“Chug, chug” – tis the sound of my motor, yo.

I have an intention coin made by my good friend Rebecca at FreeHippie which reads: “Live by intuition and inspiration” which is an extract from a quote I love by Eileen Caddy. The full version is:

Cease trying to work everything out with your minds.
It will get you nowhere.
Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be Revelation.

I used to wear this on a chain until the chain broke when I was rather enthusiastically waving about and managed to catch the necklace. I have no idea how I managed to as the chain was pretty sturdy, but it broke none the less. Since then it has remained in my purse for the last couple of years – and that sufficed. Not anymore.

I was thinking about my coin earlier and have decided to pull it out and attach it to a necklace or cord to replace my totem necklace I’ve worn for the last couple of years. It’s not necessarily that I feel I need it, but I think it’ll help. This week’s actually been a pretty good week for deflecting any negativity in my life. The work situation hasn’t changed, but my attitude seems to have and I want to stick with this. By wearing the intention coin I want to be able to remind myself regularly what it is that’s important in my life.

I know I don’t want to remain there, and something will come up that’s better suited to me. But I need to accept that it’s a necessary evil and, whilst I am there, I should do my best to not let it knock me off my game. It’s not important, so I shouldn’t give it more energy or time than it truly warrants. Especially since it’s been affecting my sleep and that’s never a good thing for clarity and a positive attitude. Which reminds me of the quote:

When you know what’s important, it’s a lot easier to ignore what’s not.

I believe that was a quote that came from the Flylady.net articles, in case you wondered.

But, what is important?

Well, I am. My dreams and aspirations are most definitely the things that I should hold onto and cherish. I have left toxic relationships (friendships and otherwise) because I felt they wouldn’t allow me the freedom to pursue the dreams I have, so why should I tolerate it from myself?

This may also go towards explaining my love of Marie Forleo. She is a big believer in loving yourself, your vision and working towards a better future both for yourself and for the community too. And she really makes me believe I can achieve that, which is why it makes me sad that I’m not in the position financially to take her business course this year. I’m going to try to whip up a scholarship application but I know that I won’t be able to get the money together before the registration closes on the 5 March if I don’t get the scholarship – and there are so many great candidates who really deserve it, who have their businesses up and running and are doing some great work.

What inspires you? Do share!

ROW80LogocopyIn terms of my writer’s plans, I set up Scrivener again after a very long break and transferred my Lost in the Dark script to it. Added a whole bunch of scene outlines and sorted out the story arc and sub-plot. I’ve added 8 pages (which brings me up to 24/100) before realising I don’t like Scrivener for this. I like that I can move things around, scene wise, but it isn’t easy for seeing how much work I’ve done. It doesn’t seem to format things properly, and the damn cursor won’t do as it’s told. So I transferred back to Word and I’m currently just using Scrivener for the plan (kind of like a story board), as well as storing notes and such for later. I’m just having to split my Word document up in such a way that it’s easy enough to see when I need to move things around if I change the ordering on Scrivener.

I’m not going to worry too much about format at the moment though, I’m just thinking about what’s easier for draft purposes. Can’t believe the script workshop is only 2 weeks and 3 days away! I also received an email from BBC Writer’s Room:

Scriptroom 5 will open for online submissions from 9am on Monday 17th March until midnight on Monday 31st March inclusive.

This year we are accepting submissions by genre. For Scriptroom 5, we will only be accepting TV & Film Drama scripts.

If you would like to submit a comedy, radio, children’s or stage script later in the year, the submission windows can be found on our blog.

Best of luck – we look forward to receiving your scripts!

How perfect is that timing? It just so happens to be that Lost in the Dark is a drama script. Whoop! I know there aren’t any guarantees but it certainly fits nicely into the writer lifestyle as quoted from Holly Lisle:

The definition of a writing career is: write a book, write another book, write another book

Once I finish this script, I send it off and move on to the next project. Thereby getting myself into the habit of not thinking too much about the whys and wherefores. I know I have lots to learn but I’d rather be learning on the job. If it’s rejected, it’s rejected. But at least I sent it out and learn from that process. I can only get better with practice and perseverance, right? “Yay” to forward momentum!

