writing

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!

 


Excellent Dream Last Night With Julia

Julia_roberts-md

I'll start with the reality of what was going on yesterday: I finished a very rough draft version of our tv pilot script and gave it to Kurt to read, then I went to a blogging.la meeting and I almost asked Kurt to text me when he was done because I really hoped he liked it. (Even though it needs work.) But I felt silly so I didn't ask him. Two hours later as I was leaving the meeting, he did text me saying "Nice job on the script!" It made me feel soooooo good!

So that was reality.

In my dream I was walking out of a hotel and in the lobby or right on the street was a bakery with the most beautiful pastries and food. I walked right by it and Julia Roberts was there choosing something yummy. I think maybe we were working on the same movie in this dream because she caught my eye and I felt bold enough to say something like, "those pastries are unfair!" She laughed and then started walking with me down the street and we started chatting. Mind you I was quite pleased about this in general. We talked really easily and comfortably for a while and somehow conversation got around to the fact that I was really focusing on writing and how much I loved it. She asked more about it and I said I had written a feature, was finishing a pilot script and there was a mini-series to come (all true in real life). She said, "I would really like to read your scripts." In my mind I'm thinking "Uh huh, that's very sweet of you to say..." But then I actually said out loud to her, "You would?" and she kept saying yes. I said, "Why don't I send you the short overviews for both instead." She said, "No, I want to read the scripts." I put my hand on my heart and told her that I was really pleased and stunned and happy. I was then trying to figure out A) if there were any parts for her in any of the projects (no) and B) how to get around to the fact that what I need most is an agent. But the dream never got that far.

That was it. But when I woke up this morning I was so pleased. My inner Julia Roberts (because of course I was talking to an aspect of myself in my dream) really really liked me and my writing. Hooray!


The 2010 Frey Household Writing Instrument Census

For some reason last night Kurt and I were talking about pens. (I guess cuz we are writers?) I said something like, "Blah blah blah the 400 pens we have at home." My mind raced to all the drawers and cups full of pens and I said, "I bet we do have 400 pens at home." Kurt said he thought not. So I adjusted my total to 370, Kurt then Price-Is-Right'd me with his vote of 369 and even offered to let me include pencils in my count. I said no, pens only. 

Pendrawer
 
Here's how it breaks down.

Grand total of writing instruments in the house = 485

Pens = 238 (Includes sharpies as I use them often for labeling)

Pencils = 109 (mechanical and manual)

Highlighters = 22 (I do use them a lot for VFX work when reading/breaking down scripts.)

Crayons = 96 (box set)

Magic Markers = 20 (oh that smell!)

And just because they are usually in the same spots:

Scissors = 11 (2 are the kitchen variety)

If you add up the pens, pencils and highlighters, you'll find it lands right at Kurt's guess of 369. Damn that guy is good at EVERYTHING!!

Sarah B asked if we are hoarders. Not really. Pens store quite easily in small places! (See the above photo of the top drawer in my office chest of drawers.) In that photo there are 52 pens, 33 pencils and 6 highlighters.

In my desktop pencil cup (made by Grace) there are 33 pens, 4 pencils and 4 highlighters. Well, there were. I added a few more of the large, new pencils and traded a couple crap pens out when I found awesome pens I love in Kurt's drawer. (Don't worry, he only likes black ink, so I took the blue and purple ones.)

I bet you'd be amazed at how many pens and pencils you have in your house!

Pencup

 


Self Reflection

(It's a blog, isn't that what every post is about?)

Seth Godin's email today was this:

SELF DELUSION AND SELF LOATHING:

Two shores of the same river, either can get you into a lot of trouble.

Self-delusion is lying to yourself about how good you are. You might think you're a world class designer or actor or chef or administrator or problem solver, but you might be merely well-intentioned, hard-working and pretty good. Which is fine, but pretty good is hardly remarkable. Telling yourself the truth about what you've got to market is the first step to marketing with success.

and...

