writing

New Starts - Watch This Space!

LifesABeachI feel like I'm in first gear. And it's good to be starting again, slowly revving up to new things. I'm learning a lot, getting into new habits, working to stay focused when my attention is scattered all over by these new shiny exciting ideas and plans.

One of the plans involves revamping this blog. It needs a redesign STAT. And I have fun plans for new content and varied story telling. I'm also going to start working with the Amazon Affiliates program so if you see me hawking some wares with amazon links, know that it's all for stuff I use and love. I'm not being paid by anyone to post about them, just looking for some revenue streams while I write about what excites me.

I hope you'll follow me on instagram too: @freyjulia as there will be a lot of new stuff happening there, plus some Harper related fun. I'll be on Facebook a lot less as I push past my regular old boundaries. 

One big goal I'm going to work toward is writing a novel in November. Did you know November is National Novel Writing Month? Truth! I know people who have done it and are honing their novels to this day. England inspired me with a notion for a novel and so I'll be blasting out ... something like a novel ... a very rough draft of a novel. But it will be something to work with and expand on. 

Season 2 of Menopodcast will be out soon and then we'll begin Season 3. I hope you are listening! 

See? So much to see and do. And I've only talked about HALF of it! Stay tuned, watch for changes, come along with me into new worlds!

Watch this space.


Seven Days Down - A Great Kickstart To The New Year To Come

Today is the final day of the Your Turn Challenge. Here is my post to answer the question: What are you taking with you from this Challenge?

I'm taking momentum with me.

I had already started back on my pre-dawn/before the daughter wakes up writing schedule, but finding the Your Turn Challenge helped to solidify the routine.

My lesson coming out of the challenge is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Slow and steady wins the race. “Small moves, Ellie, small moves."

I know I will keep this writing time going, though it won’t be a daily blog post, necessarily. I already have a plan to write a short scene starting tomorrow. This will be a rewrite of a scene I wrote as part of a larger…uh…thing I wrote last year. (I call it a thing because I don’t know what it was other than an important thing for me to write last year — could turn into a novel, could be a script, could be a long fictional journal entry, who knows.) But this scene is very specific and I have a notion of actually shooting it as a short film. And it is totally doable. Of course it is.

I’m grateful for this week of cementing in a pattern that I started last year and will continue into this new year and beyond.

Ship it! Walk Your Talk! Surprise yourself!


January 2015

SBS_Alt365_Jan_wordart-january

January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) since January is the door to the year.

 

Hello New Year! Okay, well it doesn't look that much different than the old one, but my plan is to change that. Not making a list of resolutions, but I do have a few plans and goals. But I'm just going to start with January. A year's worth of goals is a bit overwhelming. I do have long terms goals, but I'm going to focus on short term right now.

January Goals:

1. 185 by January 30th.

When I get on the scale on January 30 it will read 185 (or less). I had been doing well losing weight last year then somehow got wildly off track. In April I was down to 182, heading toward my then goal of 175, then lost my way, went up and down then way up again, ending at 196 right before Christmas. I was really eating and eating and eating. I've been outside of my comfort zone a LOT in 2014 which is good for me, but clearly not good for my figure! So January is about reducing the amount of comfort food I put in my gullet and more about writing and journaling about my lack of comfort. And lots of hot tea. I still have the overall goal of 175, but am going focus on achieving the January goal during January.

2. Take Harper out to eat more often in more diverse places.

I have been using the excuse that she's a toddler, too fidgety to sit still at a restaurant for too long and so we have hardly taken her out. 18 months was great when she would just sit in high chair and play with toys and eat her food. But I really feel like it's time to get those skills going in her, all in age-appropriate venues of course. Luckily there are conveyor belt sushi restaurants and dim sum houses aplenty in LA. The key is that food comes at you right away, no waiting! (We had an attempt at one of the sushi places last night but they were clearly having an off night as next to nothing came past us on the belt.) The longer term goal is to increase the diversity of foods and experiences. But for January, more sushi and dim sum.

3. Spend no time on Facebook.

Facebook is fun, it can be entertaining. But I am letting myself get waaaaaay too distracted by it and am not very good at controlling my time there, not unlike eating too much comfort food. So I'm going to take a break, starting with January to see how I do. I have two scripts to rewrite and don't have time to faff about on Facebook! So if we're friends on FB, you'll see a notice about that shortly.

