Forgetting That Things are Supposed to Be Fun

6 06 2010

I have a bad habit of giving myself assignments that I know I won’t be able to keep up with.

When I originally started this blog, I did it with the intention of posting a new post for every calendar day of 2010. I would miss a post here or there, making up for in within hours.

That was, at least, until I started to get busy. Coming home from work and crashing onto my bed led to me missing days at a time. These days turned into a month.

I made an effort to catch up, posting things that I’ve written on other sites and making sad excuses. I didn’t really catch up.

What happened after reminded my of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Let me explain.

I managed to make it to the end of Uncharted 2, right to the fight with the final boss. The lighting engine in my TV broke and I used it as an excuse to take an Uncharted hiatus.

Every time I would put in a different game, I could feel the ghost of Nathan Drake haunting me. His stay in purgatory I imposed on him caused me to feel an unnecessary guilt every time I played anything other than Uncharted 2.

That’s what happened to this blog. I knew that the amount of posts I needed to write in order to catch the “post a day” quota was becoming insurmountable. Not to mention, in order to keep with a stylistic theme, I also needed to find a picture to go with the story.

Well, no more. If I make my quota of 365 posts by the end of the year – then so be it. If not, we’ll all live and go on with our lives. The deadline has been counter-productive. If ignoring it can lead to some productivity, I’ll embrace it.

What can you expect on here now is posts about whatever happens to be on my mind – whenever they happen to come up. It’ll probably still be quite often though. No worries about word counts. No worries about the date of the posting. Just uninhibited me.

Hope you like it.

(I did beat Uncharted 2, by the way.)


Day Fifty – Powering Through

19 02 2010

Writer’s block is an interesting concept. It’s an excuse for an excuse to not write. It’s true that sometimes I have a hard time coming up with something to write, but that’s because I’m thinking of something less hard to do. Still, writer’s block is basically not wanting to write. There’s only one solution:


Write whatever is in your head. Just start writing, get all the junk out of the way and eventually you’ll find what you wanted to write about. Today is Day 50 of 365. I could have claimed I had writer’s block on at least 30 of those, but I just powered on through. 

This was my ideal writing space for a while, until policy changed and my time in here was limited.

By forcing myself to write every day, I’ve found writer’s block to become less and less of a problem. Using this blog as a way to get my finger tapping the keys, I get my mind working. The brain is like a muscle, and until lately, it hasn’t been getting much exercise. Much like the rest of my body.

Up until a little while ago, I lost my willingness to make that push to get something down on the blank page. I had a million excuses. I was too busy. I should be looking for a different door to get my foot in. I was waiting for the inspiration to hit my like a dodgeball in gym class.

My most productive time was when I was working projection at an old movie theatre. There were only six screens, so once the shows were started, I had about an hour to myself. I would have only the light reflecting of the walls from the projectors to light my pen and paper. I would have tons of ideas for screenplays, TV shows, novels, comics.

I actually managed to get a couple of specs done, too. I sent them out to Hollywood with such hope and the rejections were sent right back. That was a first excuse of many to wait for something better to appear.

Management changed at the theatre and that productive writing hour was now taken up with running up and down the stairs doing two jobs. I never wrote as much as I did then.

The good news is the intention of this blog is starting to take effect. That constant drive to have something down has spilled over to Final Draft. I haven’t been this excited to write since I was in film school. I’m starting to write more and more. I have 25 pages down on my latest screenplay, with more to come real soon.

Thanks to the 5 of you who manage to visit the site every day or so. I started this blog to exercise my writing and didn’t expect anyone to check it out more than once. Thanks for sticking around. Makes it even more worthwhile to drive towards that arbitrary goal I set for myself.

Hopefully by 100 posts, the screenplay will be done and these habits I’m developing will stick.

Day Thirty-Seven – Better Late Than…

6 02 2010

So it finally happened. I wasn’t able to keep up with my deadline of having a new post everyday, after doing so for 36 days.

