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Another one bites the dust!

10 Apr

Just finished my rewrite :). Super excited but ready to get back to work.

 

Also today is the Nicholl fellowship regular deadline.

Link

Writing is not a solitary occupation • ShaulaEvans.com

10 Feb

Writing is not a solitary occupation • ShaulaEvans.com.

 

Loved this post. Check it out.

Words Wednesday: Keeping the faith

11 Dec

You’ve started a project I’m sure, with the best of intentions. Maybe you plotted out exactly what you want to happen or you sketched the big picture, you knew the idea was exciting and fresh and you couldn’t wait to see it realized in your particular medium. Then you start the work. You paint, sculpt, write, tinker; you do whatever it is you need to do to get to the finish line. At some point, what started as a great idea becomes the slog of your life. Everything that was good seems bad, what was once precious is dirt and you suddenly begin to feel like there is no way you can finish and you shouldn’t be the one trying to produce this behemoth.

I had a moment like that last week. I was sitting in the dark staring at 70 pages of writing that felt like a giant pile of mammoth excriment.  My inner critic was telling me to give up. To start the next project which was alive and kicking in my mind. I was just about to close the file when I remembered the ye olde important tenant of writing: you gotta keep the faith. I’m pretty sure this rule only  applies to first drafts because once the thing is done the general rule is: kill your darlings (or sometimes mutilate them).

Keeping the faith is really hard, just ask anyone from the bible ever. It’s hard to feel like you should keep pushing forward when every word or stroke feels like its a fight but thats when faith is the most important. To be clear I’m not talking about faith in your incredible talents as a writer or faith in your ability to sell your project when its done. I’m talking about good old fashioned faith in your ability to finish. Maybe you’re right and your whole project is horrible and people are going to look at you like you have grown four heads with three sets of eyes each but you won’t know that until you’re finished and you can see the whole thing for what it is. You may realize the whole project isn’t a loss, its just one section or just that you need more of something or less of someone. Characters or colors or parts may try to take over and you have to reign them in but you can only do that when you can see the whole.

I mean you wouldn’t stop Steve Jobs in the middle of creating the first Apple computer and say to the man, “Dude, that thing is crazy. You should just stop. This is going no where.” and if you had said that to him where would the world be now? Let’s face it,  Apple has changed the face of business and you never know your project could change the world. Maybe. No one really knows unless you keep the faith and finish it.

Words Wednesday: My new writing schedule

27 Nov

I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of getting up early to write and also to make time for all aspects of my writing (yay! that means the blog will pick up steam again).  I recently finished a script I am really happy with that needs some editing and I have recently started a new project.  In an effort to stay on track, I have decided to schedule my days writing sessions and I figured I would share that with you. Obviously things are subject to change but the idea is that this schedule helps keep me balanced about my writing and the work I am doing with it. Also, that it won’t allow me to put off something I may not be the most fond of in place of something more exciting (at least for the moment).

This idea kind of came to me from reading the Go Into the Story blog at the Blklst.com. I’ve really been enjoying the recent articles on screenwriting and especially the goal of 1,2,7,14.

Monday:

  • 30 Min: First Draft
  • 30 Min: Rewrite

Tuesday

  • 30 Min: First Draft
  • 30 Min: Prep new project

Wednesday

  • 30 Min: Rewrite
  • 30 Min: Brainstorming

Thursday

  • 30 Min: First Draft
  • 30 Min: Prep new project

Friday

  • 30 Min: Brainstorming

Saturday

  • 30 Min: Brainstorming/Prep
  • 30 Min: Rewrite
  • 60 Min: First Draft
  • 60 Min: Blog

 

I would guess you’re thinking….you’re only giving the blog an hour on Sunday? Well that’s because I work on the blog at more random times through out the week. I won’t sit down on Sunday and watch a whole bunch of trailers so undoubtedly that will happen during the rest of the week. Make sense?

What’s your schedule like? Share it in the comments!

Look at this morning

6 Feb

My first thought this morning when the alarm went off and I had resettled into the warmth of my comforter was how nice it would be to sleep another half-hour. My second thought was that I should be writing and my third that writing could wait. And it can. But it can’t.

