What comes after the light bulb?

November 27, 2015
light bulb

This is how it starts

Being a writer means your creativeness is always running, or at least should be. It never shuts off, and sometimes kicks in when you least expect it.

Inspiration can hit anytime, but are you prepared for when it does?

You could be doing something you do practically every day or see something seemingly normal, and all of a sudden think, “Hey! There’s a story here!” It could be whatever you can imagine: the basis for a short, an episode of a webseries, or part of a feature.

Then there’s the thrill as your mind races through all the potential possibilities. What if THIS happened? Or THIS? Ooh! I love THIS! It’s like a shot of adrenaline into the right side of your brain.

When the idea hits, do you immediately write it down, or is it suddenly burned into your brain so deeply that there’s no way you could possibly forget any part of it?

Of course, it’s one thing to come up with the idea. How far do you go with it? Does it lose its luster after a few days, and then you just give up completely? Do you hold onto it because there’s just SO MUCH POTENTIAL here? Do you tinker around with it, file it away, then come back to it weeks or months later?

How original an idea is it? Can you think of something that’s similar? Who’s your target audience? Is it something you yourself would actually pay to see?

Let’s also not forget that this is all based on your thinking. You love the idea, but what if somebody says “I don’t get it” or all you get is a shrug? Do you think the idea is worth developing? Is it one you’re prepared to slave away on for an extended period of time?

It’s easy to come up with the ideas, but definitely not easy to turn them into quality, fleshed-out screenplays. It takes a long time to get the hang of doing this, let alone doing it well. But don’t let the difficulty or length of the journey dissuade you from at least trying.

Start with the idea, and take it from there.

Here’s to the thrill of running ourselves ragged

November 24, 2015




It’s the home stretch of the last week of November, and hopefully you’ve made some excellent progress on your designated writing project. Let’s go with the theory that you made the sincere effort to write every single day.

Pretty nice, isn’t it?

Are you further along than you expected? About the same? Not as much as you’d hoped? Doesn’t matter. You found the time to write and maintained that pattern of producing something on a regular basis.

Even if real life got in the way and maybe you had to skip a day here and there (it happens), isn’t it great to know that you made this commitment to yourself and kept it?

Maybe you had a really lousy day, and think “I really don’t feel like writing today” (which also happens), but then reconsider and realize “No. I said I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it.” So you sit your ass down and pound away on the keyboard. For how long is irrelevant.

Your total output might just be a couple of lines or a couple of pages, but your progress is right there for you to read. Maybe you tell yourself you’ll do more tomorrow.

Admit it. You like this. Otherwise you wouldn’t be knocking yourself out doing it.

This can be addictive. While some may follow the Dorothy Parker school of thought (hate writing, love having written), others actually enjoy the whole process and want to continue doing so, constantly striving to improve both in quality and output.

I tend to go back and forth, but mostly it’s the latter.

So even though the month is wrapping up, that doesn’t mean you have to slow down on your writing. You’ve gotten into the habit of being a productive writer. Make the effort to continue doing so in the coming months, and that will quickly extend into years.

Enjoying that microsecond of contentedness

November 20, 2015

True, normally I’m a pie kind of guy, but I’ve really been craving these for a while…

Happy times around these parts, chums. The November writing project was a success. The first draft of the low-budget comedy is complete.

I listen to Pandora for white/background sounds while I write, and – this is absolutely true, swear to God – Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus was playing as I typed in “The End”. A pretty solid good omen, if you ask me.

So the draft is done, and now gets tucked away for a couple of weeks. It’ll definitely need a lot of work when I come back to it, but it’s great to know I have a completed draft to come back to.

This is that feeling that every writer should savor when they achieve a specific milestone like this. A lot of would-be writers start a project, then abandon ship when it “just gets too hard” or “don’t have time”. It’s those of us who are truly dedicated that toil away no matter what. You’ve had a long day at work. Stuff around the house needs to get done.

Through it all, we find the time and make the effort. Even if it’s only 30 minutes or one page a day. We do it not just because we want to, but because we have to. We consider not writing unthinkable.

There are good days and bad days, but you learn to work your way through both. You have a goal in mind, and do what you can to get there. And once you do, there’s nothing that can compare to that feeling of accomplishment.

Enjoy it. You’ve earned it. The first of what will probably many rewrites awaits, but it can wait just a little bit so you can reward yourself in a small but appropriate manner.

A friend told me that whenever they finish a first draft, they celebrate with scotch. Scotch really isn’t my thing, but I wouldn’t say no to a cannoli from this great Italian bakery down on the Peninsula…(diet be damned)

Have a great weekend, and get some great kickass writing done.

A workload on steroids

November 17, 2015
Man drowning in stacks of paperwork

All I need to do is cut out the non-essentials. Who needs food, sleep or oxygen anyway?

I’m in the home stretch for the November writing project. I got into Act 3 over the weekend, and think there about 10-12 pages left before I can call it a day. No reason I can’t wrap things up in the next couple of days. Estimated final page count should be somewhere in the mid-90s, so pretty much where I was hoping it would be.

My original intent was to put that on the back burner once it was done and shift my focus to another script, but something else has developed that definitely requires my attention: other people’s work.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been very fortunate to have gotten some fantastic feedback from friends and trusted colleagues. Now it’s my turn to return the favor.

Actually, make that favors. Plural.

Every time I’ve asked someone if they’d be willing to read and give me notes, I always offer to do the same for them. And several have taken me up on the offer.

Which is totally fine. I just didn’t expect all of them to happen within such a short timeframe.  But it’s cool. Just requires a little planning.

Some script-related items, two scripts requiring special attention (with a bit of a time limitation), and at least 4-5 others getting straight-up notes. Yeah, that’s a lot, but I’d feel pretty shitty if I didn’t reciprocate the kindness all of these folks extended to me.

While I’d love to keep the 2-pages-a-day momentum going clear through to the end of December and have at least part of a draft of another script, taking care of these is now top priority.

It may take me a little longer than I expect, but I always strive to honor my commitments. I said I’d do something for you, and by gosh, I’ll do it.

It’s the least I can do.

A pleasantly pocket-sized status update

November 13, 2015
Just the right size for enjoyment at your convenience

Just the right size for enjoyment at your convenience

Busy times continuing, so just a few items worth mentioning.

-Good progress as the November writing project continues. Closing in on the end of Act 2, and with a few days off next week, hoping to steamroll my way through Act 3 and wrap up the first draft. Still averaging about 2 pages a day, which isn’t necessarily because I’m not very productive, but partially due to…

-Been very busy the past couple of weeks giving notes on scripts written by writer pals kind enough to do it for me. Everybody’s patience is much appreciated.

-In the early discussion stages of helping out on 2 potential projects. Both feel like they’ll really push my creativeness to the limit. Always nice.

-Ran the Golden Gate Half this past Sunday. 1:56:36, including a lot of uphill on both sides of the bridge and a light drizzle during miles 8 through 11. Also nice.

-My daughter, the illustrious Ms V, turned 13 this week. The next few years are going to be interesting, to say the least. Wish me luck.

Have an excellent weekend, and make sure to get some kickass writing done.


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