Good Intentions

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Ever go to bed the night before thinking of all the things you’re going to get done tomorrow and how productive you will be and then when tomorrow gets here you suddenly don’t have the stamina you though you would and your productivity is left wanting? This is like my everyday off. All I want to do is sleep, read, watch tv, or bike. None of which includes writing, selling my scripts, or building my website.

See that comic up top? That is like my everyday when it comes to writing. Sometimes I think that maybe if I were to change my surrounding environment that would help but I’ve worked from home, the library, coffee shops, restaurants, and the like. I think maybe I should cut myself off from social media and the internet completely but distractions come in other forms like cleaning my bathroom, or suddenly needing to clear that pile of papers on my desk, or discovering I am out of milk and therefore having to go to the store.

Good intentions are great but they are just that, intentions. Unless there is a purpose or actions behind them they are meaningless. I need to get back on track so that my intentions become actions and that I don’t just wish I will be productive tomorrow but know that I had been productive today.

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Keep Your Writing Flowing

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As a writer I come up with stories all the time and frequently keep them in a notebook just to keep them straight. A lot of the time the stories are simply concepts or one liners that come to me, or even lines of dialogue that don’t really fit in anything else. But just because I create what I think are great ideas (at the time) it doesn’t necessarily mean that I follow through with those stories. Sometimes they remain just a line or two in my notebook and sometimes they evolve into something more.

The important thing about story creation is just allowing yourself to create the story. A lot of times I put pressure on myself to get things done by a certain time or try to force the story to come out. But the problem with that is sometimes the story suffers because of this pressure or I just want to stop writing altogether because it not longer seems fun. Writing isn’t always going to be fun and easy for me but if I lose sight of the enjoyment of it, it just becomes monotonous joyless work and that is the worst kind of work.

That’s being said here are some fun ways to keep the creative juices flowing:

  • Eat Something Delicious. Have you ever been upset with your writing while eating cheesecake or strawberries? Didn’t think so. Just be careful not to get those delicious things on your keyboard. Yeah… not fun.
  • Think Big PictureWhen I create a story I start by making index cards or checklist with the main plot points. I create the whole story with this. A lot of times I get frustrated with writing the more detailed stuff of stories like the what the scene looks like and what the characters are wearing. I come back and look at the big picture of the story and it helps me to get grounded again.
  • Reread What You Wrote. I know there are some cardinal rules out there about writing first and rereading once you finished. But sometimes I like to go back and read what I’ve done. It throws me from the writer seat into the reader seat. I get to the end and go “that’s it?!” then laugh because obviously I haven’t written anymore.
  • Take a Walk. There is a park by my house that I love to stroll through. There is something about it that moves my creative spirit. Find that place for you and visit it whenever you need a break.
  • Close Your Eyes. Not to sleep! But to imagine the story as it plays out. A lot of times I get trapped trying to keep up the details of the story. I’ll have five characters in a room and finish a scene only to realize I lost one of the characters in the story. They were there and then they disappeared. To keep track I stop and imagine myself viewing the story with as much detail as possible then translate that to the page.
  • Tell the Story to Someone Else. When you have to explain your story to someone you start to see the parts that are missing, especially when they ask questions about certain things. It’s easy to have the whole picture in your head but telling the story to someone else helps you to realize just how whole the picture is on paper.
  • Listen to Music.  Usually when I write a script I create a playlist of music that is specific to the feeling of that script. When I play the music it stirs emotions in me and I put that toward the script. It also helps me to stay focused in the moment of writing.

It important to find ways that help you keep your writing fresh for you, that way you finish can be just as strong as your start.

Got any other ways you keep creative juices flowing? Let me know below.

Image courtesy of winnond/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday Fun: Freelance Comics

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Every week the studio blog by Envato publishes a comic strip called Freelance Freedom by N. C. Winters. It is a fantastic depiction of what it means to be a freelancer and what we go through. Here is one of my recent favorites. This is something I have experienced a lot as a filmmaker. Take a look and check out his other work as well.

freelance freedom

 

 

 

Setting Yourself Up: Power of the Imagination

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I woke up this morning to the sound of a snow plow moving snow outside my window. I immediately groaned inwardly because that could only mean on thing, it had snowed. Living in the frozen snowy tundra that is Minnesota there are many mornings like this where it snowed through the night. On this particular morning I had to get up at 5am.

As I laid in bed all I could think about is how much snow must have piled up, how I dreaded having to shovel it, wondering if I will be able to get my car out of the garage, and just how late this was going to make me, having not prepared for it. Even as I got up and started getting ready for the day I still wondered how much snow will be compacted at the end of my driveway and just how heavy that snow was. As I grabbed my breakfast the dread continued to build and build so that by the time I put on my coat and boots I was already in a foul mood.

I stood on the cusp of the garage step and with a heavy sigh and possibly a slight growl I hit the button to find out my doom. What did I see. Not much. Well there was something, about a few inches, but in Minnesota terms it basically equated to just enough to make things annoying but not enough where it won’t be melted by the end of the day. And just like that my spirits were lifted. It’s as nothing was ever wrong in the first place. I promptly got in my car and drove to my destination. Now if only I hadn’t allowed my imagination to run off in the first place I wonder how that would have turned out.

The imagination is a powerful thing. It allows us to create such images that can affect us greatly. Which is why it can also be very dangerous. In my case I have dreamt up such mounds of snow that I thought I would be shoveling for hours, late to where I was going, and subsequently put into a foul mood. Essentially I was put off before I even knew the outcome. Now let’s apply that to taking on new things.