Though I was pretty busy today, not with anything important, but with movie-screenings and UFC 109. The main excuse for not having anything ready was I hit a case of Writer’s Block.

Straight out of the dishwasher.

The Mug hissed at me today, feeling the irony once again.

I hit a wall. I couldn’t convince myself to do anything at all, so I did nothing. I wrote about Telefilm, the NFB and the UFC, but nothing seemed good enough. Nothing seemed like it was right.

And that’s the main thing that you need to get over Writer’s Block. Just give up on trying to write something that feels right and just write through it. Sure, you won’t write anything too spectacular, but you’ll get the train rolling again, and that’s what’s important at the end of the day. Getting words on the page. Or, in this case, on the screen.

The fear of not being good enough is enough to cripple anyone into submission. Yet, that’s the key right there. Don’t give into the fear. Just keep pushing forward. It’s something I’m still learning to do today.

The year I finished film school, I wrote two spec scripts, one for Entourage and another for Smallville. Reading them today, I can tell that I’ve improved from then. Still, back then, this was my ticket to Hollywood. My first try, I would be called up and on the WB lot in no time.

I sent my screenplays through Canada Post the day they were due and waiting with anticipation for my letter to come in the mail, inviting me to hang out with Spielberg and Scorsese. Instead, I got a kindly worded letter telling me I needed some work.

I took that note and stored it away, thinking it was just a small stumbling block. Instead, it was a road block. Deep down, I must have let it get to me, because I never completed a screenplay beginning to end that I didn’t scrap immediately.

I’m learning to power through it. I’m learning not to let the kindly worded rejection get to me. I’m learning to get over my fear and just do it.

Just write…like that.

Day One – The Ironic Mug aka The Useless Writer’s Challenge

1 01 2010
Straight out of the dishwasher.

The Mug that laughs at the irony with each sweet sip of Timmies.

Every time I sit to drink a coffee, I stare at my ironic mug as it laughs back at me. Proudly exclaiming “WRITER” on either side. The mug, though it was a gift, originally gave me a sense of pride and purpose. Now  it’s just a sad reminder of how little I’ve done in the past 5 years.  I’ve taken classes, online and in person, read books and magazines and even joined writers groups. All while never really writing very much.

To date, I have two scripts which I’ve completed thoroughly enough to permit sending out.  Both of which were promptly sent back with a “thanks, but no thanks” from the Warner Bros. Writer’s Workshop. Just a small stumbling block in what would become a budding career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles.

Clearly, that has not been the case. In order to have any forward movement, I would need to try again. Instead, I allowed excuses to get in the way. I gained weight, I dug myself deep into debt and I wrote next to nothing. A short story here or there, but nothing that to get me to that once so attainable goal.

Which brings me to this blog.

A writer must write. Not when I have time. Not when I’m inspired. Not when I have something to write about. Just when it’s time to write. Therefore, I’ve set a goal for myself:

Write a post for every day of 2010

I realize this is no easy task when I’m motivated like an over-fed house cat, but that’s what makes it a challenge. In most cases, I am unwilling to commit to anything that doesn’t involve a steady pay-cheque, therefore I feel I need to set some ground rules:

  • Daily posts can be written ahead of time, set to post on the next free day. This will leave no excuse for the inevitability that I will need to stop writing for a day or two.
  • Text-based posts will be no shorter than 350 words. Shouldn’t be hard to do as I tend to ramble on and on.
  • Topics can range from anything to editorials, diaries, reviews, short stories and screenplays. Basically, keeping everything wide open to keep things fresh.
  • Posts can originate from anywhere. If I post a review on Yelp!, The Movie Marathon or any other website, I must include a link to the original post, which must be written on the day that it is posted on this blog.
  • A new post must be up for every calendar day of 2010.

These rules are easy enough to abide by.

I’ve always dreamed of doing a web-comic, a tv-pilot, a spec screenplay, a short documentary and some type of video game. Now I’ve given myself the excuse to go through with it. With a little luck and fortitude, this little experiment will give me the confidence to go through with these projects.

If nothing else, my mug will be slightly less ironic.