4. Write more on this blog.

And dovetailing with #3 is to write more on this blog. Almost everything I post on Facebook I can blog about here, so why not. There may not be as many comments or "likes" but I'm anti like-button anyway. Never use it myself. But if I'm a writer who already has this blog, why not just refocus back here? As Harper would say, "Well then, do it!"

That is the bulk of January. Let's DO THIS THING!


I Got Two New Pen Pals In 2014!

Who would have thought that I would acquire two new pen pals in this day and age? One of them is even of the "write an actual letter, put a stamp on it and send via US Mail" type. And I love it.

219883-email-envelope_originalThe first new pen pal is of the modern variety - email. She is the wife of a dear old friend and classmate from Seabury. They had their first baby this year and reached out to me to ask questions and get ideas. I had a blast answering a list of "what is really important for new babies?" email. Way better than a Buzzfeed quiz, let me tell you. (BTW the answer is really: "not much!") Since their baby was born we have email pictures and notes back and forth almost weekly. And not just "hey here's a cute baby pic" but actual paragraphs of news and updates and getting-to-know-you type stuff. It took me a while to recognize what I had: A New Pen Pal. Well, a virtual pen pal, an email pal? An EPal? (Sounds like a dotcom that went bust in 2000.) Anyway, a new friend. (They live in NYC.)

LowrieSprecksThe more recent pen pal is a friend I've known from blog life for about eight years. He is the most modern of communications people that I know, an early adopter of e things, but mainly social media. I learn a lot from him and consult often about how to approach things online. Smart guy. Recently he decided to try writing actual letters to people instead of just emailing or tweeting back. My understanding is he wanted to have the focused experience of communicating with one person at a time in a manner that requires time and effort. He bought a manual typewriter to accomplish just that and posted his PO Box address for anyone who wanted to write. Well, you know me. This just started in November and will take a bit longer to get rolling. I sent the first note, he responded with one typed letter and I've written back. I imagine his PO box will be full for a while and he'll be busy strengthening his typing muscles, responding to those. The funniest part? He lives in LA. I think I've seen him IRL about five times.

The arrival of the mail carrier is now more exciting than before. Will I get an actual letter today? (The holidays are good for this kind of thing, but with the advent of "Holiday cards untouched by human hands" it's lost its magic. Just email me a picture if you aren't going to write anything on the damn card! Bah humbug.) Even my email inbox has gotten dull -- mostly newsletters and blog post updates. Hardly any personal stuff any more. Facebook has slowed that down a lot, people just post a thought and hope you see it. I hardly see it.

New Pen Pals in 2014. Who'd have thought? I'm pleased as punch and must rush out and buy more stationery...

 

PS The image of the stamped letter from 1898 is to a person whose name is alarmingly similar to my family name from a few generations ago and I grew up in Spreckelsville on Maui. Must research into Mr. Lowrie a bit today.

 


Envelopes and Stationery and Paper, Oh My!

HawaiiLetterThere is a blog I read by my friend and Seabury carpooler, Melissa, called "Julia's Bookbag." (Different Julia!) Every Friday she does a "Cool Stuff I Like" post and this week included a link to a post about amazing envelope inspiration. It is a collection of envelopes created by various artists. It brought me back to the days of intense letter writing I had growing up. Well, I say "intense" only because in this digital age, it seemed intense that I wrote so many letters back then. I still write my fair share now, actually. I love sending notes and thank yous and birthday cards in the mail. I love shopping for paper and cards and stamps and stickers.

Dc9stampMy parents got divorced when I was five and not too long after that my dad got remarried and they all (Dad, stepmom, two oldest sisters and Lucy, the best dog in the world) moved to the Big Island. My mom and my next oldest sister and I still lived on Oahu, then later Maui. I only got to see that side of my family two or three times a year (usually summers and New Year's Eve). So Dad and I wrote letters. Lots and lots of letters. I think my mom indulged me with colored pens and all kinds of stationery*. (Just as she indulged me in books!) I loved getting letters and I loved writing and sending letters.

Upss17jun90In high school I acquired about twenty West (at the time) German pen pals and seemed to constantly be writing letters, which I loved. (I still write to 3 of them!) Going to the post office in Paia to get mail was also so exciting. To see what might be in the box addressed to me was a thrill. That post office is no longer a post office but Box F will always be a strong memory in my mind. It was my grandmother's address, once upon a time, then it became ours.