Sometimes we are put off of doing things, namely those things that are hard or unfamiliar, even prior to starting it. Our imagination conjures up such horrible images as to how everything can and will go wrong that by the time we are done imagining we have given up entirely and put ourselves in a bad mood. Instead of dwelling on the thought of snow and building up the negatives I should have just let it go and faced the challenge head on when it came.

Instead of imagining how everything can go wrong we should imagine how everything can go right. Does that mean it will? No. But going into a situation with a positive outlook sets you up better for facing the challenge even if it doesn’t work out right. So the next time your imagination decides to run off with its friend negativity, bring it back and switch your focus. That way next time your mood won’t be put off before you even see that pile of snow.

Don’t Compare: You vs Everyone else

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As humans we have this constant habit of comparing ourselves to others. We do it when it comes to things, happiness, looks, careers, and what have you. Sometimes we do it without even realizing that it’s happening. And we don’t just compare ourselves but each other. There have been many times that I’ve done this without even realizing and had been surprised. I most often do this when it comes to the career tracks that I have taken in comparison to others.

I see where my friends are in their financial success and often wonder why I can’t do the same thing. Sure I could get a “real” job and work for years under corporate management, making a salary, and climbing the ladder; but that was never what I wanted. So here I am on the other side of it trying to make it as an Entrepreneur, never really committing to a job because I know that is not where I want to end up forever.

Sometimes I think man why didn’t I just pick an easier route?

Because yes, it is much easier to follow a path that has already been made then to carve your own. Not saying the other one doesn’t come with tribulations but it’s different. Do I wish I was were they are financially? Yes. Definitely yes. But do I want to do what they had done to get there? No. What I want is something of a different type of success and that’s why I’ve learned (and keep telling myself) that I can’t compare where I am at to someone else.

So don’t look at your friend who has the successful job while you have the struggling business. And don’t give up because you think the other road is easier because it may not be. Stay on the path that you have taken, you never know just how far you are from the break through.

Poem above is by Robert Frost

Currently Reading: How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

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To be the best you can be you must always continue to learn. As part of this, every week I will share a resource that I have found helpful and that hopefully you would find helpful too.

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

by Steve Scott

This was one of the first books I had picked up when looking to start this blog again. The big thing that hindered me when it came to blog writing was simply having nothing to write. I had built up several blogs before this that had started out strong but then eventually died.

Before starting this one I had to assess just what it was that made me stop. Was it time constraints? Yes and no, but really I could make time if I wanted to. Was it a lack of material? Sometimes yes, but one of the blogs I was doing was an indie movie review blog. There are tons of indie movies out there so really no lack of material. Then what?

I’d realized that I lacked a clear outline and focus of what my blog was truly about and why I was doing it. I also realized that I was using the same type of blog posts again and again and I was seriously craving some creativity. So thus the blogs faded off into a slow oblivion.

What this book does is lays out the basic set ups of blog posts and the usual types blog posts fall into. What makes this beneficial is that you learn how to build a good blog post and start to get and idea of how to structure your blog.

I really needed a kick to get this started because otherwise this would have remained empty and just another failed attempt. This book helped with that and I hope it can help you.

How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers by Steve Scott is available here on Amazon and the best part, it’s a good about of information and resources and it only costs $0.99!

5 Ways to get Inspiration

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Even when I am not writing or working on a project I try to keep the creative juices flowing so that I can be open to ideas whenever they come to me. Which really can be in some of the strangest places. It’s amazing how many different ideas I get when I drive the same stretch of road everyday to work. The road and the path never changes yet something different happens causing me to think differently.

Here are a five things I do to keep those creative juices flowing.

1. Surf the net

This may sound a little counterintuitive considering that you are always told that surfing the net is a time waster, however if you do it with a sense of purpose that will change things. A lot of times I hop onto my computer to check my email, Facebook, and the like. But while I am doing that I am also keeping open to ideas whether it is through someone’s status, a funny meme, or a news report. I never know what is going to capture my attention and turn into a great idea.

2. Read everything

By this I truly mean everything. If you are in a doctor’s office waiting room read every sign, every plaque, every word on every surface. Everything. What’s really fun is reading it really fast in your head. It almost starts to make a weird sentence and then you piece things together that usually wouldn’t have fit.

3. Daydream

By this I don’t mean thinking about a beach vacation while you are stuck in a miserable winter state. Although fun, it’s not very productive. Daydream instead about where you see yourself in the future or if you are writing a story where you see your character going next. A lot of times before I write a story I will daydream it out first knowing how it is going to end and even go off on tangents that may not get written. But by doing this I’ve developed the story or the idea even further.

4. People watch/Observe

Did you know Walt Disney go the idea for the Disney theme parks after watching his kids play in a dilapidated theme park. After observing them and other families he thought to himself how great to would be to have a family centered place to go to that didn’t have the underlying seedy establishments as well. Thus came the idea for Disney theme parks. There are plenty of million dollar ideas out there, you just have to see them.

The other part of this is watching the habits and moments of people. Wonder what brought the person to this particular place today or if they are with someone how that happened. Listen in on conversations. Sometimes you need to get out of the perspective of your own world and hear another’s to understand how some people tick.

5.Talking

Conversations can bring me to the strangest places. Especially when talking with customers. I will meet the kind of people you really would think only existed on television. Sometimes after such a conversation I would think “man they would make a great character” it’s true. I’ve also had many conversations that have led to great ideas. Also they are just great motivators to keep you moving.

Jot it down!

Cultivating ideas are a great way to motivate and to create new projects but you have to write them down when you get them! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kicked myself when I’ve had an idea that was great and then I lost it. Of course there are those times when ideas come and you’re not in a good place to jot them down like the shower or driving. In these instances I try to expand on the idea and keep it running in my head until I can then write it down.

What are some ways that you keep your creative flow moving?