Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Truth be told, I literally thought it would all come so easy, that my future would simply fall into place like the oddly-shapen blocks in a game of Tetris. But life doesn't work like that, the older, wiser version of myself now realizes.
I thought I would have everything all figured out by now, much like most people do, I presume. Yet, here I sit midway through my 27th year on this planet, and I am still at a loss for answers. Although I now know more than ever what I want in life, I have no clue what awaits me in the future.
2010 a.k.a. The Year of Robbie (as I've referred to it sporadically) has been a monumental triumph for my personal and professional development. It was a year marked by several milestones, and as much as I wish I had a crystal ball or even a time-travelling Delorean to tip me off to what I can expect in 2011 and beyond, no such luck.
And - much to my surprise - therein lies perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned in the past 12 months.
I spent much of my childhood and adolescence quietly planning away my future. In fact, I spent so much time plotting exactly what and when I would reach each objective that I forgot one crucial step: actually making things happen.
I've written about the importance of being pro-active in previous Table posts so I'll steer clear of that topic, but the real epiphany here is that... even though I may not have all the answers, I have come to accept that not everything is in my control.
Life takes time to bring you what you want. You just have to stay the course and remain faithful that you won't miss the opportunities life presents to you. Over the trials, tribulations and successes the past year has brought me, I think I'm finally beginning to understand.
I may not be where I thought I would be when I was a kid - and hell, I still have a pile of regrets stirring within me - but maybe... just maybe... I'm exactly where I need to be.
After all, without all my past experiences, I wouldn't be the man I am today. I may not have all the answers in life or know exactly what the future holds, but I feel like I'm more equipped than ever to handle whatever life brings my way.
Armed with the knowledge of what I want and what I'm looking for, all I need to do now is go after it, knowing that with time and patience, I will make my dreams a reality. It's all up to me.
Happy writing... and Happy New Year!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
The most commom excuse I've heard - and I've used this one quite often myself - is that "Life got in the way." While it's true that circumstances sometimes delay the pursuit of our personal goals, the fact is that a very small percentage of us face the extenuating circumstances that truly excuse long-term lack of productivity. More likely, the issue isn't the opportunity, it's lack of motivation.
Let's be honest: The problem isn't that we don't have time to do get things done. The problem is that we lack the motivation to make the time and effort to progress. Every day should, ideally, bring you one baby step closer to your ultimate goal, but this requires time away from distractions and a sharp enough focus to block out all of life's little inconveniences.
The question of motivation then arises... And you must ask yourself, "WHY am I really doing this?" Although the underlying purpose of this blog is to help provide advice and guidance for writers struggling to make it in a world where everyone and their mother thinks they have the chops to have their voices be heard, this question can really be applied to all aspects of life.
It seems to me that, in today's celebrity-obsessed world of social networking sites and reality television, so many people out there do things and then obnoxiously announce the details of their lives not out of a sense of accomplishment or aim towards self-improvement but out of some superficial pursuit of fame. It's almost as if some people are filling their time with activities specifically so that they can have something to share with the masses.
While tools such as Twitter and Facebook can be useful in keeping in touch with distant friends and relatives, they have also perpetuated the worldwide trend favoring celebrity over personal growth. It's the same reason that a little part of me shudders at the thought that nonsensical entertainment like "Jackass 3D" sits atop the box office and crapfests such as "Jersey Shore" and basically anything else that airs on MTV these days are lauded by an entire generation of teens and twenty-somethings.
Maybe this is just a sign that I'm truly becoming too old to fully grasp the next generation's "perception over reality" mindset, but to me, it just seems as if so many people have chosen to live as a caricature rather than as themselves, following their own dreams and goals in life. No one's real. No one's authentic. No one... is doing it for themselves because they are all so focused on creating an "image," on letting others define who they are and who they should be.
And I'm not going to allow myself to sit atop some equine pedestal and claiming that I have all the answers or cling to some delusion of superiority. I'm just a guy like anyone else, and while I too often find myself sharing my daily exploits on Facebook, the difference is that the rationale behind it all is one of the utmost sincerity. I don't put on some facade to try and gain the attention of those around me.
Here's the thing: For so many years in my past, I have felt socially awkward and lacked the confidence that who I am inside is truly enough. So I trapped myself in my own skin, afraid of the criticisms people would hurl in my direction and how those insults would only cause further damage to my sense of self. And because I didn't trust myself and my ability to handle myself, I let numerous opportunities, personal and professional, slip past me.
However, times have changed. Now - and especially in the last couple of years - I have become increasingly comfortable in my own skin and have systematically taken steps to progress in all areas of my life. I have continually met and actually exceeded my professional goals and have kept busy in a number of "extracurricular" activities. I have steadily developed my own personal social network and moved into my very own living space for the first time. I have also reclaimed my desire to progress with my creative writing and get into better physical shape. And most importantly, I'm no longer afraid to share who I am with the people around me. Or, at least, I'm becoming more and more open with being exactly who I am inside.