CoconutIn college, during the summers, I wrote to all my dear friends, missing them all so painfully while I tanned and worked, counting the days before I came back to Los Angeles. The funnest part was sending coconuts to them all. You can mail just about anything as is via the Post Office, as long as it has the right amount of postage. (I sent coconuts similar to this one which I found on this instruction site for sending your own coconuts!)

 

 

Now there is a friend in Northern Ireland who has a daughter not much older than Harper. We promised we would have the girls be pen pals. We've written a few letters to each other in the last two years, but man it's challenging! So I am going to write a letter and mail it today. I PROMISE!

 

*Trying to remember where we might have bought the stationery from on Maui. Libertyhousebag
Liberty House? Hopaco? Shirokiya? God I loved shopping at Shirokiya! Hot Manapua and Hello Kitty pencil boxes and paper and stickers!! 200px-ShirokiyaUSA_logo


Catching Up (Again) - Isn't That Parenthood On Some Levels?

So yeah! Time flies. I haven't even done any pics from Christmas, not that there were many. I'll get to that later I guess. My intentions are good, but making the time, well that is a negotiation with myself (and sometimes Kurt). Blogging falls by the wayside to make room for our own creative project work, meetings, lunches, general life errands/shopping/maintenance, etc. Throw in some tax prep and preschool applications (oh yeah! and she would even start for ages!) and boy the days fly.

HippoonscaleYou might be wondering how the fasting and weight loss has been going. Or probably not because you have a life! Well, it's been on and off for me these last few weeks. I had a stomach bug in January and haven't quite gotten back on the fasting. But I'm back on tomorrow. I had lost 11 pounds overall since starting that. I've put two back on and so I'm hovering at 183 these days, nine pounds down. The good news is, I started carving into my time with exercise. Just some neighborhood walking but it's been really good to get out and move my body with a fast-paced 35-40 minute walk three to four times a week. My intention is to get back into the weight loss regime, get the pounds off and up the exercise wherever possible.

In day-job news, I got nominated for a Visual Effects Society Award for my work on White House Down. That ceremony is on Wednesday night. Going to dress up and go to the Beverly Hilton! Woohoo! Pictures to follow.

In my creative work, there are irons in a few fires, all of which are really fun and exciting. Hopefully they pay off in all kinds of ways in the not too distant future. I've started waking up before Harper to write for about 30-40 minutes every morning (except Sundays). She gets up around seven, so I've been up around six. It's been amazing and the thing I'm working on is a story that just bubbled up recently so I'm playing around with it. Writing makes me feel great.

And Harper is getting bigger and cuter (not possible!) and the language is opening up more and more. Sometimes she says stuff that makes me think, where did you even hear that word? (And no, not a swear word because I know that will come from me, no matter how hard I'm trying to clean up my potty mouth.)

Here we were at the park the other day (accidentally had the camera set to B&W). She had her sippy cup in one hand and had tried to step up on the climby thing on the left but tumbled down (not far). She ended up in this position, drinking her milk like "Oh yeah. I'm cool. Totally meant to do that."

PlaygroundChillin

Here she is in Ponytails. Adorbs. Hard to wrestle the curls into ponytails without much pulling, but man it's worth it sometimes for the "big girl" look.

Ponytails!

Back in December, I came to get her from a nap and found this scene. Not sure if she was teacher, cop, or conductor, but it was amazing.

ToyLineUp

Harper is a style maven, FYI. She has two pairs (TWO! Gawd, I can't control myself) of Bee pajamas. Or as she says "BEE!" One morning we were in her room before breakfast and she went out to the living room and came back like this. "Shades, bitch!" (Sorry, still haven't shaken off Jesse from Breaking Bad.)

BeesNShades

She and Willoughby love to play in the car. Momma is not too thrilled with this but what can you do? I thought the other day about this new family member and how if all goes well with Willoughby, Harper will know her until college! Amazing.

HotCarAction

 
We go to a park near the Santa Monica Airport sometimes. Harper likes to play with the sand. Just not necessarily IN the sand.

NotInSand

It's been a lovely day today. Lazy Sunday watching Olympics (Ski Jumping!) and doing laundry and cleaning up and eating bagels. Harper loves bagels. Glad to catch up a little!