Until next time, folks. Go visit ROWERs!

Callie.

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Is that a vortex I see, or is the universe just pleased to see me?

There is definitely some vacuum-like action going on in the world around me. The kill-me-now workplace has sucked me in and is refusing to spit me back out, much to my disapproval. Will I stand for it? Hell, no! I will endeavour to spit, scratch and kick my way out (if it comes to that). However, I would much rather a more civil approach like bowing out and moving on to better pastures in a non-confrontational/low-drama kind of fashion. At present, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time job searching but I contacted a temping agency to see about my options for switching sectors and gaining experience through temping. They seemed really positive and requested my CV, so we shall see how it goes.  Watch this space…

In terms of self-improvement, still watching those Marie Forleo videos. Only wish I had a spare £1,500 for B-school! The good thing is that a lot of the advice for getting started thinking like a modern, creative entrepreneur is totally free. I guess it’s worth looking at for next year’s intake if I’m any closer to honing in on what I want to develop, business-wise. For anyone wanting to learn more about Marie Forleo and her advice on marketing with a heart, her videos are here. I know I talk about her a lot in these blogs at the moment but I’m only just beginning to focus on an interest in business development and I really love her life-coach approach to money, business and personal development as well as the sources she draws upon. “Yay” for strong, female role models!

I’ve also been mulling over this whole website shenanigans. What benefits are there to having your own domain name? Is it possible to add things like tracking codes and coloured text if you don’t have your own domain (like a free wordpress package, for example)?

ROW80LogocopyI’ve been spending quite a bit of time reaching out and trying to build a network of fellow creatives for me to draw upon, which I think is working quite well. I love reading the posts I’ve been coming across, as well as finding lots of invaluable advice on how to approach creative projects (and even life!). I particularly love shanjeniah‘s idea of a ‘Play Jar‘! I can’t wait to start making one of my own – though it may be a Play Box or a Play Tub – but still with the same intention of enjoying life through creativity and exploration of the world around me. In fact, I’ve found lots of thought-provoking insights peppered throughout her posts, but that’s for you to discover.

Guess what I watched yesterday? ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘! Oh my. What a beautiful film! Yes, I did indeed cry. I also made notes – it ran to about 89 minutes (89 pages) as well as my own guess on what I feel matches up to the beat sheet according to the story arc I observed. I quite enjoy this ‘excuse’ to watch a movie. I’ve not watched a film at home in about 6 months prior to starting this exercise of analysing films! The last film I watched for fun was at the cinema and it was called ‘Nebraska‘ but that was about a month ago, I think. What I loved most about ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ was actually the closing statement: That we’re “little pieces of a big universe”. It doesn’t really matter where you’re from, what your culture is, what experiences you’ve had… I think anyone can identify with that.

In terms of writing, I’ve been making notes on ideas but there’s been no ‘serious’ writing yet, though I know I’ll get to it. Just trying to get caught up on my studies so I don’t fall behind. I have started sketching out the bare bones of a new project though, entirely different to my normal stuff and something I’m aware will probably take a couple of years to flesh out (mostly because I’m the guinea pig). It essentially falls within the genre of a self-improvement though I’m not so sure if that’s where it’ll stay. It’s a long way from now though, and it may end up essentially a guidebook to the workshops I’d like to develop but, for the purposes of these blog updates, I shall refer to it as a novel. I know it’s going to flit between friendships, life and business (work-life balance?) but no idea what the end result will be yet. I may just refer to it as Down To Business (DTB) so I can separate it from other projects.

So, whilst I haven’t yet achieved what I hoped to this week, I still have a few days yet to pull it back. I’ve managed to rid myself of one post-it’s worth of tasks and activities on sustainability (FutureLearn), with just two post-it’s remaining for that. Once I’m caught up there, I can then move onto outlining my next assignment for my English degree, bang out some pages on the LITD script (currently at 16/100) then there’s time to play on research/exploration of the new project and/or other interests. Such as reading or learning something new.

I hope everyone’s having a great week filled with adventure!

BLOGHOP.