And all the little quirky things about myself that I once tried to keep hidden away... the fact that I like to do impressions and voices, that I really enjoy singing and actually can carry a tune, that I possess a vast and random assortment of entertainment knowledge and that I have a wry and playful sense of humor... I am now free to share with the people I know personally, with my Facebook "friends," with each and every person I meet.
I've said this before, but let me reiterate. Unlike a lot of people who focus entirely on the moment, I see the big picture. I view my life as a journey, and while I may regret certain segments of the past and worry about what awaits me in the future, the fact of the matter is that the present is all about me doing what I need to do for me to get my life in order.
Somewhere in today's fame-centric world, people forgot that the only one you really need to win over is yourself. If you possess that sense of purpose, that understanding of and love for yourself and your place in the world, that pride in the fact that you are working to become the very best person you possibly can be, that's all that matters. Everything else will simply fall into place from there.
Monday, September 20, 2010
this was originally posted at TheFamousAshleyGrant.com
A common misconception about freelance writing is that it is glamorous and fabulous with work coming in all the time and everything moves swiftly and smoothly. Are you ready for the hard truth? It ain’t all cherries and roses!
As a freelance writer you are a one man band. Below is a list of just a few hats you will wear.
Everyday you will be pimping yourself out to new clients. You have to call, email and practically harass everyone you know to get work. Once you are lucky enough to get work, you have to convince these people they still need you.
Bookkeeper and Accountant
You are now responsible for sending invoices, paying bills, following up on payments. You also get to have the task of making sure supplies are stocked up.
You have to run the whole show and decide what will fill each hour you work. When will you go to lunch? What time can the meeting with a potential client fill? How long can the meeting last?
Radell Hunter said, “Learning to manage our time is an important way to reduce stress in our lives.” View her top ten time management tips HERE
There is no one else to answer the phone, check email, send the faxes, doing research etc… All these tasks that can be delegated to others now fall on you. However, there is the option of getting a virtual assistant. The catch is making sure that they won’t cost you more than you are making.
Ferrero Stella said, “Virtual assistant offer you all the facilities, which you can avail from an office-based personal assistants. Their tasks range from appointment scheduling to internet research to offer you an ease in completion of your numerous tasks.” Read her story on How to Select a Cost Effective Virtual Assistant HERE
In many cases you will end up having to take your own pictures. For some people just the thought of using a camera for professional use is a scary thought. Hiring a photographer can get pricey and depending on your pay for an assignment it might not be practical.
Now that the photos were taken by you, you have to edit them to make sure they are print ready.
Once you finally get an interview or a subject to write about, it’s time to write the article you hope to be paid for.
Don’t forget once the article is written it has to be checked for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure the word count requirement is met too.
I’m sure there are a lot more hats I haven’t listed here, but all these hats are what keep freelance writing so interesting. If freelance writing is something you are considering pursuing, it is important to think about all of the factors involved. Sometimes it can make the decision of whether or not to pursue it as a full time job an easy one.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
The below post is by Kai Elan, a freelance writer and blogger currently sharing her experiences from halfway around the world on her blog. Check out her work at www.kai-elan.com and enjoy her post below.
Writing for One, for All
by Kai Elan
In the course of writing, there tends to be pressure to be a great writer. Even good would suffice. Being a good writer can involve several techniques: the techniques of the creative input, the organization of the writing, the voice of the writer, the choice of words, fluency in the sentences, and the grammar consistency (http://www.ttms.org/writing_quality/writing_quality.htm). These techniques for evaluation are important, however, pertaining to writing; good writing is not all of these factors. From the writing observed, and in my own writing, there are just a few which compose good writing.
These elements involve:
The topic matter. Is the topic matter interesting, relatable, and relevant? Obviously, people read something because it is interesting. A part of it caught the person’s eye, which influenced the individual to read further. This could be on a conscious level or a sub-conscious level. The piece was relatable in regards to what the person wanted to know about. It is relatable in the sense that the article is about enjoying tennis, and the reader plays tennis or would like to learn about tennis. The writing is also relevant through displaying current information; the reader is able to incorporate it in their life in some way. Old news stories, for example, don’t attract many readers because the stories are no longer relevant.
It is also the grammatical structure. Yes, grammar rules are crucial in writing. However, understanding the difference between a noun modification versus a noun phrase, is not; this is an instance of grammar rules getting even the best writers down. Grammar is constantly changing and evolving. Writers should not feel as inclined to always follow grammar rules as the rules will often change. Grammar rules are important, for the reason, if a sentence is formatted incorrectly or words are spelled wrong, readers are puzzled or frustrated by the message being delivered. Readers know the speech taught and grasp the basic fundamentals of grammar, so it is best to know and understand more than the basics to come across as a competent, good writer.