I’ve never been great at the whole get up early and write thing. I couldn’t wake up early or someone beside me would wake up to or it just wasn’t a priority enough to force my hand. Well, my hand is being forced. This is usually where I write something that is meant to be inspiring about getting up and going to work. Something I hadn’t actually done but knew that people saw the value in. This time I’m going to show you what I do. Isn’t that a change 🙂

6:00AM Alarm goes off. I shut it off right away so as not to wake my partner. Then I lie in bed convincing myself to get out of bed. The conversation generally goes like this:

Good Me: Get up

Bad Me: You could lay here two more minutes. No big deal.

Good Me: If you don’t get up now then you won’t get up until the next alarm.

Bad Me: That’s not so bad. You can still get a lot of writing done that way!

Good Me: But not the amount you’re supposed to!

Bad Me: It’s just 30 Minutes.

Good Me: Get the hell up.

6:05AM Pee, turn the coffeemaker on and turn my computer on.  You notice I didn’t say make coffee. I’m not putting the coffee in the coffeemaker the morning of. Thats less time for writing. I set everything up the night before. If I forget or if I go to bed knowing its not done then I forfeit coffee until after my writing time. It’s reasonable for me.

6:08AM Open my writing program or current project or blog, turn on my timer and write. A few notes on this activity.

  • When I’m writing a script I use Celtx, it’s free, pretty easy to use and does the formatting for me. It has a cloud system which is great for me because I often want to add something I thought of while sitting at my desk in the office and with Celtx I can do it and update it then get right back to work.
  • I always turn a timer on. It really helps! If you just sit down at your computer with no clue how long you are going to work it is easy to say “well I worked ten minutes thats good enough for me” or “I’m really way too busy I can’t just sit here and write!” giving yourself a limit gives you something to shoot for and the knowledge that its only however long you spare. I do an hour but if the hour passes and I still feel like writing then I give myself more time. You’re not locked into only an hour but you are locked into at least. You can do it with whatever measure you want but do it.
  • I don’t just write. Sometimes I check my word count, or review research for the next section of the script or sometimes I pee. Thats ok. As long as the bulk of my hour is spent writing then I’m still doing good. It’s like meditation. You can’t just tell your brain “stop thinking!” things will come up. Ideas for a next story or script. You remember that book you want to read. These things happen. Give them 30 seconds, then get back to work.

7:08AM Give myself a break. Before I go back to writing or on with the rest of my day I give myself 15 minutes to do something (anything). Sometimes this is searching the web. Sometimes its reading an article. Sometimes its watching videos. Whatever it is I reward myself for getting up and writing before I get bogged down with the rest of the world.

7:23AM Get ready for work. The boring stuff begins 🙂

So this is my routine. It’s pretty simple but so far it works for me. What works for you? What does your routine look like?

Next Step Blues

30 Jan

I finished something. Well several somethings. I think I may have mention that I’m writing a lot recently. Six mornings a week I trudge out of bed, turn on my computer, coffee maker and write. I’ve written two movies in the last few weeks and I feel great! Of course that does bring you to the age-old question: what’s next?

You’ll find this is a constant question with me. I often fluctuate between wanting to get my work produced and see the work on-screen and wanting to pretend the movie was never written. When I was writing poetry it was generally the same thing. I wrote a lot but I didn’t submit a lot. At least though with Poetry I had a very good understanding of what the next step was. Once you have a polished(I don’t say finished because I know some people never feel a poem is done) poem you begin submitting it to literary magazines or to poetry contests. When it comes to film I’m sort of at a loss.

Even fiction writers have a clear idea of what they are doing. I’m at a loss. Internet searches provide the same answer: get an agent or submit to producers though many of them won’t walk to you unless you have an agent or are working with a producer.  The quest begins with a lot of phone calls, emails, letters and it’s slow going. The advice also usually has a large dose of “move to  LA” in it. Something that at this moment I am in no way prepared to do.  So what will I be doing next? Editing, querying and calling. Nothing else to do about it!

I’ll be searching the web for agents names, seeing who represents whom and hopefully getting a film made. Wish me luck 🙂

What’s in a flame?

18 Jan

I said I wanted to find my fire, insert any musical song regarding purpose here, and I was serious.  Finding passion is a serious business. There are people who say it isn’t necessary for success and there are others who think it’s essential. Wherever you fall in the debate, this is the question most 20-somethings here when they start talking about building careers, “What are you passionate about?” or some other variation. So what does your flame look like? What’s your passion?

For me ,my passion is writing. I used to limit it considerably to poetry and blogging but I would say that these days my energy is spent elsewhere. I also have a passion for film and for helping people. These are each a part of my flame.