Regards,

Callie.

Dreams, psychos and zombies: a ROW80 update

Do you remember the band Fleetwood Mac? I keep getting their songs in my head recently. Both their songs ‘Go Your Own Way‘ and ‘Dreams‘ particularly.

I do love these songs. They remind me of long drives on the motorway with the sun streaming through the windows and a book in my lap whilst the rest of the family chattered away amongst themselves. Sometimes there were sweets or chocolate too! The joys of family trips…

I was thinking of the song ‘Dreams’ earlier as I mulled over my week. This verse in particular:

Now here I go again, I see, the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness…
Like a heartbeat drives you mad…
In the stillness of remembering

It’s been an odd week. I never heard back from the job interview I went for, so I’ve been sulking over that for a start. I’ve been in a bit of a funk over a bunch of things really as work’s been driving me nuts with so many people with bad attitudes being there. Not being able to make time to see a friend or develop new friendships due to the crappy hours I do work. And then there’s my odd sleeping patterns… I don’t seem to be able to sleep right through at the moment, and I’ve been having some really weird dreams. Not the kind of dreams that normally leads to a good little story outline, but there’s most definitely been an interesting character that’s come out of the latest one: baby-faced psychos are totally the way forward. Right? Right.

That aside… Let’s get down to business.

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Firstly I wanted to say a big “Thank You” to the fabulous people from ROW80, IWSG and other creatives who have stopped by and posted words of wisdom and encouragement. I really appreciate it! Also, thank you to Shanjeniah for the link-back on her latest update.

You know, I’m actually quite impressed with myself overall this week. I haven’t checked off everything on my to-do lists but there has definitely been a marked improvement.

I’m now up to 16 / 100 pages on my script WIP ‘Lost in the Dark‘. Given that I only started working on this on Wednesday, I’m really happy with this progress and definitely feel the 25 page goal per week is achievable. I was watching one of my favourite films the other day called ‘Hocus Pocus’ with a critical eye. I wanted to see if I could fit the bits and pieces to the beat sheet I’m working with and roughly at what points they come in. Happy to say I think I’m getting the hang of it. The film ran to 88 minutes (each film minute equates to roughly one page of script), so I definitely have some wiggle room if I’m aiming for 100 pages of draft.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I’m booked onto an all-day script writing workshop on the 8 March 2014! I really can’t wait. I’m definitely picking things up as I go along, as well as reading guides and advice around writing which is really helping to see what I need to come back to, but it’ll be great to get some real feedback and see how things can be improved with having some tuition on development, dialogue, format and so on… If anyone’s from or around Manchester (UK), let me know if you plan on attending ‘Script Writing North‘ (formerly ‘Primary Creations’) too!

I also received my grade from my latest English assignment on transcription conventions – 84%! I’m so happy! I received lots of positive feedback and ways to improve to push to a pass 1 on the next assignment, as my tutor’s confident I can do it. I really am surprised I did that well though as I was not so confident at the point of submission.

I’ve not really been keeping up with the ‘free’ learning courses through FutureLearn at the moment, but I’m going to crack on with those today. My aim is to get a bunch of articles read and contribute to a couple of discussions on the #FLsustain course, particularly since we moved onto sustainable learning which should be interesting. And then I can move onto a chunk of the activities on #FLHamlet. I just want to pull things back to a manageable point as I don’t want to fall so far behind that I give up on it. I don’t like giving up – doesn’t sit well with me at all.

The plans to be more active, even if only for short periods each day, are hit and miss since I don’t include work in that. Some days I stick to it, other days I don’t. It’s getting better though as the days I do stick with it are more frequent than the ‘not’ days. We’re getting there! At least I’m maintaining my current weight, rather than gaining as usually happens when I’m in a bit of a funk…

As mentioned in a previous post, I received some books I ordered that I want to start working on. I don’t want to set time frames for them yet as I still have the Ibsen book ‘A Doll’s House, and other plays‘ to finish (I did plan on reading that by the end of Jan, so I have to catch up there!) and a fiction book called ‘I, Zombie’ by Jo Michaels to finish on my Kindle and review. The books I bought are self-help type books though, so I can probably fit little chunks in here and there. One being ‘Money: A love story‘ by Kate Northrup, and the other being ‘Blink‘ by Malcolm Gladwell. I want to work on Kate’s first as I believe that will be most useful to help me feel more ‘in control’ and organised. I also picked up one of Kait Nolan’s ‘Meet Cute’ stories called ‘Once Upon a Snow Day‘ to read through. I haven’t actually read any of her published works yet, as embarrassing as that is to say, so we’re going to change that!