The voice of the writer is important. It was a tie between voice and word choice. The reason why voice is important to a piece of writing is because good writing utilizes the actual voice of the writer. Writing should sound as if the writer is speaking to its readers. It happens to be through visual words instead. The voice invites readers in or it shuts them out. It showcases the personality of the writer as well as the mood. The questions asked while writing: is the piece inviting, casual, informative, professional, and angry, etc…? Voice creates an angle of objectivity and subjectivity. Based on the voice, it can swing around the entire tone of the piece.
There was hesitation to mention word choice because word choice is a cautious path to take in writing. The issues with word choice are the manner in how words are used, the comprehension, and the suitability of the word. The vocabulary used can confuse the reader, turn the reader off, or appeal to the reader. Not to mention, confusing the writer as well. Yes, the thesaurus feature is great, and it adds some entertaining elements to a bland topic. However, if the writer is not familiar with the particular word, it is best to not use it. The thesaurus does not tend to explain the context of said word; it only relays the definition. The word selected may not make sense to the reader. Word choice can also turn the reader off by simply making them feel incompetent or stupid. Worse even, the reader viewing the writer as stupid because the piece wasn’t written for the proper audience. The goal with word choice is to appeal to readers and even inspire readers to further their writing abilities. Using appropriate words that deliver the effective voice and tying the ideas together.
Good writing and a good writer have different meanings. It is trivial to get caught up with being a good writer. This takes time and practice. This can be about churning out consistent work and utilizing all the methods of good writing techniques. Good writing means, the certain writer was able to relate to their audience and take the piece to another level. Meanwhile, it doesn’t mean the next piece will be as good.
The point is to write because it is enjoyable, not because of a specific writing formula. Writing is a hobby, a pleasant talent to take part in; it should not be viewed as a chore.
Monday, September 6, 2010
I don't know if it's the fact that I'm getting older and seeing so much around me change, but lately, I've taken particular notice to the role that timing plays in everyday life. I'm not certain what the rhyme or reason of it all is... what endgame it's all leading to... and I'm not even going to breach the subject of whether or not there's some higher power overseeing it all because, in the end, it doesn't really matter.
The harsh reality is that everything in life is centered on timing. Call it fate. Call it destiny. Or even a random sequence of events. Everything depends on timing. The job you could've had. The relationship you could've started. The life you could've had. It's all a bit moot to even think about since there's little point in looking back on the missed opportunities of the past. Granted, it's never too late to make changes in life. If you're unhappy about something, stop bitching about it and get a move on.
However, some events are so dependent on all the pieces falling in just the right places for the puzzle to be complete that it becomes a bit like catching lightning in a bottle. As hard as you try and as much as you may want it, you'll never be able to capture that chance again. It's sailed past you, off on its course toward that little corner of your mind with the rest of your life's regrets.
This may sound disparaging, but there's a plus side as well. Here's an example from my own personal experience. During my adolescence, I wasn't particularly social, to the point that I now wish I had taken better advantage of my high school experience and made a little more effort to venture out of my shell. On the other hand, would I have performed well enough academically to get a scholarship for college? Would I be the moderately successful professional I am now if I'd never earned my degree... or would my professional life have remained frozen in place?
I guess my point is that, although it doesn't feel like it at the time, everything we do and every single moment in our lives is a relevant one. It's all leading someplace. Every experience we have affects who we are and how we react and relate to the world around us. It affects our future choices, and each decision we make, each person we encounter and each day we're lucky enough to walk this earth is a critical part in deciding where you'll be 5, 10 years from now.
It's all part of a larger picture, and while some of us (guilty!) get a little too caught up in the big picture, I personally find it a bit perplexing when some people are so devoid of self-awareness that they totally miss out on what's happening around them.
True, in my life, there's a good deal of decisions I would change, of opportunities I would go back and take advantage of. But it's all important in forming who I am today so in a way, I wouldn't change a thing. All I can do at this point is be mindful in the future and try to do the very best I can with the people who enter my life, hoping and praying that each decision I make will lead me to a better place. Because, when it comes down to it, it all matters.
Just take a step back... and look at your life as one big picture. You'll see what I mean.
Happy living, fellow writers...
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Entry Deadline: December 15, 2010
First Place: $500 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $100
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $25
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books.* The names and poem titles of the First through Tenth-Place winners will be printed in the August 2011 Writer's Digest, and afterwards their names will appear on www.writersdigest.com. All winners will receive the 2011 Poet's Market.
For more information and to enter Click HERE
Don't forget to check out www.thefamousashleygrant.com
* Mystery/Crime Fiction
* Science Fiction/Fantasy
The Grand Prize-Winner will receive a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City, $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.
