Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Checking in

Right when I finished my 30 days project, I was faced with a looming deadline on a script at work, which took up every minute of my time at work and at home. And then, I was faced with a crisis where I switched from just a feminist to an Angry Feminist (it started with the Marcia, Marica, Marcia episode of American Crime Story), and since then, I've been full of rage and asking everyone when the new planet will be ready, so that I can leave this place and take only the wonderful people with me. 

Bloggable things have happened, but I've been too angry to write about them. One would argue that I should write about the stuff that makes me angry. Well, I tried, and I couldn't get it to sound not-insane. So instead, let me give you a run down of just a few things that have happened over the past few weeks that I want to remember:

1. For a while, Maddie was saying "BINGO" instead of "jinx." We told her the word is "jinx," but she can't remember that, so now she says "JENGA!" It's the best.

2. I asked Isabella what she wanted the Easter bunny to bring her, and she said, "Candy! And a note. I want the Easter bunny to write me a note." Okay.

3. Election coverage was on, and Maddie said, "Why is there never a girl president?" That was about 2 weeks ago and I haven't stopped hugging her. 

4. I'm really excited for March to be over. These primary Tuesdays are killing me. 

5. I received an honorable mention for the story I submitted to NYC Midnight. I hated the story I submitted, but it got me writing again, and out of 40 entries in my heat, 5 moved on to the next round and 3 got honorable mentions. I'm trying to remind myself I don't suck. This helps. 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Day 30

Yesterday was day 30 of my self-imposed 30-entries-in-30-days. Here is what I learned, in no particular order:

1. Perfection is not even worth my time. I wrote 24 entries, not 30. I started to panic about it when I realized I was more than 2 days behind. But then I reminded myself that hey, I've written more in the past month than I have in the past year, so let's focus on that.

2. People like reading what I write. Some entries were more popular than others, and it wasn't always easy to predict which entires would be popular. Also, it was surprising to me to see who WASN'T reading - and by that I mean who didn't comment on Facebook, or who didn't "like" any of my entries, or who didn't even notice I was writing more again. I didn't take this as judgment - it was just very clear that more people OUTSIDE my circle were very much interested, and were supportive and excited to see I was writing. So... I don't really know what to make of that. But my takeaway is that I do have an audience, and while it's important to me to write for myself, it's nice to know people want to read.

3. None of us are baby geniuses. A friend said this to me a few weeks ago and it stuck with me. I have this underlying fear that because I can't write The World According to Garp, I shouldn't write anything at all. First of all, that is nonsense. Secondly, it is not even a unique thought. It's such a boring and common thought, so I'm trying to shut that up, and I've realized that my writing is something that will get better with practice, as opposed to writing it off as "not good enough."

4. I am a writer. This is more a reminder than a realization. All I need to do to hold on to this title is write. I don't need to get published, I don't need to be perfect, I don't need people to tell me I'm good. I just need to write.

5. I need to think like a writer. This is probably the biggest change over the past month. The more I make time for writing in my life, the more I think like a writer - I see more, I listen more, I'm more curious, I'm more empathetic and understanding. This all makes the writing come a little easier, and it starts to feel like it's easier to write than to NOT write (which is something Julia Cameron promises in The Artist's Way).

6. The "why" is important, but not always necessary. I have a constant conversation in my head about WHY we tell stories, and why we feel compelled to create. This kind of goes with number 3. The why is definitely important, but not having it should never prevent me from writing.

7. I have no idea what kind of stuff I want to write. My go-to is short fiction. But sometimes I want to write a novel. Other times, a play. Other times, a screenplay. Sometimes, a web series. It's okay to not know... but I plan on spending the next few months working on various things to try to figure out what it is I actually love.

8. Any kind of creativity fuels my writer-brain. In the past month, I have sketched at least two things, I have taken more pictures, I have colored with the kids and on my own, and I even helped Maddie write a book. This is all stuff that feels ridiculously good, and it fuels the fire in my head. So no matter what, I need to keep creating.

9. No one is making the rules but me. This is tricky - I do best under deadline and when people are counting on me. I'm terrible at holding myself accountable to ME. But I have to exercise this muscle. I can't let it become atrophied again. So... I don't know how to do this other than to just keep showing up. We'll see how that goes.

Thanks to everyone who read and encouraged me to keep writing. It's working.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


"Should you fail to pilot your own ship, don't be surprised at what inappropriate port you find yourself docked."

-Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

It's that time of year in Los Angeles when the whole city smells like jasmine. It can get overwhelming at times, but when it first starts happening, every year around this time, it is nothing short of delightful.

Every year when this happens, it makes me think of when I first moved here, and it fills me with nostalgia and dread. How have I been here this long? How have I let this much time pass, and I'm still not doing exactly what I want to be doing?

I think I've finally - FINALLY - reached the point in my life where I actually believe I am capable of doing what it is I want to do, and I don't have to wait for someone to give me the opportunity. I'm finally seeing that the only thing I lack is motivation and belief in myself, and if I can just get past those, I can do all of those things I think are impossible.

My life is good. My ship isn't where I thought it would be, but it's not in unfriendly waters, and my ship mates are supportive. I'm taking small steps to right the course. It might not be immediately productive, but it feels way better than just trusting the night stars.