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Well, that’s all for now folks…

Regards,

Callie.

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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WANTED: planner addict support group.

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What? Sunday already? Where does the time go when I’m not watching it? It’s great that I’m not forced to deal with incredibly long shifts that make me want to blow my brains out with an oversized spud gun, but that means it’s time for a ROW80 check in!

Goals are to work on my C:C ratio

Create – before I even open the laptop, I need to write in a journal (creative ideas, finances, life, dreams, ‘to do’ lists… whatever)

Create – Make physical notes from textbooks relevant to current assignment or EMA

Consume – Check emails/social media

Create – Jot down notes and ideas on what to research or expand on for blog post/article and plan for when content is published (the aim: one per week)

Create – Type up hand written notes on creative ideas/pieces and backup

Consume – Use a set chunk of time to do research for a piece through reading or searching for relevant material

Well, I did say that my plans are to work on these goals… it’s most definitely hit and miss. Last minute shift changes means that I actually forgot a lot of the things I meant to do… that’s a really crappy reason, isn’t it?

I have, however, been creating the blog schedule and content posts, so I have a rough idea of where I’m going on this little adventure and how I want to get there. I’m still waiting to hear back from the job I went for though, so not sure how well things are going to work out yet in terms of the plans I want to follow, such as the one-day intensive script writing workshop in March (or the evening class over 6 weeks) which would count as both consuming inspiration and creating my own little projects.

I created space with more de-cluttering, though I’m far from complete yet.

I have created a couple of learning schedules; such as the ones for fitness, education and guitar practice. I think it has to be official by now that I am a planning whore! The first step is to admit you have a problem, right? It’s the execution of said plans that I have an issue with. I’m definitely hedging my bets here by admitting it now, in the hopes of kicking my own arse before I get to a point where it really hinders my progress.

Despite my plan to create more than I consume, I have been reading a lot of script stuff and allowing my mind to wander. I’m starting to think I’ve sat too long in the seat of an amateur, a little bit like clinging to a security blanket. Despite writing on and off for years, the last time I actually submitted anything was a children’s story about 3 years ago. I did the waiting around for months and months, only to get a very polite rejection and, whilst I didn’t hold it against the company I submitted to, I did hold it against myself. I decided I needed to learn more, to practice more, to remain securely attached to the tag of an “amateur writer” or an “aspiring writer” as noone will expect much of me then. I even got to the point where I dodged questions about writing if it’s specifically about what I write… and yet I love encouraging others to create! How can I do that? How can I expect others to feel confident creating, if I’m not?

My friend (Chris.R.) sent me a link to a comic strip about running by The Oatmeal. I wasn’t quite sure why at first, until I read it. I’m being pursued rather persistently by The Blerch! I consume, I laze, I avoid doing what needs to be done… I believe in The Blerch!

Which has led me to make a decision. I know I’m not a pro, and I know I have a lot of work to do, but I am now on the hunt for a place to target – to pick some place to write a script for (and submit) within a specific time frame. I’m currently thinking BBC’s Writers Room as I know there are occasionally contests that provide feedback. My plan is to pick something to work with and do the best with it now, so I have something to then come back to after the workshop in March. It’s not really like I’m going in blind as I do have some ideas I’ve been outlining, I’m just not sure whether they’d fit the submission criteria (which is what I need to look into). I’m also considering article writing as a way of regularly working on content I can submit, though this is in the formative stages so I’m not entirely sure what direction I want to take with this yet. I tried the short story route, but what I enjoyed writing wasn’t really all fluffy and light like many of the places seemed to want. They were pretty dark and somewhat unsettling, in some respects. Often around mental health and abuse (I worked in mental health, so I was using it as a form of catharsis). Any other suggestions or advice?

