Just when I made a decision regarding my next writing project, a new opportunity started waving at me and yelling, "Hey, you! Put down that cake fork and pick up a pen! Get over here!"
My first thought was to keep my head down and follow through on my goal. That's what focused people do. That's what accomplished adults do. That's what successful professionals do.
Since I am none of those things, I decided to chuck my original plan and follow this new opportunity's siren song.
Now, this siren song could be a deliciously haunting opera with dark notes and seductive shadows that premieres to standing ovations. Of course, it could be the cigarette-huskied ditty of an evil bag lady who wants to stab my creativity with a cake fork and add it to her collection of doomed writers' souls she pushes around in her cart.
I'm willing to take that chance.
So, for the next month or so, I'll be keeping my head down and following through . . . on this new project. Wish me luck!
Have you been swayed lately by a new idea, a new opportunity? Or did you stick to your original plan? How did you decide?
Gives you a unified sense of what you want to achieve in all your writing.
Transcends genres and projects.
Is more motivating than individual goals."
She not only shares her own manifesto, but she also gives guidance on how to create our own. I wrote one up for myself and put it on my bulletin board. I look at it every day, and it does exactly what she says it does. "When you find yourself struggling, ask yourself how you want to be writing. Not what characters or stories or subjects you’ll tackle or how you’ll make this scene perfect, but what you want to achieve with your writing. Pick up your manifesto and ask how you can make today’s writing align with your values."
Now, any post that starts off referencing actor Bryan Cranston as dentist Tim Whatley from Seinfeld has me hooked. So, of course, I kept reading James Scott Bell's "What Bryan Cranston Can Teach Writers" over at The Kill Zone. Bell talks about Cranston's autobiography, A Life in Parts, where Cranston talks about his acting career and the moment he started focusing on the process and stopped focusing on the outcome. Bell relates it to writing.
"You’re not here to get something,
you’re here to give something—
entertainment value to a reader."
An excellent reminder!
Do you have a writer's manifesto? Plan on creating one? Are you able, for the most part, to focus on the process and let the rest go?
The title of this post is from an episode of The Big Bang Theory, and it pretty much sums up how I feel about my writing right now.
My plan for 2019 was to work on two big writing projects. They differ in some ways, but are similar in others. They're at different stages in development. And I'm equally excited about both of them. I can totally do this! I told myself. I'll come up with a plan, and I will rock it!
Well, the only rock around here is the one I'm hitting my head against, over and over. What was I thinking?
I was thinking, I should be able to do this. Other writers do it all the time.
But maybe I can't. Maybe I'm not disciplined enough or strategic enough in my planning. Maybe my middle-aged, anxiety-riddled, worry-wringing brain can't carry everything - multiple characters, reams of dialogue, scenes galore, etc - around the way it used to. Maybe I don't have the creative energy or the physical energy to take on two big projects.
Or maybe I just work better focusing on one project at a time. Maybe I should let one wait its turn. But which one? And you know as soon as I put it aside, I'll be struck by a brilliant plot twist or a super-duper scene stealing moment.
Hmm, maybe I'll just sit here on my rock awhile and see if you all have any thoughts. . . .
How do you work best? Do you prefer to focus on one project at a time or do you like lots going at once? How do you handle multiple projects re: scheduling, creative energy, etc.? Should I give my 2019 plan a little longer, see if I can make it work?
I love a good scary movie, but because I am a giant chicken, I rarely venture out to the theaters to watch them. I much prefer curling up on the couch with popcorn, my husband nearby, and the remote control in my hand so I can press "pause" if I get too freaked out.
(Believe me, this works out well for everyone concerned. No one wants to hear me scream or watch me weep from terror. Even the tortoises roll their eyes at me - okay, it at least looks like they're rolling their eyes - before tucking themselves safely away in their shells.)
I haven't watched any trailers yet, so my picks are based on other things -
For Stephen King fans - it's Pet Sematary 2019 versus Pet Sematary 1989! I remember loving the book, but I can't remember if I liked the movie. I'll probably give the new one a shot. I also want to see In the Tall Grass, which is based on a novella written by King and his son, Joe Hill. I will, however, skip IT: Chapter Two since I didn't really enjoy Chapter One.
Speaking of sequels - and remakes - I'm looking forward to Annabelle 3 and Grudge.
And I have high hopes for: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Body at Brighton Rock and The Lighthouse. Oh, and Midsommar by Ari Aster. Aster's movie, Hereditary, left me haunted for a good long while, so this new one should be - fingers crossed! - amazing.
Time to stock up on popcorn! And peanut M&Ms . . . and pizza . . . and wine. . . .
Do you like scary movies? Have any favorites? What about them makes them your favorites? Anything here - or anything else from the linked article - sound good to you? (I have notes of more but couldn't list them all!)
I used to approach pretty much every new year with "unbridled enthusiasm" (sorry - ever since Festivus, I've got "Seinfeld" on the brain....) I'd race down the road of life, aiming for an imaginary finish line. I'd fall into that New Year = New Everything mentality, and set my expectations so high, the fall would've killed me if I didn't have so much padding.
Now, after many years and many gray hairs, I've learned something about myself. I don't bounce back the way I used to. (Pft, nothing on me bounces back the way it used to....) I no longer want to hurtle down the road like a tortoise after a banana.
Don't get me wrong, I still have goals and projects for 2019 - two writing ones, some health-related, a few fun-for-me ideas. But instead of being all whoo-hoo as I approach the new year, I am cautiously optimistic. I can actually see the finish lines. I might end up moving them, but at least I can plod my way toward them. And you know what? I'm good with this new pace.
If you're all gung-ho for the new year, more power to you, and I will cheer you on and root for you as you fly past me. But if you're taking it easier, going a little slower, come walk with me. We can keep each other company until our paths diverge.
What's your approach to the new year? Planning on doing anything differently? Have any big projects you're excited about?