So what’s in a flame? And by that I mean what does passion or purpose look like and why do we use it as the guide for discovering our careers. Sure, I love to write but will that lead me to a lucrative and brilliant career? Possibly. It’s equally possible that no one will ever see the things I write and that even this blog is a pointless pursuit. Maybe.

Is that all there is to it though? I say I love to write and that’s all it takes to give me a profession? Not likely. There are things to learn, things to read and experiences to have before I can make a career out of writing. So what does passion really look like?

If you ask me, the flame/passion is a combination of the thing you love in a situation that makes you happy. Even if that happiness is only every other day its still better than nothing. How do you know when you’ve found it? When you can do the thing you love and your job and not feel eager to get out of either. The ideal career to me lets me write but also lets me have other tasks that may be related but aren’t necessarily writing.

I sound really certain of my answer but I have yet to discover what that career is and that leads me to my goal. What can I do that feeds me?

What does your flame look like? How do you define it?

Happy New Year!

10 Jan

It’s a New Year and new projects abound. Or they probably should. Or something.

For many people Decemeber brings a wonderful spirit and liveliness followed quickly by January which is a renewal. A chance to be reborn and remade. Most years I would be plotting out resolutions and trying to determine which goals are the highest priority. I would be writing a blog post about new opportunities. But I’m having the winter blues,  anyone else?

Creatively I’m in a hot zone. I’m almost done with a script and outlining another. I have an idea for a Reality TV show and I’m reading quite a bit(updating my current list here. Check it out) This should be a great time. Yet, I feel sluggish. My work productivity is low and I can’t find the energy to be around anyone but my partner. I’m becoming a tortoise.

What is it about the cold that awakens the hermit?

Or maybe the stories are true. Maybe writers thrive under solitude and loneliness. When I say thrive I mean that they are creative and produce written work. Because I think when we’re socially stationary our energies decrease, we become vegetables, active minds but nothing stirring physically.

I have another theory of course. A very personal hypothesis. I have a fear that all this writing will crash into a giant block of grief. What can you do to fight it? You can’t.

You gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em

16 Jul

As promised this post is about knowing when to give up writing. I guess the title of this post suggests that I do have an idea of when this should be done but to be honest, I have no idea.

I’ve been writing this blog for how long now? almost two years. Fall 2010 begins the journey. Have I always done my posts? No way. Do I often feel like I’m not saying anything? All the time. When I am on, I feel like I am on and when I’m off I feel way off. I think for me, I struggle with agendas. Where do I want this blog to be? What “brand” am I creating with my posts? Does it matter? Do you sometimes write long letters to yourself about where you want to be right now and how off that path you are? I think about doing things like that. But I stop myself. So do I give up my blog becuase I don’t want the pressure of having to give one side of myself all the time or do I expand the blog to accommodate the multiple facets of me? Or do I start a new  blog which is solely focused on the everything else that my life presents.  I love to read all of these beautifully written blogs that focus on one thing but I struggle with how to write one.

My poetry is another story. The energy to write a poem has drained from my heart and I feel like I have forgotten what it means to write poetry. There is a lot of prose here. The desire to write essays, academic papers, plays, movies, and all sorts of words that I would not call poem. But is it a part of poetry to expand beyond genre and write what I need to write.

A part of me thinks that community has a lot to do with the problem. They say 3 in 10 MFA in Creative writing grads keep writing after they finish the degree. I have a feeling this is because they miss the community of writers and being around people who also believe this writing is worth it. This work is so much better than anything else I could be doing. Or at least just as important. That’s how  I feel right about now. I live in a place with little to no literary culture but is on the outskirts of a culture that lives and breaths and grows. Sometimes I think about not writing another poem ever again. But the thought makes me cry.

So I guess that’s where I am. The intersection of perfect balance and disheveled chaos. I’m leaning towards letting the lines bleed. Maybe this thing I’ve been trying to do where I don’t include certain things and I omit isn’t working for me. I omit so much of my life within my life already. What do you think readers: do we give up on keeping our pretty pink bows on or do we just put down our pens and turn off the lights?

I had considered

15 Jul

I had considered writing a long post about the struggles of finding time to write but i am constantly writing that. So then the question comes… Do you keep writing?

Im going to talk some more about it later this week but i want to put the question in the air. Give up or keep fighting with words for words.