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.

writingmetric

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Exercise… the Writing Muscles

l98936

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.

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.

#27 – I just submitted my writing

Fellowships-Logo

Boom. That’s not just a check off the list, that’s a bomb that just exploded all over my brain. I just submitted a spec script I wrote the the NBC writer’s on the verge and the Warner Bros writing workshop fellowships. Yeah.

Now, the odds of anything happening are .001%, but that’s not why I’m jazzed. I’m jazzed because I wrote something and turned it in. I kept a commitment to myself and I feel proud. Damn proud. I’m not ashamed of my spec. Could it be better? Probably. Did I work my ass off to get it done and make it as polished as I could? You bet. Did I learn a lot in this process? For sure.

bubbly

So a bottle of presecco just went in the fridge because today marks the day I made the first real, concrete steps towards becoming a writer:

I submitted my spec to fellowships.

I registered a script with the WGA.

Next up: write an original pilot.

That’s the real doozy. The one that will really get you noticed (if people like it) and the one that excites me a lot more. It’s also what I’ll need for next year, when I’m able to submit to all the fellowships and not just the one’s accepting spec scripts.

Get Out and DO!

So I came across this challenge: http://30-in-330.blogspot.com/  where the goal is to complete 30 goals within the remaining 330 days of the year. I found it via Habitica (love that goal getting app!) And my list, in no particular order:

  1. Run and PR in a half marathon
  2. Write a pilot script
  3. Pet a hippo
  4. Script Sup another feature
  5. Take pictures with film camera
  6. Set up my fish tank
  7. Host kombucha tasting party
  8. Lose 10 pounds
  9. Do month of Whole 30
  10. Get my bartending license
  11. Do a handstand
  12. Make homemade tiramasu
  13. Hike up a mountain
  14. Read 12 books
  15. Paint under bar area in kitchen with gold design
  16. Give up alcohol for one week
  17. Consolidate sewing pile to one bin
  18. Write a screenplay
  19. Repair picnic table
  20. Eat epic meal
  21. Finish darkroom painting
  22. Play a song on violin
  23. Organize GMedia equipment
  24. Make Julia Childs recipe
  25. Do a pull up
  26. Do a boudoir photo shoot
  27. Apply to writing fellowships
  28. 30 days of sex
  29. Buy queen size bed
  30. Go on a weekend getaway

More later as I actually go through each item and my plan to accomplish it!

2016- The Year of Learning

10000

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.

passion

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?

Ticking Clock Poem

Tick Tick

Tock Tock

That’s the sound of a broken clock

Bang Bang

Knock Knock

That’s the sound of an unloading glock

Gulp Gulp

Sigh Sigh

That’s the sound of another lie

Waiting Waiting

Done Done

That’s the sound of an argument won

Tremors Tremors

Why Why

That’s the sound of how you cry

Clack Clack

Type Type

That’s the sound of how you write

Laugh Laugh

Feel Feel

That’s the sound of starting to heal

Giggle Giggle

Hush Hush

That’s the sound of you running to rush

Love Love

Tears Tears

That’s the sound of passing years

Beat Beat

Beat…

That’s the sound of you.

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!

Charlie

This is a based on a true story I wrote for a contest called Story Lotto, where a selected group of writers share their stories aloud.

It was love at first sight. Charlie was a bit of a mess, but what boy isn’t a fixer upper? I mean, that’s what young love is all about, right? Looking past a rough exterior at what you know is inside. Our conversations where fairly one sided. He didn’t talk much, but he was deep. You couldn’t find larger, more soulful eyes than Charlie’s. He was a bit on the hairy side, and his personal hygiene left a little to be desired. I mean, what lady really wants a man with no regard for where he takes a dump, but you can’t have everything in life.

I met him at my grandpa’s ranch. He was just one of the many eligible bachelors vying for my attention on that fateful morning. The popular song is a little off, it should really go “My milk bottle brings all the calves to the yard, And they’re like, I’ll be all yours, Mooo, I’ll be all yours.” Incidentally I sang that enough times while helping with the milking that my grandma actually looked up the song.

That was also the end of my singing that song.

I could tell right away that Charlie was something special. He had a tan coat with a big black splotch right on the end of his nose. It was easy to spot him from far away with that giant beak of a nose. And his nose, with its moist skin and tiny peach fuzz hairs; it was on the softest out of all the calves. He would just make your heart melt. When trying to bottle feed he would stick out his giant pink tongue and indiscriminately slobber all over both my hand and the bottle until he found the milk he was looking for.

My summer crush might have come to an early end if I had not convinced my dad to bring Charlie to our farm. By “farm” I mean we kept one cow at a time and had three chickens. Live it up dad. As Charlie grew we became closer. Even though he no longer needed to be bottle fed, I would still slip him some extra grain now and again, and I was the only one who could give that perfect head scratch right on the top of his head where his horns were starting to come in.

As Charlie grew, so did our love. Or, at least I thought it did. Come Spring, he started to change. My mom had talked to me about this sort of thing, but it was still unexpected. He no longer enjoyed the things that brought us together, a gentle head scratch, or a stolen moment before I dashed off to school. Instead he spent his time at the fence bordering the neighbor’s property. While I liked to think he was just pining for the grass on the other side, I had a feeling it was that fat black and white Bessie that drew his eye.

How am I supposed to compete with that? I was skinny tween with pimples and only two legs. She had a glistening coat and a layer of fat to be envied. So I did what any rational, loving person would do in this situation. I held my head up and convinced my dad to lock him up on the far side of the pasture.

I practically skipped home from the bus stop, sure that my love had remembered me at last. I entered the pasture and called to him. His ears perked up, his head turned in my direction. The grass in his mouth fell to the ground. He came running, and it was like a scene out of Baywatch as we ran in slow motion to one another. Only, he didn’t stop running. I stopped, and started to back up, but he kept charging full speed ahead. It was at that moment I realized I had made a terrible mistake.

WHAM!

I don’t remember much after that, only that the giant yellow and green bruise the length of my thigh was a constant reminder of the fickle, fickle nature of men. And that Bessie was a bitch.

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?