Our “Special” Gift

I always marvel at the fact that we, as writers, can conjure up practically anything we desire with our writing.  We come up with the most creative stories, the most enticing screenplays, the most eloquent poetry and the most humorous prose.

 No two stories, poems, blog posts or screenplays are alike.  Yes they may have the same idea or premise but the way it is executed on page and presented to the reader is very individualistic.  Our inner voice comes through our choice of words and how we arrange them and the reader is fortunate to choose which voice he or she best relates to.aa8

 We really have a gift if you think about it and we choose to share it with others in hopes of educating them, inspiring them, entertaining them and even provoking critical thought among them.  Our passion has no bounds.

 The world, our experiences, our family, our friends and random conversation overheard is our muse.  We get a spark and it gestates in our subconscious mind until it is ready to flow freely onto our computer screens.

AND some of the stuff that we come up with is totally mind-boggling.  As writers, we choose to ignore the plausible and go with what our inner voice is screaming at us to write.  Just imagine if we put limitations on ourselves and our creativity, you know how boring our concepts would be.

 Every day I thank God that I’m able to write something that at least someone, somewhere would enjoy reading.  I might not be the most creative, eloquent or concise writer but I write how I feel and that’s all that truly matters; I think that this is the common thread that is prevalent among all of my fellow peers.

 Writing is our craft, our voice…and our desire to share it with the world regardless of the outcome is admirable don’t you think. aa4

 When I started as a writer, I came across a poem that really spoke to me.  Unfortunately it was written anonymously and I lost my only copy of it.  But I remembered a portion from that particular poem that I took to heart and I want to share it with all of my fellow writing colleagues – all you screenwriters, poets, bloggers, story tellers:

 “Writing is a gift

given to few,

Don’t ever give it up

or you won’t be you”

The Pitfalls of Being a Writer

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I not the best writer in the world, but I’m certainly not the worst; after 25 years of writing poems, children stories, short stories and screenplays, I believe that I’ve at least developed my craft of writing to the point where I’m able to express my thoughts.

 I always make an attempt to write every day; no excuses whatsoever.  As a writer, I make it a point to write in a succinct manner where my thoughts and words are easily understood by the reader and frames the piece of writing with my unique voice, style, heart and soul. 

 It doesn’t matter if my words are eloquent or simple, as long as the reader connects with what I’ve written then that’s all that matters.  Good writing is something that’s both memorable to the writer and reader alike.  Write2

With all that said, my one downfall of being an aspiring writer is when I have to correspond with a fellow co-worker, friend or family member via e-mail.

Every time I’m trying to send a message to them, my writer’s mindset kicks in and it feels as if I’m trying to compose something that should be considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature.   

 What I’m writing could be a response for a party invitation, updating what’s been going in my life to a friend or family member or telling the co-worker a status of a project.  It should be simple to reply back, right?

 HELL NO!!!  For me it’s complete anxiety to the infinite degree!!!

 I’m brainstorming what I should write, selecting words that must be perfect, constructing sentences so that it’s a bit creative and humorous and making sure that brevity is enforced.

“Why can’t I write it like I speak it?!  Isn’t that good enough?!”  For the rest of the world – YES!  For me…it’s just not sufficient enough…sigh.

 I type something down and then I rewrite it to the point of exhaustion; to top that off, before I hit “SEND”, I have to carefully read it to make sure that I conveyed what needed to be said correctly.

 I take something that’s super simple to do and turn it into a monumental task of outrageous proportions.  It’s totally, freakin’ ridiculous what I go through.  (Don’t get me started on Birthday, Sympathy or Wedding cards…that another beast in itself.) Again, maybe it’s the writer’s mindset or maybe it’s just me being a bit too anal, I kinda like to think it the former.Write4

Anyway…anytime I’m tasked with writing anything I, subconsciously or intentionally, am trying to make sure my words come across to the recipient in a way that makes them realize that a “writer” wrote this. 

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If you can say it, then you can write it

There’s this misconception amongst some people that they’re not good writers; that they can’t write at all.  They feel that in order to be a skilled scribe, their vocabulary must rival that of a person with an I.Q. of 130 or above.