Entry Deadline: November 01, 2010.
Entry Fee: All entries are $20.00 each. You can pay with a check or money order, Visa, Mastercard or American Express when you enter online or via regular mail.
Grand Prize: a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City, $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.
First Prize: The First Place-Winner in each of the five categories receives $500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.
Honorable Mention: Honorable Mentions will receive promotion in Writer's Digest and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.
Entry Deadline: November 01, 2010
READ MORE AND ENTER CONTEST HERE
Don't forget to check out www.thefamousashleygrant.com!!!
How are things going my fellow creative geniuses?
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Anyway, on to the business at hand... even though my apartment search, full-time job and burgeoning social life have cut into the amount of man-hours I've been devoting to my creative writing i.e. the kind I'm NOT getting paid for (at least, not yet...lol), I know that I need to be returning to my dust-covered novel. It's been so long since I paid a visit to my cynical, world-weary protagonist that he's probably starting to resent me for it.
Yet, while I should be filled with a sense of obligation to better realize the universe he inhabits, I am instead finding myself drawn back to another story. Call it creative infidelity if you want, but I keep feeling like this tale - which I previously started but never finished as a screenplay - is screaming to finally be told. I've told some of you that it is my intention to turn this semiautobiographical coming-of-age love story into a trilogy of novellas. And Lord knows that the pages and pages of notes I have are more than enough material to coalesce into an AMAZING story if executed properly.
But here's my quandary: The writing gods always say never to actively begin work on another project whilst your current one remains unfinished. I've already broken this commandment once, and I'm hesitant to let the novel lie for a while longer to tell this much more personal story. However, at the same time, I don't want to let this inspiration slip me by if I'm finally ready to build enough momentum with this project to get it done.
So, in my dilemma, I turn to you, fellow writers. Should I push myself to revise my novel and get that 100% ready to go first or should I allow it to rest comfortably on the backburner while I return to my pet project, which has been simmering in some form or another for the better part of a decade?
Sound off in the comments.. and, as always, happy writing!!!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Article "Why You Shouldn't Work For Free" was written by The Famous Ashley Grant of www.thefamousashleygrant.com Read the entire article HERE
Hey Crooked Table viewers!! Do you have an article that was recently published?
Tell us about it!!! Post a comment with a link and we'll do an article spotlight on you!!
If you are one of our Crooked Table writers then post an article spotlight on yourself. The whole point of being part of The Table is to bring your talent to The Table!!!
Besides there are 2 things every Table viewer/member should remember:
1. There is no harm in shameless self promotion as a writer and
2. Every article you post could give another writer an idea for a new story/Table post!!!
Its versus It’s (and all other apostrophes):
According to a copy editing instructor for California-based copy editing service provider Edicetera, confusing “its” and “it’s” is the most common error in the English language. That one minuscule apostrophe (or lack thereof) drastically changes the meaning of the entire sentence. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is,” whereas “its” refers to possession. Also, watch out for “your” versus “you’re.”
Sales versus Sails
Can you imagine writing on your resume that you “increased sails by 20 percent”?! Unless you’re applying to a job for a sail boat manufacturer, this careless mistake will probably get your resume sailing right into the recycling bin.
Affect versus Effect
There is a lot of confusion around this one but here’s the rule: “Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. It’s as simple as that.
Would Have NOT Would of
The subtlety in pronunciation leads to the rampant misuse of this phrase; however “would of” is never correct and may make you appear as if you are not well-read.
Through versus Threw
“He threw the ball through the window.” “Threw” is a verb and “through” is a preposition. And speaking of “through,” be careful to make sure you don’t actually mean “thorough” or vice versa. The slight variation in spelling will not be picked up by a computer, but writing “I am through” when you mean “I am thorough” is quite ironic, don’t you think?
Then versus Than
Six is more than five; after five then comes six. “Than” refers to a comparison, while “then” refers to a subsequent event.
Supposed To NOT Suppose To
“Suppose” is a verb, meaning to think or to ponder. The correct way to express a duty is to write, “I was supposed to…”
Wonder versus Wander
You can wander around while you wonder why “wander” and “wonder” have such different meanings, yet sound oh so similar.
Their versus There versus They’re
OK, once and for all: “Their” is possessive; “there” refers to distance; and “they’re” is a contraction of “they are.”
Farther versus Further
While both words refer to distance, grammarians distinguish “farther” as physical distance and “further” as metaphorical distance. You can dive further into a project, for instance, or you can dive farther into the ocean.
Please check out www.thefamousashleygrant.com
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Very late on Monday/early into Tuesday I said I was going to be more optimistic and that I would praise myself for things accomplished rather than kick myself for things left undone and I gotta say it was a GREAT day!!!
