Hollywood and Haagen-Dazs: A ROW80 check-in.

I think I’m at that point now where I’ve gone through that many self-help books, inspirational quotes, life coach blogs and youtube videos that all those bits of advice are starting to meld together. The main piece of advice that seems to run through all that is:

Think about the kind of person you want to be in the future and be that person now.

This covers so many areas for me. It covers fitness, diet, lifestyle, friendships, work ethic, creativity… and so on.

I see myself being a healthy and active person in my future, so I have to ensure my attitude now changes to meet the expectations of my future self. It’s certainly not easy and it won’t change over night, but making small adjustments that become ‘good’ habits for the long haul is in my best interests. That means I need to tackle that little voice that seems to think eating tubs of ice cream when I feel a bit crap is a good plan. Damn Hollywood!

The biggest one for me is a combination of ‘work ethic’ and ‘creativity’. How can I aspire to be a writer if I don’t write? My work ethic is great when I’m working for someone else or submitting work to someone else’s deadlines (such as my assignments), but making excuses to avoid creating, or making writing a lower priority than lots of other things, ultimately only hurts me and my future self.

I set up a basic beat sheet earlier for a new project I’ve been mulling over but hadn’t put it in writing until then, then I went for a walk to reflect on it. I realised that, it’s all well and good having all these ideas and noting them down, but if I don’t actually create something with it, it’s pointless. I’m just wasting trees! Whilst I was out I was thinking about where the idea for this piece came from and how I’d go about writing it, what deadline I wanted to set, why I was writing it… and so on. It resulted in an imagined interview from a local journalist wanting to ask me about the script that was in production since she was super excited to find out the piece was written by someone in the same town:

Extract from imagined interview:

Interviewer: It’s a really interesting plot, Callie. Can I ask why you wrote it? Some people say you wrote it about yourself…

Callie: (laughs) Yes, I’ve heard that too. It isn’t about me at all, but I did write it for me. I know that sounds a little strange… I wanted to write something that resonated with me – – I think we are subjected to so many stories where everything is perfect: the people are perfect, the settings are perfect, the lifestyles are perfect… all that’s needed is to get those perfect things to all work in sync and you get yourself a Hollywood romance. At least, that’s how it looked for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched and enjoyed the occasional chick-flick, but once the film’s over and I return to reality, I feel crap. My life isn’t like that and it’s unlikely it ever will be. I wanted to write a film that gave someone like me hope. That I didn’t have to fall into bed with someone I barely new and just hope it all came together, I didn’t have to revamp myself and pretend to be someone I’m not to be noticed, or to resort to whatever other desperate measures to ‘get the guy’.

I don’t believe in fate or soul mates, but I do believe in love, lust, passion… I believe that love isn’t about compromising on who you are and what you value, it’s about making a meaningful connection. And that’s really what I wanted to explore with ‘Lost in the Dark’.


My goals were basically to go easy on myself and not give myself a hard time if I didn’t create anything, but the plan was to start moving forwards and develop better habits that would ensure I did create more. There definitely seems to be a mindset shift as a result.

Generally, I’m feeling really positive and upbeat, aside from today when I finally accepted I wasn’t getting a callback from the job I had an interview for. I may not be ticking off all the items on the to-do list either, but I’m getting better at getting my arse in gear for chunks of time.

*I submitted my English assignment on 03 February, so that gives me a little breather before I have to get back to it.

*I’ve finally chucked the crap out of my room and it’s looking clutter free (though I haven’t dismantled the bookcase yet).

*I ordered books I’ve wanted for a while (which are related to writing, money and business) with loyalty points I’d accumulated on a website (woo – ‘free’ books!).

And, as discussed further up in the blog, the script I’ll be developing is ‘Lost in the Dark’ and I’ll be starting the write-up this evening. I have done 6 pages tonight (took me about an hour, and part of that was getting used to the formatting). 19 more to do this week to stay on target. My aim is to have approximately 100 pages written by 10 March (at the latest) which works out at roughly 25 pages per week to have completed before that date. I’ll have to review this on the Sunday ROW80 check-in as to whether I’m feeling it’s achievable around work and study.

I was watching some clips from the ‘Be your own boss’ TV series featuring Richard Reeds and he basically said that if you want something badly enough, you have to be prepared to put the extra work in. I know it’s not new advice, but it was a very effective reminder of what mindset I need to adopt to be the person I want to be. I can’t wait around for a job change as there’ll just be another ‘something’ that gets in the way.

I’m going to finish with a question for you: why did you/are you writing your current piece?

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9 thoughts on “Hollywood and Haagen-Dazs: A ROW80 check-in.

  1. Callie,

    First off, big hugs on the job front. Hopefully, something even better is waiting in the wings.

    I’m not a big fan of making myself write. Everything I’ve produced that way feels forced and false, and never gets close to my inner truth. I need time – sometimes LOTS of time – for things to “simmer” and “percolate” and blend with other things and my experiences.