 These people feel that they can’t string together the correct words and phrases to convey their thoughts, ideas, instructions, stories or feelings.  These individuals see writers as a special breed of people that sequester themselves to a room and sit in front of a typewriter or computer for days on end frenziedly pounding on the keys of their devices creating their masterpiece.

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 I, for one, felt that way; I perceived writers as these “gifted beings” that could poignantly craft a sentence, paragraph or story into a work of art.  Their use of words and grammar were flawless; it’s as if everything they inscribed on paper immediately became canon.

 Every time I had to write a paper for school, I’d have anxiety because I was cognizant of the fact that I was NOT one of these “gifted beings” that could put my words into writing and effectively communicate my thoughts.

 These shortcomings, and the fact that I dreamed of being a writer, drove me to improve myself in both words and sentence structures.  I was obligated to become a master of my craft and not do a disservice to writers all over the world.

I enrolled in many writing classes, read many books, wrote many things ranging from short stories, children stories, poems, screenplays, business writing and reports.  I voraciously wrote every day and even composed sentences in my head to sharpen my skills.

In all those years of writing I found one thing to be true…all of our writing, words, feelings, stories and ideas come from within. 

 Storytellers of old used to pass down their history, urban legends or culture orally from one generation to the next.  One day someone had the solution to record them on paper; that paper soon was passed on and improved on by later generations.

 Now if they could communicate effectively to another, they could surely write it down.  The whole point of writing is basically recording down on paper what’s inside of us.  If we could tell another person our idea then we could surely write it exactly as how we expressed it.

 One’s writing doesn’t have to be eloquent with long words and grammatically correct, it just needs to get our point across to the reader.  When we tell our story or idea, whether it be in a sentence, paragraph, page, or novel, as long as we’re able to get across what we need to say then we’ve accomplished what writing is all about. 

 If you have to compose a letter, report or story or dream of becoming a writer just always remember that it doesn’t take much.  Just remind yourself of the fact that “if you can say it, then you can write it.”  Speak out loud and then just write down what you’ve said on paper…that’s it.  You’ve just take the first steps to writing.

 Forget all that hogwash about long words and correct grammar; you’ll become efficient in that over time.  You just need to WRITE!  The whole point of writing is expressing yourself through your OWN choice of words; you’ll eventually develop a composition style that’s uniquely you.

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 We all talk, we do it every day.  It’s something that is inherently in us.  So go forth and write to your heart’s content.  AND remember…you don’t need a high I.Q. or a vast vocabulary to write; as long as you can speak your thoughts then you can surely write it.

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In the darkness of the night

As a writer I often find that I’m my most productive at night.  Call me a night owl but for some strange reason that’s when I do my best thinking…my best work.  Just me and the computer…together as one.  This is how I feel:

“In the darkness of the night…

where the sounds of modern things are at ease,

where bodies are lifeless and in slumber

It is here where time momentarily stops

Problems dissipate,

feelings for loved ones are not thought of

It is here…

In the darkness of the night

where I find my peace,

the freedom to create,

a time of endless possibilities

where no on can see the true me

except for myself

Only here…

In the darkness of the night

where solitude is valued more than wealth,

the chance to stand

on one’s own two feet,

this brief precious moment

Helps to give me strength and insight

It can only be here…

In the darkness of the night.”

The Name’s The Game

 

There are a ton of challenges that come with being a screenwriter; the list is long and varied from person to person.

 I’ll wager that for all of us the common denominator is just writing a screenplay; it can be painstakingly difficult and time consuming.  Another most common, albeit monumental feat, is coming up with a high concept, fresh and original story idea.   

 Granted I encounter these every time sit at my computer ready to weave a tale, but for some reason my one arduous and stressful task is creating the names for the characters in my story.  Can you believe that?!  Coming up with a name is what I most dread about the screenwriting process.  Go figure.

I can sit for hours in front of my computer switching out names for the characters in my story as I write.  Having a cool name that embodies the character and all his/her flaws and strengths is a problem that I come up against all the time.  You’d think it would be easy…WRONG!  IT’S FREAKING HARD!!!

For me, it’s like doing higher levels of mathematics like combinatorics, hyperbolic geometry or algebraic topology…sheesh just saying that sends a cringe down my spine.