I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I did get a lot done and am now motivated to get even more done today. I was able to publish a couple of articles, do a few blog posts, got a lot of errands done and purchased the main piece for a photo project I have been saying I wanted to do FOREVER!!!
Today I am pumped and looking forward to a great Wednesday! Happy Hump Day ya'll!!!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I was reading this fascinating story today about two women that took a regular kitchen tool and turned it into a lifesaving device. If you haven't read the story, read the story HERE The reader's digest version of the tale is that Rice University undergraduates Lila Kerr and Lauren Theis were given an assignment to "diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and with a portable device."
What the girls did was transform a simple salad spinner into a centrifuge which "separates blood to allow diagnosis of anemia with no electricity."
The story got me to thinking about how crucial creativity is with freelancing. There are literally thousands of story ideas out there, but coming up with a creative angle is the key to getting your name and your story into the magazines and newspapers.
I used to write business advertorials for a local Tampa magazine and three issues in a row we has to write stories about tile. Yes, boring tile. How did we write three different stories?
The first story was about using tile to be fashionable in the home. You could choose colors and patterns that could transform a room for blah to fabulous.
The second story was about the background of the tile store's owner. We mentioned the fact that he had all kinds of patterns and colors, but focused more on how long the company had been in business and the reputation the company had built in the community.
Last but not least, the third story was about how tile could give your home a cleaner look and upgrade it's value.
One story can have multiple angles. Your job is to find a different one from what has already been published. Sometimes the same angle can be rehashed, but wait a while before suggesting it again. The same story every three months will get old. Give it a year if it isn't timely.
A brainstorming technique that we had to do in one of my journalism classes is find one classified ad and come up with 5 story ideas based on it.
Example- I found an ad for a single man seeking a single women that liked dogs.
5 story ideas I generated from the ad:
-do relationships that start from a want ad ever work out?
-having things in common with your partner will help the relationship last longer
-how does one go about putting a want ad in the paper? what words work best? what do all those abbreviations mean?
-who likes dogs more? men or women?
-does owning a dog mean you're responsible?
Happy Brainstorming everyone! Be Creative and get more gigs!!!
Monday, July 19, 2010
As per usual I'm reflecting on the day since it is late at night and kicking myself for all the things I set out to do and then didn't do.
Here's what I've realized today. When you wake up in a pissy mood, it's easy to stay in a pissy mood. I let myself believe that the day was already ruined because of my mood and thus ruined my entire day because I didn't kick it in the ass upon realization.
What I could have done was gone for a jog, written an article, something proactive! Hmmm...reminds me of a post I read at The Crooked Table about fifteen minutes ago by the fabulous Robert Yaniz Jr.
I actually did accomplish a few things today though. I went grocery shopping, threw out some crap I don't need and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel of disorganization and lack of motivation.
Early this morning I sent off sets of galleries that were going to be published today. I sent off an invoice that has been needing to be sent for a few weeks. I also finished burning 9 CDs worth of images tonight that should have been done a couple of days ago.
Okay, I have huge dreams, but the thing I have to keep in mind is that it is progress to be taking baby steps. I have held onto my dreams for more than 4 years and they are not just going to come true over night. The fact that I did do a few things even though I didn't accomplish everything I had planned to do today is a step in the right direction.
On the docket for tomorrow?
I will be performing as Bubbles the Clown at AMC Regency 24 in Brandon and after that I have a long list of plans towards my dreams and career. I would love to post tomorrow night that I checked off every single thing on my list, but rather than beat myself up for missions unaccomplished, I have decided I will instead praise my self for things I do get done.
Hopefully in praising myself for the stuff that does get done I will encourage myself to continue on and eventually my dreams will come true and then I'll have a chance to come up with new dreams.
What do you do when you don't accomplish the tasks on your to-do list? If you beat yourself up, take a moment and think about the things you did do!!! Positive reinforcement will go a lot further than feeling like a failure.
This week my personal mission since I was not very nice to Monday is to look at the glass half-full.
IMAGE CREDIT CLICK HERE
Sunday, July 18, 2010
As artists, we always are dreaming of the day that we will get our big break! It excites us to think of the moment we will have thousands of fans and finally have all of our hours of work somehow legitimized.
I found these two stories of art being made popular and I found them so inspirational I decided to share them with whoever is reading my page.
The first is an amazing story of an unknown waitress becoming famous overnight thanks to the show So You Think You Can Dance. Christina Perri wrote a breakup song called "Jar of Hearts" that inevitably ended up in the hands of a choreographer from the popular reality dance show. The song is played in the video below, but you can read the story HERE
The second, although not about a traditional artist, is about an artist nonetheless. A man who used to live in a 4,000 sq. ft. home has made his business, but more importantly his life out of now living in a home that is bare 100 square feet. Jay Shafer is showing people how to live with less. Do you think you could handle a life with less?