Self-loathing is lying to yourself about how bad you are. You might think you've got nothing to add, that you're a lame designer or actor or chef or administrator or problem solver, but you probably have the potential to be great. Awe-inspiringly great ...if you're willing to do the work, make the sacrifices and stop undercutting yourself. Supporting yourself with the truth about what you could market is the second step to marketing with success.


1ecd5_goalsIt's only Tuesday and I've suffered a bit of both already this week, though more the second than the first. We are in a strange waiting room, waiting for many babies to be born-actual babies and creative babies. Moving forward while still waiting waiting waiting is challenging. Some days I overdo the bravado and am slammed back to reality with excellent notes from Kurt on something I've written, or news that we didn't get chosen by a birth parent.  Some days I overdo the misery and then fall into the predictable routine of eating too much as a way of "feeling better." Ha.

I've achieved some good goals that I set for myself this year. But I recently read a quote (can't find it now) that said something like "if you achieve a goal, it must not have been big enough to begin with." (I've mangled it, but you get the drift.) I appreciate this idea so much because while I thought my goal was pretty huge (Pitch a tv show to a major producer/production company) now that I've done it, it doesn't feel big at all. It feels only like the first mile in a marathon. I need to set a goal equivalent to the 13.1 mile mark then the 26.2 after that. And then an ultramarathon after that. This is what I'm working on this week: higher marks to hit.

My first goal is to set the goals without the self delusion and the self loathing.

Wish me luck.


Excellent Input From Seth Godin

Twice in the last week Seth Godin's daily emails have really inspired me and put me in my place (in a very good way). The first email is about where to put the fear when it is time to ship. This reminds me of my favorite quote by Mark Twain: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear."

Fear of shipping

Shipping is fraught with risk and danger.

Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.

It's no wonder we're afraid to ship.

It's not clear you have much choice, though. A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it's certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.

Since you're going to ship anyway, then, the question is: why bother indulging your fear?

In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he's tired. Everyone is. That's not the point. The point is to run.

Same thing is true for shipping, I think. Everyone is afraid. Where do you put the fear?

The second email is a good grounding reminder. There are times when I (and I know I'm not alone) start to think dreamy dreams about what will happen with my projects. Somehow I'll be the luckiest person and win the magic Hollywood lottery! Well...


Hope and the magic lottery

Entrepreneurial hope is essential. It gets us over the hump and through the dip. There's a variety of this hope, though, that's far more damaging than helpful.

This is the hope of the magic lottery ticket.

A fledgling entrepreneur ambushes a venture capitalist who just appeared on a panel. "Excuse me," she says, then launches into a two, then six and eventually twenty minute pitch that will never (sorry, never) lead to the VC saying, "Great, here's a check for $2 million on your terms."

Or the fledgling author, the one who has been turned down by ten agents and then copies his manuscript and fedexes it to twenty large publishing houses--what is he hoping for, exactly? Perhaps he's hoping to win the magic lottery, to be the one piece of slush chosen out of a million (literally a million!) that goes on to be published and revered.

You deserve better than the dashed hopes of a magic lottery.

...

Starbucks didn't become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

Click the title of this part to read his entire post. I really recommend it.

It is an excellent reminder to work hard on making your product (no matter what it is) as good as it can possibly be and to keep your audience with you, no matter how small you may start out. 

I will read these both again when I'm hanging on the lottery idea as well as when I get nervous about shipping.


Where Do The Weeks Go?

Time is flying and we don't even have kids yet!

Speaking of kids - the adoption process is coming along. We are finishing up our last bits of paperwork and having our last meeting with the social worker on Saturday. Tidying up the details. Then we'll be waiting to find a match. Nothing terribly exciting to report other than "most of the boxes have been ticked."

In the mean time, we've been writing and writing! You saw my Script Frenzy progress in April -- I wrote 120 pages. Then May (and part of June) was Rewrite Frenzy. Kudos to me, I finished a first draft of a screenplay last Thursday. Key word there being "first". The script is now out to a few readers while I take a week off. I'll get feedback then keep working on it. There is the other project Kurt and friends and I are working on, that's going well and moving forward. More about that when I have something specific to report. I'm also going to start some research into a third project...

