I Am A Writer

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Being a writer, professional or amateur, whether it be in screenplays, novels, short stories, poems, blogs, articles, is one of the greatest feelings to experience.  We proudly claim that title and revel in the pure joy of our creations.  We are the dreamers that have no limits and our imaginations are vastly unique.

We, as writers, follow our heart and passionately tell stories of love, inspiration, hope, despair, sadness, joy and humor; it can come from personal experience or it could be purely fictional.

Our urge to let loose our “inner voice” and send them into the world is quite courageous.  Our vulnerability is on full display.  We subject ourselves to complete and total strangers who will either love it, hate it, criticize it, berate it, praise it, be informed by it or be inspired by it.

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We learn from it, accept it and grow to become even better artists of our craft.  Regardless of the outcome, we persevere.  Writers love what they do; writing nurtures our artistic soul.  It fills a need that non-writers can’t understand.

Writers continue on with their journey because it’s never-ending.  The path will only end when our mind’s well runs dry.  But all my fellow writers know, that’ll never happen.

So to all my fellow colleagues, remember that you are a writer!  Don’t ever forget that only “you” can be the one to tell “your” stories.  You are the masters of your craft; it’s a lifestyle formed from countless hours of blood, sweat and tears with a heavy dose of passion and heart.

Write, write every day.  Follow your heart and always dream big.

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Where To Find That Fountain Of Endless Ideas

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I know I’ve broached the subject on what to blog or not blog before, but I just can’t seem to let it go.  So please forgive me if I sound like a broken record. 

Being a writer, I’ve always made it a point to write often and consistently; it’s the only way that we as writers get better at our craft.  When I’m writing a screenplay, I just seem to have an endless supply of ideas…a flash flood of thoughts just inundate my brain and there is no barrier to quell it.  But that’s a good problem to have in that instance.

In the case of my blog site though, I tend to hit a road block week after week.  You’d think that after two years of having this site I’d be a pro by now, but that isn’t the case.  I’m one of the unfortunate ones that just doesn’t have a niche.

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I hate to say this but I’m quite envious (more like jealous) of the blog sites that I follow.  They all seem to have found their “voice” and are excelling at making their site exceptionally well thought out.  Their writing is intriguing and holds me emotionally; I actually become invested into what they have to say. 

Day after day, week after week, their vast array of topics are fresh, interesting and sometimes unconventional; it’s like they have an unlimited amount of ideas to choose from at their disposal.  Sigh…I wish that I could be like them…they’re my idols.

For me to come up with a topic on my blog site is somewhat excruciating.  I never really know what I’m going to write until the day before, and even then it’s not the best of topics sometimes.

You might say, “Then why do you have to write something every week?  Why don’t you write once a month?  Or why don’t you write when you have something relevant to say?”

I can answer all those questions in one simple answer – I’m a writer…plain and simple.  I have to write on a consistent basis to get better at my craft.  I’m not the most eloquent, artistic, humorous or intelligent of writers but I love what I do nonetheless.     Idea7

This sense of freedom; getting into a Zen-like state where you pen “heart” to paper and let it loose upon the internet masses. This is what I enjoy the most.

So I guess I’ll never crack this dilemma of the conception for new weekly blog ideas.  Maybe that’s good thing, who knows.  All I know is that I’m still here sitting at my desk…writing…because “I am a writer.”Idea8

How A Filofax Created My “Bucket List”

 As I rummaged through the closet looking for something that I can’t even remember, I stumbled upon my Filofax.  Yes, I did say Filofax. 

 For those born in the 21st century, it’s a small looking folder that contains a calendar, day planner, notepad, plastic sleeves, ruler, pen holder, calculator, etc…  Basically it’s a personal organizer that helps you to manage your time, appointments, meetings and tasks.Bucket9

 It’s really a folder that you write down all the things you need or want to do on a given day and reference it when you can’t recall what it is you were supposed to do. 

 Back in the 90’s it was a real popular thing to have but I resisted the urge to have one because I felt it “dumbed” you down and made you prone to not using your brain to remember things. 

 When I saw the movie “Taking Care of Business” with Jim Belushi and Charles Grodin, my views on the Filofax changed.  I somehow became obsessed with owning a Filofax, even though I had no need for one.  I caved in and bought one to my delight; “I HAD A FILOFAX AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERED!

 Since I was in college, I had nothing on my plate except for my classes; I spent money on this thing so I felt like I had to write something in the Filofax to validate me buying the damn thing.Bucket10

 I jotted down my class times even though I already knew the schedule by heart.  I could not think of a single thing to put in it; one fateful day while in class, as the professor was droning on about God knows what, I wondered what I wanted to accomplish in my life.  Now I know that people make bucket lists all the time, but I started to do this when it wasn’t something popularly spoken. 

 One day I had one goal, the next day another and the next day another.  Soon I ended up with 4 and a half pages of things I wanted to accomplish or “Life Goals” as I called it, since I didn’t really know what a bucket list was at the time.

 My list wasn’t extreme like going skydiving, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks or climbing Mount Everest; my goals centered around my career in being an established writer, getting literary representation, sell my screenplays, finding a soulmate, getting married and buying a house just to name a few.

 It wasn’t exciting or glamorous but they were “MY” goals; they were all attainable only if I was committed to seeing it through.  As the years flew by, that Filofax of mine soon became a fixture in an obscure corner of a book shelf and then somehow ended up in storage within my closet. 

 Don’t ask me how or why that had occurred, but it did.  I guess somewhere along in my life things happened that caused me to forget about what I had wanted to accomplish.

 So cut to the present and back to the start of this post, when I stumbled across this decrepit Filofax I immediately opened it and rifled through the pages to where I scribbled my “Life Goals”.

As I looked through the list I made 20 some odd years ago, I grabbed a pen and started to check off what I had accomplished.  The ones that were accomplished put a smile on my face and satisfaction rippled down my spine. Bucket5

As for the ones that I didn’t do, I paused for a moment to wonder why that was.  Clearly it was something that I can still do.  “What’s stopping me?” is all that I could think of.  I felt that it was still a “Life Goal” that I still want to attain.

 As of this writing, I am trying my best to see things through and accomplish what I set out to do when I was a young man in college.  With a little luck, hard work and dogged determination, I know I’ll check off every single one of my “Life Goals” before I take leave of this Earth.  

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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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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