Tag Archives: writer

Post-Oscars Decompression

Awards season is over. Long live the Academy.

It was the morning after the Oscars. 8:00 am. I was supposed to have been up an hour ago. Were any of last night’s attendees up yet? Had anyone even gone to bed? Who among the nominees was jumping in to their next project? Who among the winners was sleeping in? Why was I so dehydrated?

These thoughts accompanied me, the non-Oscar participant, whose next project was to get out of bed and ready for work.

The morning sun was positioned just enough beneath the horizon to avoid major disturbance in my bedroom. I laid in bed, deflated after a lowkey weekend despite living a stone’s throw from Sir Elton’s annual viewing party. Spine pressed heavily into the mattress, my toes, then fingers, twitchef to life underneath the duvet. Turning my face towards the ceiling, my eyes tugged in their sockets, like pebbles in a slingshot. God, I don’t want tooooooo.

My phone blinked to life on the nightstand. Perhaps San Vicente was still closed to thru traffic and I’d get to work from home, a nptipn retracted the moment it was thought. San Vicente isn’t the 405 freeway, idiot. There’s life outside of Weho, remember?

My brain had a point. I grabbed my phone and swiped at the lock screen.

Happy new year, Lindzz! DID YOU SEE? Jordan Peele won Best Original Screenplay last night… will you be next? Only one way to find out — it’s go time!

My teeth clenched as a fire cut through knots in my long intestine. Gary was on to me in the most encouraging of tones. It had been four years since I agreed to work on the script, and I admired him for trusting me. I wondered how much longer it would last. Putting the phone down, I rolled onto my side and stared off into nowhere for another five minutes.

I’ve got 26 days, I thought. I can do this. I’d yet to type the first page of the draft. The farthest I’d gotten was a Google search on how to write a byline, falling down a rabbit hole with vegan, royalty-free YouTube at the end of it. I’d spent too much time there rather than on the script and building a high-definition dream life of my own. I knew better. Vegan YouTube didn’t promise me a rose garden. But neither did Gary. He just showed up, every time.

“I can’t stand awards shows. Such a bombastic parade with the intent to sell more shit that people don’t need,” Gary remarked, running a thumb along his scruffy jawline. We were at a coffee shop near my apartment that had a deal on vanilla lattes during the 3pm slump. Saturdays we used to flee there with Evernotes in tow, trying to get something done. But mostly we just talked smack about the industry. “I mean, come on, Nicholas Cage has an award. How’s that for politics? I’ve always felt that if you’re doing it for awards, for the fame, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.”

I uncrossed my arms and dipped my gaze into my coffee cup. I loved him, my little brother, and his subtle, impassioned exhibition, ripe with hard truth. But it all sounded like something a loser would say.

Gary was no loser — if anything, he was a realist, young, a storyteller and visual craftsman. Sometimes I envied his arrogance, which both drove and grounded him, and how he moved with instinct, leading with his manhood. Save from the silver hammer of time, nothing was going to stop him and his dream of being a director. But even he knew that faith and a great idea wasn’t enough, not here. Not in next-generation Los Angeles.

Me, well, I was just tired, and getting old. Tired, and living in the matrix. Comparison was killing my dreams. I needed to learn how to lead with my tits.

“All the politics, Hollywood royalty, the uber-elite. Once you make it about awards, or money, all credibility goes out the window. All of it.” He shifted positions slightly, getting a little fired up on the subject. I let him go on, noticing the indentations his shoulders had left in the booth’s upholstery. “If that’s what you really want, though, then why not?” Pausing between breaths, he continued, “Just remember that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. That statue will not be the heaviest thing you carry in this lifetime.”

Would it ever get old, living someone else’s dream come true? My thoughts, soggy and falling to pieces, floated to the bottom of my cup.

That was it. I turned over and reached for my phone, a piece of ceiling fan dust narrowly missing my eye. Blind with resolve, I wondered how long it would last.

Heeeyyy, Gary. I’m on it. It’s go time.

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Getting Off: How to Finish a Blog Entry

Between writer’s block and not completing a project, if I was forced to decide between which is worse, I’d go with the latter. Having been in both places all too recently, it is really nice that to have motivation where there was absolutely none before.

But the ability to write is not enough. With any project, there comes a point where things must come to an end, and to experience the satisfaction that comes with finishing. Simply put, I need to get off.