I hope everyone else’s goals are going really well!

Blog hop to other ROWers here!

Regards,

Callie.

My aims and objectives

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This is actually a goal revision post as previously I was posting on Tumblr but decided it would be far easier to migrate to this community instead – it’s definitely a lot easier to interact with members on here!

Previous goals:

*Daily > After my first cup of tea/coffee of the day, commence 10 minute free-write. [Note to self: This is non-negotiable.]

*Daily > Review study plan and check list each morning to ensure I remain up to date and my daily ‘to-do’ list can be adjusted to suit that day’s schedule.

*Daily > Spend 5 minutes making notes at the end of the day for prompt ideas for the morning free-write session.

*Daily > To spend a minimum of 10 minutes before bedtime reading for pleasure.

*Weekly > Read one chapter of my degree textbook and work through supplementary material.

*Weekly > Complete activities and reading as part of the study schedule for FutureLearn courses (currently ‘Sustainability’ but will also be one on Shakespeare’s Hamlet this month).

*Weekly > Create a basic storyboard/outline of an idea developed through the course of the week.

*Weekly > Write a minimum of 700 words in total.

In some ways, I’m disappointed that I haven’t ‘achieved’ much from this list consistently, but a combination of job hunting, work and assignment issues have taken precedence. The internet has certainly been devouring a lot of that free time like the insatiable beast that it is, even if what I have been exploring has been creative pep talks and business ideas, such as the invaluable advice from Marie Forleo and the brutal pep talks from Elliot Hulse. I have also been educating myself through TedTalks – I so love them!

That aside, I have been reading more. I finished the copy of ‘Hamlet’ I was reading, I started ‘I, Zombie’ by Jo Michaels on lunch breaks or travelling (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HQHF7PI/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_ask_PRwnG.0Z7CRWH), I’ve been dipping into ‘A Doll’s House and other plays’ by Ibsen some bedtimes, and I read the sample chapter of ‘Money: A love story’ by Kate Northrup (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00E8NIMP0/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_hist_5) today on my way to a job interview.

I would technically be behind on my plans to do freewrite sessions and storyboards but I’ve decided not to beat myself up about it. They’ll happen when they’ll happen as the more I give myself grief, the less likely it is to be re-started. I have, however, come up with more structured ideas for blogging/article writing based on my current set of interests. It really does depend on if I get the job I’m going for as to whether I have the time to fully explore what I want to do, but I have back up plans if it doesn’t work out. Either way, plans to create regular content is currently in the pipeline.

I am also going to push myself to take on board what Marie Forleo has said in her latest video about inspiration: that we should create before we consume (http://www.marieforleo.com/2014/01/when-inspiration-backfires/)!

New Goals

Work on my C:C ratio

Create – before I even open the laptop, I need to write in a journal (creative ideas, finances, life, dreams, ‘to do’ lists… whatever)

Create – Make physical notes from textbooks relevant to current assignment or EMA

Consume – Check emails/social media

Create – Jot down notes and ideas on what to research or expand on for blog post/article and plan for when content is published (the aim: one per week)

Create – Type up hand written notes on creative ideas/pieces and backup

Consume – Use a set chunk of time to do research for a piece through reading or searching for relevant material

Someone on Marie’s site made a comment that new habits have to be placed before something we do already, which is why I think better habits are established when addressing the C:C ratio.

I’m currently trying to go easy on myself now as there is so little time to work on what I want to, so I’m addressing the pattern I currently have and how to improve it to ensure I allow the better habits to grow. These goals are to be done on a daily basis but the amount of time per day will vary depending on what’s happening. The important thing for me is that I work on instilling a sense of discipline in my daily practices (good habits!), rather than the length of time in the beginning.

I have already used this approach with my skincare routine (twice a day I have hot cloth cleansed and toned, without fail!). I have made home-cooked food regularly enough that there is always a supply to eat well and plenty of fruit and vegetables have been consumed. It is now physical activity that is being tackled – pilates daily!

Until next time, folks!