Category Archives: writing

Finding Balance: Creative Life, Writing, Art, Vision & Focus

Okay, so…

In my last post, I announced an ambitious creative goal to write the first draft of a full-length screenplay in a week.

When I made that goal, it was under certain presumed circumstances, mainly being that my boyfriend/partner (whatever word one would use for a longterm non-married couple… “boyfriend” seems so flippant, whereas “partner” sounds like a business agreement) was simultaneously going to be very busy and consumed in his own creative/business project, thus being the perfect time for me to be absorbed and consumed by my own creative endeavor.

But! (There’s always a but…) His plans changed. And thus, so did mine.

For anyone reading my humble little blog who doesn’t already know me or my partner in some way, let me fill you in. We’ve been together for (at the time of this writing) just over eight years now. Woo hoo! It’s been a fun and crazy ride. 🙂

…BUT! (…there it is again…) All this time we’ve been in a long distance relationship. Why? Well, I’m Canadian and he’s American. He doesn’t have a desire to move to Canada since he owns a nice house in the U.S., and right now the only viable way for me to move to the U.S. is if we were to get married.

I find the differences between Canadian and American laws in this regard to be rather fascinating. If he were to move to Canada as my partner, Canadian law doesn’t demand that we get married as it recognizes the validity of longterm conjugal relationships of at least two years. American law, on the other hand, only recognizes a marriage certificate.

“So why not just get married?” Ugh, marriage. I don’t think marriage is inherently bad or anything like that. I think a marriage has the potential to be a great thing, depending on those involved and their reasons for choosing to marry, etc. That said, doesn’t marriage simultaneously seem like an outdated relationship model? I mean, legally, one can either be married or single (or perhaps widowed or divorced, which are just other words for being single but previously married), with no in between. Divorce rates are sky high. Isn’t it time for a new approach to marriage or other forms long-term committed relationships as recognized by government and law? Either way, it’s seems kind of creepy to me that there isn’t room for an in-between in a country that supposedly values Freedom to the extent that the U.S. claims it does. …But I digress.

Steve was previously married for something like eleven years. Their divorce process was very long, I believe going on six years to get everything settled and finalized… yikes! Since marrying again has the inherent possibility of divorce tied in with it, I can understand his reluctance or hesitation to want to avoid another potential divorce.

So, for the past eight years, I’ve been spending my time between Canada, visiting Steve in the US, and occasional travel to Europe. And honestly, I’ve been finding it rather difficult to focus on creative projects while being on the move so often.

It’s also for this reason that when Steve decides he’s going to have some downtime before diving into a big project and says that he would like to spend quality time with me, I’m not particularly inclined to say, “Sorry hon — I’ve just committed myself to an intense week of creative writing time while I try to hash out a full length screenplay in a week (or less).” I value the time we get to spend together since we have to spend a huge chunk of each year apart.

Anyway, with the recent down time and a short road trip behind us, we’re now both ready to focus on our own respective projects before I leave the U.S. again for a little while. And so, I’m taking up my original challenge to write a full-length screenplay in a week or less, starting tomorrow (Monday, February19, 2018) …TBD. (<— More on this re-dating later! …Oh, Life!!!) :)

In terms of fostering good creative and writing habits that yield flow and focus, I really need to figure things out there. I feel like I’ve been floundering for the better part of these last 8 (if not more) years of my life, and I think a big part of that has to do with my difficulty to focus on in-depth, long-term projects when I’m moving all the time and so focused on making sacrifices for the present-moment enjoyment of relationships and life. It’s definitely a balancing act, and I’ve been sucking at it. I really need to find a way to balance these things — these various aspects of one’s life… love, work, vision, and art — more harmoniously.

I want to devote a big part of this year to figuring that all out. I hope you’ll join me on my journey and hopefully we can figure out a number of things together. <3

But first, let’s write a screenplay… shall we? 😉

p.s. Consequently, in order to narrow my focus and avoid diluting my creative will power and energy, I’ve decided that my impending video/vlog challenge will be put on hold until once I’ve completed this 1st draft of my screenplay. 🙂

Creative Goal: Writing a Screenplay in a Week (or Less)

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash.

