The Worst Thing About Writing

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Whether it be professional, recreational or therapeutic, being a writer can be the most exhilarating craft of all.  You get to expound your thoughts, ideas, dreams or fantasy onto paper for all the world to see.  You’re essentially the master of your realm; your creativity knows no bounds.  The inner voice inside of you takes over and the words you use to display your soul shines through.  It’s the best thing ever. 

However, the one dreaded thing about writing is when you hit a dry spell.  At some point we run out of ideas or struggle to think of something to talk about.  It can be one of the most frustrating things to experience.  You’d think that as a writer, you’d have a plethora of golden nuggets to pick and choose from.  Sadly, that’s not the case.

We wrack our brains trying to come up with something fresh, something new, the next exciting thing that only you could have dreamt up.  Alas that’s not the case.  We sit and stare at a blank screen; typing a word or sentence that is soon deleted a couple of seconds later.  It either sounded too ridiculous or something that was not quite our true thoughts. 

We look high and low for new inspirations or turn to a friend or family member to be our muse.  Sometimes we hit gold and other times we crap out.  But the greatest thing about getting writer’s block is that, we as writers will continue to search for that next thing that excites us into crafting our thoughts into the words of our soul. 

Writers are an eccentric and eclectic bunch that have a “Never give up” mentality.  That’s why we continue to do what we do.  It’s a love that can never be extinguished.  So the next time you have writer’s block, just remember that there are others out there staring a blank screen just like you.  We are writers, united in thought…united in passion.

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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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Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

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For all my life I’ve tried to be an eternal optimist in a somewhat pessimistic world.  (To be more specific, I’ve applied that thought to my life as an aspiring screenwriter.) Lately, however, I’ve been trying to adopt that to my personal life.

 You have to believe that otherwise your life would be desolate and miserable.  No matter how bad things may get, you should never feel hopeless because better days do lie ahead.  There is a light at the end of that long tunnel, it may be big as a spotlight or small as a penlight flashlight, but it is there.

 Believe me, there are some days when my convictions and faith are tested to the limits.  A bad day at work, an injury, arguments aplenty, caught in terrible weather, rejected for a prospective job, someone close passes away, illness…the list can go on and on and on.  Everything bad, whether insignificant or huge, becomes fodder for our mind’s consumption. 

 We’ve all been there and I know that each and every one of you’ve said the same thing – “WHY’S THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!”

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 It’s times like these when you start to wonder if there’s some validation to all the pessimism out there in the world.  Your outlook starts to look grim and any chance of bliss seems futile.  You begin to get envious of those around you whose luck and good fortune seem to line up effortlessly. 

 Once you get into that mindset, it’s SO difficult to recover; if you can’t, then you become another statistic in a world of pessimistic drones.  I’m not going to lie I’ve fallen into that trap numerous times, enough to the point where I have a plaque with my name engraved there.  But I’ve learned that no matter what, there really is brighter days ahead.

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 Anytime you encounter a bad situation and feel like it’s the end of the world…STOP!  Soak in what happened and know that you are not the only one experiencing something “catastrophic.”   There are millions upon millions of people out there going through a similar or maybe even worse situation.  You are not alone!  Turn to God and pray if that’s your faith, confide in family members and friends, or spend time with your beloved pet to get some clarity on your life.

 For every negative thing that happens, there’s some good that comes from enduring our ordeals.  We may be able to see it clearly, it may be subtle or it may reveal itself down the road.  Either way, something positive will always appear. 

Overcome each hurdle one at a time, jumping over the smallest one first.  Clearing one impasse leads the way to clearing the rest of the hurdles ahead of you.

 Who knows, we might discover a new found friend, gain confidence from an underlying skill we never knew we had or learn something useful…there are countless of things that could arise.  So in essence, there is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak situation; we just have to have a positive outlook. 

 We should instead think of possibly the worst situation we could be in and compare it to what we’re facing.  I’m sure it pales in comparison.  We’re alive and we get to see another day; some people are not so lucky.  Just relish in the fact that we’ve conquered past obstacles and live to tell the tale.  That’s an accomplishment in itself.

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 So when things don’t go your way, just stop, take a deep breath, soak in all that bad vibes and reflect on your life for a moment.   Look around you, look at your family, look at your friends, examine your life for a bit…reminisce on all the good times and laughter shared.  Revisit all those joyous memories and know that you’ve become a stronger person because of that.  Keep the faith in knowing that there’s always a glimmer of hope in the most dire of situations.

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It’s Showtime!

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As an avid movie goer and struggling screenwriter, I constantly look forward to upcoming new movies; in my case it’s action, thrillers, animation and comedies.  Let’s face it, I’m a guy and those are the things that keep me most interested in my love of movies.

 At the start of each year, I look at the release dates of all the prospective movies that I must see and jot them down on my “Must See” movie list.  After that’s done, I make another list called my “Must Get DVD” list; it’s mainly for movies that I want to see but feel that I could wait until the DVD comes out.   

 Now…back to my “Must See” list; I post it in my cubicle at work and look at the release date of the movie and the current date.  I was never good in math but my mind quickly calculates the countdown clock in my head as to how long before I’m sitting in that theater watching that movie with mouth agape and eyes wide open in pure awe.

 In the days leading up to the release, I constantly peruse my favorite movie sites anxiously waiting to get a glimpse of that first trailer. 

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Viewing it once is never enough, I need to see it three, four…heck ten times just to soak in and absorb what I missed the first time around. 

 Months turn to weeks and then to days as I wait in baited breath for that second trailer and a final trailer of that “Must See” movie on my list.  Seeing it several times over and over again is the process that I have to go through to catch all the nuances of what I’ll be seeing once I get into that theater.

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 Tick, tock, tick, tock…the countdown in my head starts as I wait in feverish anticipation to all the amazing things I’ll be seeing.  I look at my favorite sites to see who got the chance to preview the movie early and see if they divulged any small spoilers about what to expect.  I’m the kind of person that like hearing these things; it never ruins the movie for me.  If it’s on my “Must See”, nothing will detract me from going to see it. 

 The only thing in the build up to seeing a movie on my “Must See” list that I don’t thoroughly enjoy are the early reviews.  If it’s a good one, I’ll read it; guess it’s a way of validating what I knew all along about why I chose this movie. 

 If it’s a bad one, I’ll read it quickly and completely ignore it; sometimes critics over analyze a movie to the point of exhaustion.  If a movie entertained me and made me forget about all my problems for two and a half hours, then it did its job!  End of story!

 On movie day, I purchase my ticket, get the necessities and choose a seat all the way at the back of the auditorium so that I can view this movie in grand spectacular fashion.  It can’t get here any quicker; I constantly look at my watch and watch the minutes wind down.  When the lights dim, I lean back in my chair and sigh in utter relief that that time has come; it’s finally…SHOWTIME!