There are countless articles that give advice on how to find the motivation and get the creative juices flowing enough to start a blog entry — I, too, have written about the importance of “just starting” and have personally referred to multiple sources for tips and techniques. However, since this past September, I’ve started over 40 drafts, with no end in sight.

Clearly I have an issue, largely with perceived performance and anxiety. So, as a challenge, and because writing is rewriting, I have decided within the next few months to finish each draft and publish them here. At that point, perhaps I will have acquired the answer to a question wondered for months now: How the hell do I do this? And if not, perhaps I’ll merely have written — a joy compared to writing with no purpose, and no end in sight.

At your own discretion, this is what I will be working with:

Figure out when you do your best work, and make the time and commitment to write every day. Mornings are ideal for me, and five, ten minutes here and there throughout the day adds up to something worth working with. Try to make room for longer sessions, for concentrated practice makes better, but view short sessions as better than not at all, or ever again.

Don’t stop — if on a roll and it feels good, keep going. Go for another five minutes; start another sentence or paragraph. The payoff will be worth it. If distraction becomes a habit, start to view any derailing in thought as a mere segue in disguise. But whatever you do, don’t stop.

There is often no perfect time or place to write. A dedicated room-with-a-view setup up isn’t always guaranteed, so make use of what you’ve got, whether in the elevator or in line at the bank.

And finally, go for it. Lose yourself. Don’t overthink it, or worry about how it sounds. Go by how it feels. Don’t be afraid of things being ugly, awkward, or messy. They can always be cleaned up.

And for the record, I’ve been talking about writing this whole time.

It’s Been a While…

… but I’m here now. Actually, I’ve been here on and off for the past month, writing behind the scenes, mostly hoarding drafts with a social relevance that passes long before I’ve the nerve to publish them. 

It all got me thinking, though, about how the hot topic, buzz-worthy style of writing or ingesting information really isn’t my bag. I mean, there’s a reason why not everyone loves every new film, television show, or single that drops — a fair amount of it is garbage (and you know it’s true).

That said, there are topics that I and others find to be socially relevant as respects the times in which we currently live, including the reactions, interactions, and overall absorption of ideas and information experienced on a daily basis. An account of life experienced nearly 18 years in to a new century is pretty freaking socially relevant, and will likely be considered as much as it eventually becomes a historical point of reference. 

So what exactly have I been up to? I’ve been figuring out my story, checking off a laundry list of weighty personal concerns — friendship, family, mortality, anxiety, financial security, life potential, the future — ever-revolving topics that don’t really fly well in polite conversation. Honestly, I haven’t been too fun to hang out with.

But I have been learning a lot in taking a good look at my life and where exactly I want to take it — which has involved reminders to think outside of myself. It hasn’t been easy; it’s in our biological make up to be selfish, if merely out of the need for self-preservation. Yet, for the sake of friendships and relationships of all kinds, it’s kind of a hard requirement to find that delicate  balance between being a self-respecting, free-thinking agent and doing whatever it takes to not die alone.

Is it brave to do so? I don’t know — perhaps. Shifting perspective, addressing emotions and not squelching them, showing up; that’s just living life, isn’t it? Brave, I don’t know. It just is what it is.

What else is going on? I’ve taken some time to make more room to read, listen, and reference a word’s etymology about 10 times a day. I’ve also been spinning Tove Lo’s latest album Blue Lips non-stop since its November 17th release, which may or may not be healthy. Been having some bizarre, ultraviolent dreams that take at least 10 minutes at a time to transfer to paper. And currently, I’m a few steps across the bridge between Thanksgiving and Christmas where it’s a little too early to be holly jolly and a little too late to still be eating leftovers.

So yes, it has been quite a while. I’m here now, though.

Photo via opensourceway.com

I’m a Size Queen

I was in the stationary and notebook aisle at Target yesterday and decided that I needed yet another notebook to write in. Because I’m usually on the go and prefer the convenience of taking down ideas at a moment’s notice, I figured opting for the 4″ x 6″ ruled and spiraled assignment book would be the easy solution.

But I’ve been down this road. Too many times have I purchased something compact for convenience only to feel claustrophobic and choked out on each page after page. My psychological reflex doesn’t allow me to see the forest for the trees as a result.

Plus, in all honestly, I get bored. Experience has shown me that if something doesn’t work, then go with your gut and try something else. So I moved on to the 7.5″ x 10.5″ college ruled notebook and decided to go with that. My reasoning is that the wider plain of paper that I write on, hopefully the better I will see ideas, characters, and environments take form.