If you are anything like me you have too much excess in your life and there is a lot of downsizing you could do that would probably make you happier than you are now. See inside this man's tiny home below and watch his Yahoo! news story HERE
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I went on a much needed vacation to Kentucky for a few days and now I feel recharged and ready to get my career back on track. Sadly, I have said this many times before but have been too damn lazy to actually act on anything I have talked about for the past 3 or 4 years.
The first piece of good news now that I am back in Tampa is that I am so excited to report that I will be taking pictures on Fridays and Saturdays at Club AJA at Wiregrass for the next several weeks and possibly even beyond that!
I've been looking for a little more regular income and this is truly a blessing!!!
I still have lots of plans rolling around in my head and I'm anxious for all of them to start being played out, but definitely needed to get some dollars in the bank before I could move forward.
I can't wait to see where the next few weeks take me, but here is a taste of what is to come:
1. Full redesign and upgrade of three of my websites:
- We Are Full of Bull
- The Photographic Times
- The Famous Ashley Grant
2. Official launch of Tampa Bay Freebies
3. More posting and linking to The Crooked Table
4. I don't know what else at this point...but I'm working on it =)
I'm also doing a body makeover on myself. In an effort to have the energy to do all of the things I want to do to make my dreams come true, I'm going to make a more valiant effort at getting my body in the condition it needs to be in. I got my hair did and I worked out today and plan on trying to get myself right in body and mind and hopefully spirit.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Christopher Nolan Never Created A 'Bible' For 'Inception'
'You don't want to go back in and change the rule set,' he says of restricting himself with a guidebook.
By Eric Ditzian, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
There's a moment early in "Inception" (beware mild spoilers) when Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page meet within a Parisian dream world of Page's creation. Leo is a former architect turned professional dream thief, and he's trying to convince Page to ditch her architectural studies and become part of his crew.
In the course of their discussion, DiCaprio raises a metaphor about the act of creation: When you're truly inspired, it's almost as if you're not creating so much as discovering something that already exists. Their dialogue exchange, writer/director Christopher Nolan revealed, is actually ripped directly from his experiences penning the script.
"That's how this felt to me," he explained to MTV News. "It felt like there's a world here that I'm just trying to understand and put together for the audience. ... You feel like it already exists, and you're kind of uncovering it."
Unlike James Cameron in the writing of "Avatar," Nolan declined to create an "Inception" bible to track his various ideas, characters and plot threads. "I kept thinking about doing that," he said. "But what happens is, you come up with a rule set, then you're writing the script, and you need the story to go somewhere else, you don't want to go back in and change the rule set."
Because, as Nolan made clear, he would have had to do a ton of revision to that bible over the course of the writing process. "The backstory, the rules of the world, they evolve as the picture of the whole movie evolves," he said. "You also want to bring actors in and technicians in and really keep the thing fluid until it has to be locked down. So to me, the rules are sort of evolutionary in a film like 'Inception.' You have to be true to them. There's no question about that. You can't cheat with them. But you don't want to sit down and put one to 10, 'OK, these are the rules.'
"Writing is a strange thing, because sometimes it's cart before horse," he added. "Sometimes you know there's a scene that's going to happen, but you don't quite know how you're going to get there. And that's one of the things that I really enjoy about writing."
Monday, July 12, 2010
Boredom is a rare thing for me. I do my best to keep myself occupied by something because the feeling of "stir crazy" never sits well.
Tonight, I was bored.
I felt a headache coming on and decided that even though it was late, I'd make a little bit of coffee to hopefully knock a possible migraine right back to wherever they come from.
I texted a friend who was busy reading. I realized I hadn't read in a few days. I didn't think I had anything good on the shelf even though it's full of ones I've never even read the back covers of. I remembered a book the friend lent me about a month ago. I knew it was about writing. I knew it was supposed to be some type of self-help, motivational thing and I wasn't in the mood for that.
Somehow I found my way to the bookshelf anway and saw the book sitting there.
"A kick in the ass," one critic wrote.
Two hours later, my life is changed.
Resistance Doesn't Have to Live On
The Book (totally deserves to be capitalized from here on out) is Steven Pressfield's The War of Art.
You may have heard of him if you've read The Legend of Bagger Vance.
I haven't. Now I want to. This guy is that good.
The Book is divided into three sections and they all share one common theme: Resistance.
This blog is full of articles about all of our little resistances.
Not to offend anyone (and I know I'm guilty of it) but how many times have we posted on here about how we "need to be writing"?
We need to "just do it!"?
How many tips can we give each other about "how to overcome writer's block"?
We're not overcoming anything by just talking about it.
The Book opens with Mr. Pressfield telling us how "he rolls".
He wakes up and WRITES.
It's a job.
There is no calling out on your 9-5 most of the time is there?
If we're writers, we're writers.
It's what we do.