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Why can’t I come up with names for the people in my story?!  It’s sad that I have this same problem over and over and over again.  You’d think that I’d be good at crafting names by now but alas it’s a work in progress.  And don’t get me started on screenplay “titles”…that’s a-whole-nother can of stress induced worms.  

 There were maybe one or two times, in all my years writing, that I can actually say that I came up with a perfect name for a couple of the characters in my screenplay.  I was truly tempted to try and use them again in other stories but decided against it. 

 I’m just going to accept the fact that it’s another process that I must endure in my never ending journey of becoming an established screenwriter.  Hmmm…maybe in the meantime, I’ll ponder the thought of becoming an expert in creating “great” screenplay names/titles and offer up my services for those in the same predicament as I.  Now the only problem is, “What name should I call my service?” 

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Fade Out…

That’s the two words most screenwriters love to see and say out loud. Why you may ask? Basically it means that all your hard work toiling in front of the computer and pounding away on that keyboard has finally come to an end. The story that had been pining away inside of you finally came out…every character, every dialogue, every scene, every nuance that was worked out in your mind’s eye is now all within your computer.

You lean back in your chair, prop your feet on the desk, stretch your arms and take pride in your creation. Your “baby” has finally come to life. You think it’s a work of art, a complete perfection, the “best damn story” that was written in all of history.

Your mind drifts off to what might be as a result of completing this “amazing script.” Delusions of grandeur pop into your head, and rightfully so. It’s good to think that. It gives us a sense of self-confidence…realists see this as false hope. But who cares! You created something from nothing and that’s no easy task.

Once everything settles, reality sets in and you soon realize that this is just the beginning. The real work comes into play. You’re going to have to do a ton of rewrites…WHAT?! But you thought it was perfect, how can you improve on a masterpiece?! This is your “baby” we’re talking about.

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Sad to say what you thought was impeccable, now has a bunch of flaws. Parts of the story doesn’t flow well, terrible dialogue, nondescript scenes and useless characters are the defects that stings the very fiber of your core. What you once thought was great, has now been reduced to ashes; remnants a novice’s attempt lay at your feet.

You start to question your credentials as a writer and think how can this possibly be fixed. Doubt creeps in; stress and anxiety soon take over and all your creative juices are all out of whack. You’ve just made the possible something completely insurmountable.

Don’t really know if other writers go through this, but I’ve experienced this numerous times. At the moment I’m about to throw in the towel, an epiphany of why I write hits me like a lightning bolt. I take a deep breath (actually several), grit my teeth and press on.

My love of writing will outweigh any type of insecurities that I have. I look at it as if I’m polishing a diamond in the rough; my story has the potential, I just need to add a few key elements to bring out and display that passion that I had while writing it.

After completing my first rewrite, I’ll take a break and then come back to it to do a second and a third rewrite. For me, anything after three is overkill. Once my script’s done, I lean back in my chair, prop my feet on the desk, let loose a gratifying smile and bask in the satisfaction that I was able to endure the true writer’s journey…FADE OUT.

So many stories, so little time to write.

As a writer, the one key dilemma that I often encounter is having too many stories in my head and too little time to get them all out onto my computer.  Granted not all of them are good but nonetheless it’s a story.  Sometimes when I’m finished writing one story and about to start the next intended one, a new idea pops into my head and I have the urge to work on that on.  It’s times like these that I wish I was the mutant Jamie Madrox aka “Multple Man” from the X-Men comics or better yet Uzumaki Naruto and then I could perform Kage bunshin no jutsu. I could produce thousands of clones of myself and work on them till it’s finished…no wait maybe not thousands cause otherwise I’d run out of stories.  Anyhow the key problem is just having too many ideas in my head and not enough time to write it out and give it the proper care it needs to become a good story. There are times that I end up putting ideas on the back burner to work on the ones that I truly feel passionate about.  It’s so hard to do because each idea or story is precious to me and I feel that sometimes if I abandon it, I may never get another chance at coming up with a new one.  Guess that’s the fear that all writers have…not being able to come up with something new.  That’s the price we all pay and that’s why I guess my dilemma will never be resolved…sigh.  Just have to live with the fact that I have a ton of stories in my head and so little time to write them all down.