo says, mistakes mean I’m trying. And what could be better than trying to be my best?

My current sabotage involves not writing on my screenplay and doing everything under the sun to procrastinate. I want more than anything to be a writer, yet if I never write I don’t fail and I don’t succeed. I just stay exactly where I am. …which is a hallmark of a fear of success.

This article: http://99u.com/articles/14347/are-you-subconsciously-afraid-of-success also looks at what some of the subconscious fears are, and what to do about them.The Fear of Not Coping with Success, Fear of Selling Out, and Fear of Becoming Someone Else are all fears that lead to behaviors that keep you right where you are. Never changing, never advancing, never being the person you truly can be.

In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
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Do any of you out there suffer from the fear of success? Has anyone overcome it?

New Blog Format

So the magical blog experts out there say that a successful blog has certain characteristics. It ought to have:

A THEME: something to tie everything together. In this blog I try to both tie my posts back to writing and I am, obviously, writing each blog post, so I count that. Honestly, you could get anything depending on what I’m feeling at the moment, which is the idea behind living in the Write.Now. But the goal is to make it writing related.  🙂

CONSISTENCY: I will admit, I am not consistent with my posting. Apparently successful blogs post every day with one day off. And if you’re a super successful blog like Design.Sponge you aren’t even doing that! As I am but one person, I’ll be taking a day off, and trying to be more consistent. Monday will be my day off. Mondays can be rough on everyone, and while the advice column thing suggested a Monday “joke” to keep things light, that sounded like a cop out to me. So Mondays you get nothing.

ORGANIZED DAYS: posting certain things on certain days to make blogging easier for you, and so your audience knows what days to care about and/or check into.

This I was a fan of, so not only will I be trying to post every day, dear lovely three people following, but I will try to theme my days. The days will be thus:

Manda Monday: taking a self day and not posting

Tasty Tuesday: things culinary, tasty, and delicious. Hopefully with a writing slant since this is not a cookbook blog.

Work Wednesday: either dealing with my job as a script supervisor, work on set, helpful work tidbits I find, or info about working out and fitness (see how I pulled a combo there?)

Theater Thursday: I will be critiquing and reviewing movies. Old movies, new movies, documentaries, scripts, and occasionally a TV show.

Fun Friday: This could be anything. Anything at all! It’s a mystery and surprise!

Story Saturday: Some real writing on Saturdays. I am working on compiling short stories from my life, so these will appear. Maybe a poem, a scene from a script, or some type of creative writing that is not a blog post.

Superficial Sunday: This day is for listing awesome things in stores, sewing projects, home improvements, or anything that the Jonses might be interested in or want to put on Pinterest.

So…that’s the new blog plan. Having a plan and road map is supposed to help smooth things over and make posting easier. Much like creating an outline is supposed to make writing easier. Consider this my blog outline and buckle up!

Memory and Living

So I’m part way through this wonderful book,Moonwalking with Einstein, and it’s given me a lot to think about. I’ve been toying around with a lot thoughts of life and living lately, but this book is really bringing it home.

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The current portion of the book I’m in is discussing how time is shaped by our memories– like we live more the more we remember. It is like how as young adults and teens our lives are full of new experiences and things that define us, so time seems to slow down, while as we become adults who only do routine things, time starts to speed up and up. So the more we remember, and the more we do things that challenge us and cause us to create lasting memories, the more we are living and the more we will, then, remember.

It just brings to mind all the things I’ve been thinking about as I take a hard look at myself and what it means to be Amanda. One of the challenges from a class was to write an ‘about me’ that allows prospective employers to learn a bit about me, or even when I’m out networking to be able to sum up what it is that makes me a unique person. Only… whenever I’m staring at that blank word doc, I never quite know what to put on it. I don’t feel like I’ve led a boring life, or that I’m a boring person, but when I look at that sheet of paper, all I can feel is that I am, in fact, boring, because I draw a total blank on exciting or fantastical things that would show someone reading my ‘about me’ who I am.

Then, reading this book, I have to wonder if it’s just a memory deficiency– that I don’t catalog things the way other people do. That I lack the bits of memory I need to flush out my own life. Like maybe I spend too much time reading books and listening to other people’s memories instead of creating my own. I was talking with my husband about this, and talking about how he has all these exciting stories, and his response was, “Yeah, and most of them I’ve been lucky to live through!”

But I’ve always struggled with this. This idea of defining myself in a paragraph or a sentence. I hated in school when we all had to introduce ourselves and say one interesting thing about us. How do you pick one? How do you know which one to pick? What if what you pick says the wrong things about you? What if some of the things you are proudest of would make someone laugh? What if you like the small things? Why do these introductions just feel like a pissing contest where everyone tries to one-up each other with their interesting fact?