There's a part of the Book that talks about what we do if we were the last person on Earth.
If you answer writing...guess what? Yeah, you're a writer.
Now you can proceed.
The War of Art declares resistance the enemy.
Steven Pressfield even goes as far as to say that resistance is the Devil himself.
That it's self destructive and that self destructiveness spreads to the entire planet.
Resistance is fear.
"The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it."
He doesn't sugarcoat.
This guy tells you like it is.
And he tells you how he feels about it.
Whether you like it or not.
You find yourself wanting to throw the book down.
Then you realiize that's resistance.
And you don't want that garbage anymore.
The second part of the Book discusses ways to "combat resistance."
This is where he tells us how "the pros" do it.
He makes it seem so simple, really.
"It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write."
It's a short section but it explains a bit of his background and how he got to where he is.
It's a strategy guide.
It's also telling us that we can do it.
And many will.
Don't Get Freaked Out
The last section of the Book may be a bit controversial for some.
Keep an open mind about it.
Pressfield has no problem with sharing his religious and spiritual beliefs and I truly feel he considers writing to be his purpose in life and he treats it as if it's a spiritual journey.
A few chapters might fly over the heads of some because there are some metaphysical and "new age" principles in it.
To me, this is Pressfield's Philosophy 101. It's going to work for some and not for others.
But it helps you to move beyond that five-headed dragon now that youv'e defeated it.
And if you respond to the Book as quickly as I have, you may find yourself immediately setting a gameplan to make some changes or to suddenly write after not being able to really put anything down for like *cough cough* a year.
So Do Yourself a Favor....
I feel it can be applied to all aspects of life and not just our creative endeavors.
For me, it helped to remind me of what I missed most about really working at writing.
It made me realize all the resistances I was giving in to.
I have an older writer friend who's pretty darn amazing.
I told him once that I had an idea for a novel.
"Don't spend one minute on it if you can't throw it in a fire and watch it burn into the Heavens," he said.
I didn't quite understand what he said. I only thought I did.
Now, after reading The War of Art, I do.
And my hope is that you will too.
Tomorrow's going to be a new day for me.
It couldn't have come at a better time, either.
As always, good luck comrades and I hope you get a chance to check out this amazing book!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
A little bummed because a project I was supposed to work on this afternoon that would have paid me 1/3 of a standard week's pay got pushed back. On top of that I am waiting on 3 checks from 3 different clients and watching the dollars in my account keep going down. My husband Jeremy continues to try to comfort me by saying that when I begin to get regular work I won't feel the pinch of waiting on the money as much...but getting to the regular work part is becoming more difficult than the feeling of waiting on a check.
When work slows down for you, what do you do for extra money?
Monday, July 5, 2010
On my way to a coffee shop today I saw this sign and had to take a picture of it. To me it is a sign that the writers of Tampa need to unite and make this blog all it was meant to be. We should post job openings, freelance gigs, contests, ideas, story assistance and so much more on this blog. As I see things that is exactly what I plan on doing from here on out. Hope you and some of your writer friends will jump on the bandwagon and do it too!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
So, it just hit me that so far this week I have only made $50!!! Grrr! Grant it I have been sick and have not felt at all like writing, working or asking people for work, but still! This sucks! I basically just got a rude awakening about what happens when you work for yourself! The days you don't work, you don't make money!!!
There are no sick days, no paid vacations, nothing! Sure, there are lots of perks to working for myself, but it was hard to look at my books and see such a dismal amount of money to be made 3 days into the work week. Even more saddening is knowing that I won't make any money again until Saturday because me being ill has kept me from setting up appointments and all that jazz.
This post is not my way of trying to get people to feel bad for me, so let's clear that up right this second. Instead it is my way of showing you that although my job is the coolest ever, it does have its downsides. I'm not a millionaire [yet ;)] and I do have to work every single day that I hope to make money. That is until I come up with some amazing book that makes me royalties while I sleep, right? Hey! It could happen so don't hate.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Image Credit HERE
One of my problems? The television. It has become a bad habit to turn on the t.v. as soon as I wake up. I even gave myself the excuse that I just wanted to watch the news, but as soon as the news is over daytime t.v. shows somehow manage to be on my screen.The t.v. is very distracting. I can see myself developing into an even lazier stay at home worker if I don't start taking control right away. It would appear I need to leave the tube off and just turn on the radio if I need the news fix to get me going that badly.Thank goodness I'm figuring out all my vices and distractions early so that I can hopefully combat them quickly and get to work!
Monday, May 31, 2010
So here’s my piece: I’m. Sick. Of. This. Shit. If that’s too vague and indistinct for you, allow me to clarify and add a bit of context . I have been thinking seriously about becoming some form of creative writer since the freshman year of high school, when I created the secret agent character whose name I have since adopted as my faux alter ego.