Have you ever wanted to write a screenplay some day? I do!

I’ve been wanting to write a screenplay forever. I’ve started one at least a couple times, but then stopped and never finished. Ugh!

I think my tendency towards perfectionism just makes we want to scrap something all together if it’s not working or gelling from the get-go, instead of putting in earnest continuous work to improve it. Also, I have a tendency to want to work solo because I have a weird hang-up about sharing work in progress (and being judged or critiqued on something that isn’t yet complete… which is ultimately hilarious since my last couple — or even handful — of Fringe plays definitely weren’t complete when premiere time came). …Not a good hang-up to have when it comes to creative work!

Anyway, so, that all said… I’m working on a new screenplay! Pretty much starting today. I have the barest of bones laid out, not even enough for a full skeleton outline yet. But I don’t want to fall into a trap of endless procrastination and perfectionism.

My goal is to write an entire first draft of a full length screenplay within a week. i.e. to finish the first draft and not give up on it, even if I think it sucks… because hey, after the 1st draft is done, I can rework it several times over with subsequent drafts until I’ve got something awesome that I’m proud of. …Right!? 😉

I’ve been thinking about some of my past and favorite successes with writing, and my favorite experiences seem to have had a co-creative element to them AND a time-pressure element to them. For example, one time I participated in a short playwriting contest. It was called an “InstaPlay” playwriting contest. We were given 90 minutes or so if recall, as well as a handful of elements to include (like a theme, or number and sex of the characters, and a phrase to include somewhere). Since I had self-produced my own work before, I asked if I qualified for the “Produced Playwrights” category (which is akin to the professional playwrights category). Apparently I did. So I entered that category! And even though I was competing against other “real” local playwrights that had their work produced by at least one of the major professional theatre companies in my hometown, I ended up winning first place! That was a while back now, but I was pretty pleased with the experience and it inspired me with the idea to someday write something full or feature length for professional production.

Another of my favorite playwriting experiences also involved a time-pressured deadline in the form of a 24-hour contest, and I believe we were given themes and requirements at the beginning of the 24 hour writing period as well.

In both situations I had the opportunity to see others perform and direct a stage-reading of my short plays, and both times I was quite thrilled with the results.

Anyway, I share all the above as background for a new project I’d like to undertake…

I’d like to write/create a full-length screenplay by giving myself a relatively short timeframe in which to complete the first draft.

Why do I want to do this? I think the only way I’m going to finally (and satisfactorily) write and complete a screenplay is to write one FAST, at least when it comes to the first draft. Some might say a month is a short period of time to write the first draft, but honestly, I don’t think that’s enough time pressure for me. I need something even more challenging to really fuel me.

Sylvester Stallone wrote Rocky in just a few days, and it went on to win an Academy Award for Best Picture! Of course, it was just the first draft that was written in a few day, and according to one article I read, “Only about 10 % of that first Rocky script remained in the finished version of the film that would go on to win the Best Picture Oscar.” Even so, I think that’s the kind of start I need to get going.

I think it’d also be better for me to write the first draft somewhat “sloppily” in terms of formatting, because I don’t want the various aspects of the technical formatting that screenplays have to follow to bog me down and slow my writing / creative process. …I can always go back and reformat after. I have a copy of Final Draft that I purchased a while back, but I find it to be less than intuitive and having to fiddle with the different formats for each element of a screenplay can really hinder my creative process and flow.

Well, I better get to it! …If anyone wants to offer encouraging support throughout the next week or check up on my progress via comments on this blog, please do! 

 xox

p.s. I still want to delve deeper into places of vulnerability for the purpose of clearing blocked energy for ideal creative flow, but that will be put on hold for now while I work on this project.

p.p.s. If you’ve been following my blog recently, you may also recall that I mentioned I’d like to start a video/vlog-challenge sometime in the earlier part of this year. And… that plan is totally still on! I believe I will start that challenge somewhat soon… probably in a week or two (*after I finish the first draft of this screenplay). So: Stay tuned for that!!! 

 

🙂