HappySunday


EXT. COMFORT ZONE - DAY

I can see my comfort zone. It wouldn't take much to step back over there and fully immerse myself into it, pulling down lots of income and spending hours and hours every day focused on something incredibly non-creative and mundane. The money always looks good, but I have to remind myself that there is no such thing as easy money. No Such Thing.

Luckily I had two great quotes come at me through email this week. The first from Seth Godin:

"You don't need more time...you just need to decide."

And from Thomas Edison:

"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven't."

Both of these things kept me away from the CZ and toward my goals.

 

UPDATE: After posting this I found out that today is Thomas Edison's Birthday! Nice timing. (See Google for their cool artwork celebrating this fact!)


Back On Track

Okay, let's try this again. Happy New Year! 

This week feels more like the official start of it than the previous three Mondays, that is for sure. Now that the mom-in-law is healing really well and totally on track (and ahead of schedule) for a full recovery, the stress levels are almost normal. Along with the lowering of the stress level is the lowering of the amount of comfort eating. I've lost three of the eight pounds I gained since Christmas and am on track to get back to where I was in December. That feels good. Happy-new-year

The mornings have returned to my favorite routine as well -- up early, coffee, journal, writing or researching on whatever my current personal writing project it, checking email and going for walkies or spending time on the Wii Fit. I like these mornings. By 10:00am I've gotten a lot done.

The gears are turning in our writing world and my aim is to keep them going and going. My "Be Bold" strategy is working - every time I feel myself wimping out by not doing something bold, I remind myself to step up and just do it. Yesterday my goal was to make a long list of people to email about my goals, people who can potentially help me, and then, you know, EMAIL THEM. My list was 17 people long and I emailed all of them with bold and straight forward and nice messages and I'm very pleased with myself. 

My fantasy life was stoked this week as well. I got my latest issue of Budget Travel Magazine and it has an article about six hotels in Paris that are between $100 and $200 a night. I went to all the websites and dreamt about staying in each one and eating the fresh pastry and hot strong coffee at breakfast every morning. Haven't been to Paris in four and a half years and that is too long. More distressing is that we haven't been to Italy for eight years. EIGHT YEARS! (I know, I know: "First World Problems.") Travel has always been a big priority for me and while I'm lucky to be able to travel for work, much of that time is spent, you know, working. So a trip to Italy just for fun would be dreamy. 

But the bigger dreams are up front - writing, getting an agent, selling the writing, writing more. From the realization of these dreams come other dreams. 

Look out 2011, here I come!

 


Support From Seth Godin

I am catching up on emails from the last two weeks, reading daily posts from Seth Godin. This one from December 18 is really a compliment/supplement to my goals for 2011:

What are you working on?

If someone asks you that, are you excited to tell them the answer?

I hope so. If not, you're wasting away.

No matter what your job is, no matter where you work, there's a way to create a project (on your own, on weekends if necessary), where the excitement is palpable, where something that might make a difference is right around the corner.

Hurry, go do that.

 

Hurry!


Moving Forward to 2011!

Okay, got that off my chest. Let's look ahead.

My main goal (once I got rolling) for 2010 was to pitch a tv show to a major producer. We did that three times! Woo hoo!! Once we got there I realized, crap, I have to make bigger goals! That seemed so huge at the time, now it seems puny. 

Happynewyear

The theme for 2011 is: BE BOLD

So the writing goals are (in no special order):

--Get a good agent

--Sell something I've written

--Continue creating and pitching great ideas

--Continue to remember that "People don't fail for lack of talent, they fail for lack of commitment." (via @revrunwisdom)

--Meet with anyone and everyone to get the word out that I've got writing projects to pitch and sell. This involves not being shy or afraid of saying or doing the "wrong" thing. 

As for other personal goals, the weight loss will continue (that was also something on pause for these last 3 months). My hair continues to get longer and I still have yet to achieve the 167 mark that I set in March of 2010. My exercise routine for 2010 was not bad, I think I averaged 3-4 days a week of working out. I will raise that to 4-5. (That's average, mind you).

There are other smaller projects and plans to work on, like continuing Safety Graphic Fun and starting a couple of other goofy little websites. (More on that coming soon...)

And Kurt and I keep realizing that as we work our butts off on the writing and wait for the baby-to-be-named-later to arrive, we know it will all happen at once and be incredibly stressful and insane and AWESOME. Can't wait!