Does that make for an interesting life? Adventure seeking? Risk taking? Is that what creates memories? That faster heartbeat? The accelerated pulse? Do you have to find a way to do that every day to make the most of life? Is it learning something new every day and just spending your days being curious and explorative?

I also just watched the movie Lucy yesterday, and that is all about how the sum of who we are as humans is basically the sum of everything we have learned and remembered. It is memory that separates us from other creatures.
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Aside: Am I just reading, watching, and musing over memory so I’m seeing it in so many things around me, or is it so around me in the zeitgeist that I’m mulling over it?

I really enjoyed the movie. It had a lot to mull over, and while there were some very obvious plot holes, I would recommend it. Potentially just because it brings to mind all the things I’ve been mulling over recently. But if we don’t wonder what it is that makes us human, and what makes our experience as humans unique, what are we to wonder about?

Violins & Ribs

So I was walking into my local Sprouts and they were grilling slabs of ribs for purchase. My husband and I decided to snag a half slab as we were leaving. We were about to get in our car and leave when I heard the sound of a violin. There was a man playing off to the side of the store. I was immediately reminded of this article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

So we decided to take the time, stop, and eat our freshly purchased ribs outside on a picnic table instead of rushing home.  It was extremely pleasant to eat outside, enjoy some live music, and take some time to enjoy life rather than rush through it.

3 things

Write three interesting facts about yourself.

I hate this.  I really do.  I hate whenever you were in grade school and you had to stand up, introduce yourself, and say something interesting.  In a class I’m in now we have to list three interesting things about ourselves.  I guess so we can have something interesting to talk about when networking with others.  Maybe I just don’t think I’m that interesting, or I just don’t see the things I do as interesting, they just seem like regular things to me.  And the things I find interesting about myself aren’t necessarily bam-wow things.

My list:

Open Water Scuba Certified

Have goal of road-tripping/visiting every state in US (22 so far)

Adore puns

Ran a half marathon

Have won awards for writing research papers

Member of Natural History Museum because I love dinosaurs

 

My love of puns makes a lot of people roll their eyes, but it’s dynamite to me. I guess it’s good to look and reflect on what makes you more than just a sheep blob of a person, but it just makes me feel inadequate.  Like I failed at learning how to dance ballet as a kid or serves as a reminder that I’m abysmal at playing a musical instrument.

My other problem with this is that it implies that you have to do or have done certain things to be interesting.  Like you aren’t interesting if you are just a person who exists and has hopes and dreams.  I don’t know. I’m probably just over-thinking this.

What are three things about you?

 

Wistful Whistler

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This is part of a painting by James Abbott McNeil Whistler.  He is my favorite artist. I once had the opportunity to visit the Freer Museum in Washington DC which houses a large collection of his paints.  I could have stayed all day staring at his work– his pieces really resonate with me.

Today I realized why that is.  Do you see the model’s wistful, sad expression?  That is how I feel today.  I know I have no business feeling that way, but that’s how I feel, and I think Whistler captures that expression and sentiment so perfectly in his work. 

I just got finished on a film set and I find so disheartening at the end of the day when I realize I haven’t made any friends or forged any great connections because I sometimes really suck at talking to people.  I can just be the most awkward duck.  Maybe it’s because I overthink everything and in the moments of indecision about what I should say next I say nothing. And continue saying nothing.  Or try and break the silence and end up asking a stupid question. It just sucks.  I feel like it makes me seem like the most boring, one dimensional person on the set.  I don’t even know if I would want to talk to me, I find me so lacking in social skills.  I script supervise and it can be a very lonely position, no built in buddy to chat with. Maybe it’s just because I’m in that watchful, thoughtful frame of mind that I find it hard to switch gears and be “on”. Because I can be a major charmer and make friends with ease, I just can’t on set.  I’m all business and no pleasure.  And at the end of the day (or weekend) it can really bug me.

So, yes, dear internet, you get to hear my sad pity party rant about how I can suck at being friendly.  Thanks for being there blogosphere. Good strangers it’s nice to have someone to tell– I can’t share this sentiment with my friends or husband because they don’t understand. They say “but you’re so friendly” “just talk to people” “don’t worry about it, you’re fine” “just be more friendly” but it doesn’t seem that easy.  I try to talk but have nothing to say.  I just want it to feel more organic and less forced. 

I probably just need to get out of my own head.

Goosbumps

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Thanks to Spirtibath for the video: http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/60956117/