I'm slowly looking for work, but I know work won't be nearly as exciting and fun as the writing has been, so it's tough to leap out there.

My weight loss plan is working great and I'm really pleased with myself on that. I've also learned to drink coffee without anything in it so that I wean myself away from extra sweeteners (real or fake). I'm amazed how quickly and easily I adjusted. 

Volunteering went well in May -- I doubled up to make up for not volunteering in April. I need to find something in June, but haven't organized it yet. I had a nice conversation with Kim Tracy Prince about helping her more with Help A Mother Out. I feel very inspired to keep helping with that cause, now that I'm soon to be a mom. We'll see what comes up. I did sign up for multiple shifts at KCRW for their summer fund drive, so I'll be taking your calls in August!

Yesterday was the Donut Summit (an LA Metblogs event) and we had a great time! Here we are, sporting our favorite pastry shirts. 

MeandKurtatDonutSummit 

Not much more to report other than housecleaning continues and we will be having a fun visit this week by Grace and her friend Audrey. They are coming down to learn about 3d animation and the film biz, going on tours, meeting people, seeing Toy Story 3. Fun!
 


Six Weeks Later: How Am I Doing?

Okay, in all honesty, I lost count of which of the six weeks I'm in. I could go back and figure it out but I'm too busy! I do know that I'm moving forward well and that is key.

Let's run it down!

WRITING:

As you know I'm currently in Rewrite Frenzy for the month of May. I will be giving the feature script to Kurt to read this week for some feedback on my rough rough rough draft. Then my goal is to revise and give it to the other two members of our group to read before the end of May.

The other writing project, the spec tv series, is coming along great and we are going to be pitching it in front of actual people within a month or so. 

I'm so excited and overjoyed about being in a major creative mode that it's hard to remember that I have to also be looking for some paying work soon! 

The SGF book proposal has fallen down the list. I'm just focusing on keeping the site going and entertaining people with my snarky comments. That will have to do for now.

HEALTH:

I've lost ten pounds and am on my way to losing 25. I'm very pleased with the progress, though I've stalled a tiny bit here at ten. I'm breaking on past it this week and will do an official weigh in post later on.

I've not been exercising as much -- simply choosing to stay in and write rather than go out and walk or do the Wii fit. I will get back to it, no doubt. Since the weight is coming off, I'm not as concerned about exercising because, funny thing, when I STOP EATING SO MUCH, I lose weight.

VOLUNTEERISM:

April got away from me for volunteering so I'm doubling up in May. I helped a friend host a charity party on May 1st. We collected over 3000 diapers for Help A Mother Out -- the charity that collects and distributes diapers to poor and homeless families. (Diapers and wipes are not covered under food stamps and WIC.) That was a fun and really easy way to volunteer my time. It was also quite satisfying to collect so many needed diapers.

This coming weekend is the Metblogs Blog-A-Thon at Canter's Deli. I decided to make it an event to raise money and canned food for the LA Foodbank (where I volunteered in March). I've been working with the Foodbank to get collection boxes and posters as well as telling people all about the event. I'm hoping we raise over $1000 in cash and 200 pounds of canned food. I'll also be at the blog-a-thon for two separate shifts. I'm looking forward to it and I hope you stop by.

Those are the three major areas I'm focused on for 2010. So far so good! 


Winner! Winner!

Woo hoot! 27 days ago I had only a blank page. I got to page 101 today! And when I verified those pages at the Script Frenzy site I was rewarded with the banner seen here and to the right. I'm very pleased.

Winner_night_120x240 

However, my story is not complete, so I'll spend the next three days getting to the end of it. Then May 1st begins Rewrite Frenzy! This is a Frenzy of my own making. So I made my own badge for it as well:

ScriptFrenzy150W

I am very please with the work I've done and am going to keep going full force on this rewrite. I'm not sure how to gauge the progress other than to indicate how many hours a day I put in so I'll just start there.

Thanks for all the support -- I'll need even more in the rewrite process!