Years passed with little creative development, save for the expansion of an ever-growing laundry list of story ideas and concepts. I began to develop an interest in screenwriting and came up with an entirely new, semi-autobiographical tale to tell. This process involved lots of brainstorming , note-taking and other, more arbitrary preparatory work, but I never completed what I considered to be a satisfactory draft of that story. I blamed this largely on the screenwriting format itself, but really, the problem was that I never developed all my notes and ideas into a cohesive outline. But I digress…
From there, I attempted to team up with a couple different friends of mine on a writing project, but nothing ever came of it. It sucks that it’s even harder to find someone else as committed to writing than it is motivate yourself to do it. Again with the digressions… haha... Don’t worry, I’m getting focused now.
Finally, after a year and a half of little significant writing progress, I took it upon myself to take sole ownership of a project that had been intended to be a collaboration, and last year, I finished the first draft of my first-ever novel. Having given myself Thanksgiving Day as a deadline, I finished that very night, my belly still full of turkey, mashed potatoes and black beans and rice (my family’s Cuban, btw… lol).
Having reached such a milestone, I figured that I had earned a little break from the dark, trippy and hyper-cynical perspective of my main character. However, somehow a break of just a couple weeks has turned into six months. In the blink of an eye, my novel-in-progress has gone from being a constant focus to a dust-gathering memory.
Which, of course, brings me to the title of this post. WTF am I waiting for? I seemed to have a good thing going with this story. Along the way, I had even developed deeper themes, sharper dialogue and innumerable suggestions on ways I can flesh out and repair the skeleton of the initial draft. Even the few people who I’d let read selections from it had given me positive feedback and helped me stay optimistic that what I was doing was worthwhile and not the biggest time-waster of all-time.
So, with all that moving along so smoothly… why is it that I have let so much time go by with picking up the proverbial pen and returning to work? This reminded me of a quote from “Planet Terror,” the Robert Rodriguez-directed half of the 2007 double feature film Grindhouse (of all things…). When one character asks another about her failed dreams to become a doctor, she simply replies, “That’s the thing about dreams. They become the thing you talk about instead of the thing you do.”
If we are truly so passionate about making it as writers, why do we shortchange ourselves by half-assing our efforts? Is it that we’re more infatuated with the romanticized notion of what a writer is and how he represents society through the written word than the rush we get when a project is going really well or when we finally get what’s on paper to match the brilliance in our own heads?
Naturally, for some people, this is the case, but for argument’s sake, if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you truly are serious about being a writer. Either that, or you’re one of the many Robert Yaniz Jr. cyber-stalkers out there. You know who you are… ;)
The most obvious reason for slipping into inactivity is laziness. That, coupled with a hectic day job and subsequent sleep deprivation, is probably the most common and certainly the most justifiable reason for letting your creative mindset slip temporarily into the ether. I know that this is usually my default cop-out as to why I haven’t done any work on my novel.
But really, there’s got to be more to it than that, some subversive part of our subconscious that prevents us from continuing to follow our dreams, building ever closer to that fateful day when we can see our work sitting snugly between “Lord of the Flies” and “The Da Vinci Code” on a Barnes and Noble shelf. (Yes, I realize those two books are not classified in the same section, but the point stands regardless… )
I believe it’s the intimidation factor. We know before we begin the near-insurmountable odds that anything we write will ever see the light of day or gain a readership any larger than ourselves, our family members and close friends. This fear of failure cripples us right from the outset. To a writer, there are few things as terrifying and sweat-inducing as the blank page.
This only gets the worry wheels turning even faster… Is my story worth a damn? Do I have any idea what I’m talking about? Is my whole goddamned existence a sham, a self-induced fabrication designed to shield myself from the harsh reality that I possess absolutely no creative talent whatsoever?
And really, it’s an awful lot of time to spend on a pastime that – in all honesty – is unlikely to ever garner us a single cent. That’s when the practical side of us kicks in, attempting to rationalize away our total lack of writing progress on the fact that we’ve been busy with our “real” job. You know, the one that actually pays the bills and keeps us fed and sheltered.
But for us true writers, it doesn’t matter where our paycheck comes from. The act of creative writing, whether it’s screenplays, poems, short stories, songs, novels or whatever… That’s our calling. It’s what drives us and carries us from day to day. It’s not so much something we want to do as something we must do. Without it, we feel like we’re being untrue to ourselves and that eats us up inside.
That’s what I’ve been experiencing over the last several months, and it’s gotten to the point that I’ve undergone so much self-exploration thinking about not writing that it seems a shame to not expound that same amount of energy towards something that I am truly passionate about. Passionate about, but up to now, not 100% committed to. That’s what I need to change… That’s what I need to focus on.
In fact, let me get to it now… I suggest y’all do the same. See ya on the other side! ;)