Information addict

The safest thing to ensure I actually stay faithful to my writer ‘muse’ is to be blasted into outer space with something to write with and on. Implements designed not to float away. Having a space suit and a sufficient supply of food, drink and a way to dispose of waste would also be super handy. Ok… this is getting rather complicated now. I’m sure you get the picture though.

I get distracted so easily, especially by learning something new. It has this way of making me feel productive even if I haven’t planned it in. Rather than going through my list of things to do that day, I read a helpful article, piece of advice, explore a website… and so on. Oh well, I’ll get there.

In doing so though, I came across a few really great bits of information. I found some fantastic information which is essentially a dummy’s guide to building a website (perfect!), listened to Holly Lisle critique some of her student’s work to show how to improve when developing a novel, and I’ve just found an article which directed me to where I can create an editorial calender really easily. See why I feel I’m being productive?

So, I’m now the proud owner of my own domain name, but I’m yet to set up the website. I’m also in the process of building my editorial calendar which will include set days for blogging (such as the ROW80 and Insecure Writer Support Group updates) and I’ll be adding my own projects to that too so it’s all in one place. I do like feeling productive.

Oh! And I’ve also managed to install Scrivener as I bought a laptop ages ago but never got around to switching my membership to this laptop. Now my script is all set up on there, and I’ve even managed to sort out the story arc by moving and adding scenes, essentially planning right there and then! The only bug bear I have though is that, although I’m in the script template, there doesn’t appear to be any guidance on the format. The font was really cursive, which didn’t look right so I changed that. I’ll have to spend some time working that one out at a later stage, but for now it does the job. I can worry about working the kinks out once the draft is done and dusted.

Can’t wait to start building new and better novel drafts in there too! It’s been a while since I used it so I totally forget how beautifully simple it was.

I hope everyone’s week has started out great!

All the best,

Callie.

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Seinfield, chains and the ether.

I was on a little journey venturing through articles on business development and productivity before I stumbled across one titled How the ‘Seinfield Strategy’ can help you stop procrastinating. This definitely caught my eye since I’d already become sucked into reading by 10am rather than cracking on with the to-do list I wrote around 9am.

Phrases leapt off the page and successively jabbed me in the eye:

You need to pick a task that is meaningful…

Writing can actually produce a meaningful result, even when it’s done in small doses…

…you’re never going to write… by merely researching…

Thank you James Clear for reminding me of what’s important – not to break the chain. I need to find me a wall calender!

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I was reading a blog post by Tia Bach in which she discussed her marketing concerns and that totally hit home for me. This week I seem to be conquering the demon (Ha! Take that, demon!) that prevents me from creating; only to be tackle-glomped by the reality that the next step is going to be harder!

I’m trying not to let that throw up the road blocks though. I want to embrace each challenge as being something new and exciting. I don’t have a hoard of people to rally around me. I actually currently have no set network (does my mum count?). I’m definitely at the beginning of this ‘create an author platform’ journey. I love the idea of that growing, but what if it doesn’t? What if I continue to send out blog posts, thoughts, advice from what I’ve learned, and then my work out into the ether only to receive no input. It’s no longer about receiving negative critiques of my work, or not being able to sell anything that worries me – it’s receiving nothing. No comments, no support, no insights, not even the sound of crickets (maybe I should download a track full of crickets?)

So, in summary, I feel great that I’m clambering over the creative hump and getting back into the pattern I love but the future looms ahead in that rather menacing fashion… how do you tackle that fear? Have you created a platform you’re happy with?

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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’.

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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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And… we’re in!

After a good night’s rest and an early rise, I plucked out my notepad and jotted a few ideas on what I’d like to achieve before my shift this evening. Nothing particularly earth shattering but I certainly would like to make this time productive, so I’ve got things like time for research, to finish up on the bookshelf de-clutter and put what needs to be kept in the loft to give myself some space. I also have plans to get some exercise in there as well as developing some order to my desk space (in, out and pending files/folders, for example, which is advice from Matthew Stibbe about developing an attitude for getting things done). And to work on narrowing down the options for gaining structured writing experience of a public nature (excluding blog posting).

It seems the many hours I’ve spent trawling through sites, blogs and whatever else I could find has finally come to something useful. Has anyone heard of ‘aboutmyarea‘? I know I’ve stumbled across it a few times but my local area is actually fairly quiet. Articles don’t go up very often, especially not in the areas I want to write for, which is actually perfect for me! It’ll give me the experience I need to practice developing original content, as well as the actual process of article writing, without worrying about stepping on another person’s toes. It’s obviously not paid work as it’s community generated content but I don’t mind that so much at the moment.

How would you go about saving articles for a portfolio? Do I just link to the pages of my article if I sent proposals later on down the line, or do I print and save? Or do I do both? Are there any other suggestions?

Right, so that’s one thing checked off my to-do list, now to work on what I want to cover and when I want to cover it…

Habit 1: “Be proactive” is well under way! We’re now working with habit 2: “Begin with the end in mind” and habit 3: “Put first things first” simultaneously (‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People‘ by Stephen R. Covey).

Warm regards,

Callie.