    That’s a big reason why I prefer to have a buffet of goals and projects. While some projects are simmering, others are ready to play with, so I am able to move forward on my goals every day.

    I see my writing as play. It’s not that I don’t take my writing seriously -I absolutely do! – but more that the “work ethic” aspect treats writing as a grinding forced march. That’s not why I began writing as a girl, and it’s not why I write today. Writing is for connecting, healing, imagining, remembering, reveling…and those things aren’t meant to be forced.

    I don’t know if that’s true for everyone. Probably not.

    But, since you have assignments to complete, I think it might be possible that that takes the majority of your mental energy. If you’re also working, and looking for another job…there might just not be a lot left for your writing.

    Maybe, if you could find a playful little space in each day, whether writing, taking a walk, drawing a picture, watching TV, dancing, or whatever tickles your fancy, you can reconnect with that joyful part of your creative spirit. Eden Mabee (great writer, and my best friend since we were little girls), tries to write just five sentences each day. Often, she goes further, and sometimes, she doesn’t manage it – but it’s a goal that keeps her creative mind engaged, without being overwhelming.

    Sometimes, too, just being able to write things out helps. I love your imagined interview, and it seems to have opened you up to your project.

    I’ve found that taking time to figure things out, to go within myself and understand. It seems you’re doing that, and I imagine that this will ultimately reward you. =)

    • You’re definitely right about writing being something that should be fun, and I do enjoy it when I’m doing it. I just think I need to push myself to actually sit down and do the time as, for whatever reason, I seem to baulk and it never does make any sense.

      I’m just trying to ensure the writing is a daily habit, even if it’s just writing a to-do list or a journal entry. I suppose much like your friend Eden.

      The ‘interview’ really did make things click into place for me with this one. I know at the moment what I’m writing is far from perfect, but it’s not bothering me at the moment as I know what it is I want to write and where I want the story to go. But you can’t hang the paintings until you’ve built the house, right?

      In terms of the remaining connected. I don’t watch TV as it never really appeals to me, though I do love movies. I just don’t seem to be able to justify such a big chunk of time for that at the moment. I’m doing everything in smaller chunks. Even things like mini-pamper sessions, walks on my days off, reading one or two chapters… that kind of thing. I do enjoy painting when I’m doing it too, but it only really seems to feel right when I’m in a class experimenting. I attended a beginner’s watercolour class last summer and thoroughly loved it! I was only painting a leaf, but I was so focused it was as if I was meditating. I was gutted when it was time to pack up. Just don’t have the time for that at the moment though.

      Just got my fingers crossed I can book in for the script writer’s workshop in March – I REALLY want to do that.

      As Marie Forleo says: “Everything is figureoutable”.

      • So much of it is in knowing who we are and how we work…not “work” work, but how we tick.

        For instance, I have two homeschooled kids here. Not only do many different projects underway at once make sense to my ever-flitting mind, it means I can work on things that break down into little chunks, and won’t be hugely impacted by interruptions. I do my hometending the same way, letting go of things that don’t fit.

        I do like TV (especially Star Trek!), but I am able to watch and write at the same time (that flittery mind thing again!), and I know that wouldn’t work for some folk , who need to focus on one thing at a time.

        I know what you mean about that meditative place. I’ve had that in a t’ai chi class.

        I hope you can find a deeper understanding and time to get yourself that breath of fresh air that will feed your writing.

        You’re making the first steps by pondering and learning yourself. I’m betting it’s going to pay off!

        Happy writing! =D

      • Have you ever seen the Ted Teen talk on ‘Hack schooling’? After that kid delivered his take on kids having more control over what they learn and how they learn, I can totally see the merits of it.

        I’m one of those people who’d get sucked into watching something, even if I didn’t like it. Which is why I made the decision to have no TV in my room (plus, it’s not good for promoting sleep). I’m bad enough with the laptop and watching discussions and such on there.

        Thank you for your comments 😀

  2. I think it’s a common plight of writers to get so lost in thinking about our worlds and imagining our stories that we have trouble following through with the next step: the actual creation. What I remind myself is that the actual creation of a story is the most satisfying part. I always think of that quote, “A writer starts a book. A reader finishes it.” I think visualization exercises like the one you did are a great way to motivate ourselves.

    I don’t really know where the idea for my story came from, except that I wrote the phrase “good, old-fashioned magic” in my journal, and it seemed like a great story title. I had just left my job to write full-time–a big step for me–and I wanted to work on a novella. As this story began to develop, I decided to follow it down the rabbit hole and see where it led. So far, so good!

    • That’s a great quote to work from!

      It definitely is a big leap! I don’t think I’m comfortable enough with my ‘gifts’ to feel able to leave work to write, especially as it’ll take quite some time to even get the work I have edited to a standard good enough to publish.

      I’m sure you’re enjoying your adventure though, and it is a great title!

  3. Pingback: Playful Outburst: ROW80 Update Template, 2/10/14 | shanjeniah

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