All this to say that I didn’t end up buying either, because I remembered that I’ve plenty of notebooks from college begging to be used. The plan this weekend is to dig them out and make more than friendly with them.

Save a tree, save a life.

Writing 101 in a Digital World

Sometimes I forget that you don’t need an internet connection to write.

Yesterday I had some time to write before meeting a friend for dinner, and conveniently had my laptop with me. However, I experienced slight panic for a moment when I realized that there wasn’t a WiFi connection to hook up to.

That’s pretty bad.

I grew up in the late 80s, early 90s. My family had a telephone attached to the wall. We didn’t even have a TV for a time. I know that one doesn’t need a computer or smartphone to write — a pencil or pen and paper will more than do the job (even a brow pencil… true story.)

Yet lately I’ve found writing sessions to be fueled in part by the need to immediately publish something — in line with the philosophy of a tree falling in the forest, I guess you could say. However unintentional, having such a mindset — a reflex of powering up to write down — has definitely impacted how often I write, greatly inhibiting my range of artistic motion.

In my defense, technological convenience is something we’ve so grown used being there to the point that the physical act of writing can feel like supplementary behavior until one can get to the perfect moment in which to fully flesh out an idea.

But if our world was to enter apocalyptic status today, right now, there’d be nothing to connect to, no immediate spread of ideas. All works online would cease to exist. If we were lucky, some publications would have survived any fires, floods, blasts. But we’d truly have to rebuild and create a future on a physical, tangible foundation with our selves doing the thinking, not our beloved machines.

I used to think that being in front of a computer was my perfect sit-down moment — and it still is, in most ways. However, it might be time to redefine the line in the sand, with a pencil or pen and paper, and whatever’s swimming inside. No tabs open, and nothing to reference except for, perhaps, a physical thesaurus, encyclopedia, or other source of study. Back to basics, in the interest of preservation.

Me, Writing for The Past Few Days

I have a three blog drafts lined up to complete and post here, but it has taken a while because they’re not fun topics — which seems to be what people want, right? Entertainment is all about the escape, crafted with the goal of carrying the recipient somewhere that matters. 

I realize that I’m totally working to reason with myself. To be honest, the topics aren’t even that out of the ordinary — but in a sea of beauty/vegan/lifestyle bloggers, they dive into complex territory that even I’m not sure I’m comfortable with. 

Still, as much as I lack the desire to visit and revisit dim places in the name of clarity, it’s imperative in writing, creative or otherwise. Life is just one giant functional, resistance training session that hurts and weighs heavy. But humans were built to acclimate, and there’s a lot of good, even beauty, to be found there. Blessed be the buffer of self-deprecating humor. 

I often tend to express the sentiment that writers need to trust their readers and not make decisions for them. That is very important as both contributor and recipient, so that’s what I’ll work to do. New post soon, I promise.

Thanks for reading.

Writing Tips from Someone Who Doesn’t Know What They’re Doing

Before starting this blog back in June, I had gone through a solid five-year post-college hiatus from writing. As a creative writing major, the last semester at school was taxing to the point where it was no longer enjoyable. Engaging in discussions of history and theory, participating in workshops, and joining in with the university community was a truly unique experience. But the pressure really wore on my drive and imagination. 

After graduation, I lost all nerve to put ideas to paper. It even came to the point that saying that I was a writer felt like a lie.

Thankfully I don’t feel that way anymore. But looking back at it now, I realize that my biggest hang up was getting started. Even today, getting this post started was a challenge, but then I remembered one of my favorite quotes (simple enough and probably overused, but no less true):

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

Everyone has their own approach to writing, but sometimes it just boils down to the basics. It doesn’t matter how you do it — using an app, typing on a laptop, or jotting a blurb on a napkin — getting something down is the most important step, followed naturally by revision, then editing.

Revision and I weren’t always good friends, but we’ve worked through our differences, especially since I’ve realized it’s always had my best interests at heart. Looking at the word itself, “revision” implies the re-seeing of something, often through the eyes of someone or something else. Paired with editing, back and forth is to be expected, but is well worth the outcome. Drafting, extracting, and reworking not only improves the concept at hand, but can breed multiple ideas from one initial idea, therefore lessening writer’s block. Total win-win.

Making sense out of an idea can be a long and demanding process, but like a sculptor molding a likeness out of clay, forming abstraction into relatable experience is a meritorious undertaking. I definitely have a long way to go, and don’t always know what I’m doing, but will forever stand by getting started as the most important part of the process.