2011 has been upon us for seven hours and forty-six minutes Pacific Standard Time, and, I am happy to say (cribbed from east coast filmmaker Seth Ruffer) that I have managed to keep all of my resolutions – thus far.
Those who struggle to keep resolutions tread a slippery slope. The resolutions are usually generalized (lose weight, write a novel, be a more consistent parent) and often unreachable (take a cruise around the world, quit my job, reinvent my marriage). These well-intended, broad brush-stroked promises to self can easily set one up for immediate failure. We make pledges that we cannot really hope to keep, and by doing so, set ourselves up in the bitter cycle of self-loathing and doubt…. and become paralyzed by the fear that ultimately accompanies such emotional flagellations.
2010 was a year fraught with grief, loss, illness and a brand of undefinable miasma of the soul – not just for me, but for many others that I know. It was like living in some Lovecraftian cosmic afterbirth, one in which lifeforce was not sustained, but rather sucked out every person who became mired in it.
My resolution is to leave 2010’s swamp of horrors behind. One single step, a long, hot shower to remove any residual ick, and I am done.
For all of you, I wish you discipline in your writing. If you are Facebooking, you are not writing. If you are Tweeting, you are not writing. If you are engaging in banter on message boards, you are not writing. If you are leaving book reviews on Amazon, featuring yourself as the ultimate badass armchair critic, you are not writing. If you are blogging, you are writing… but not in a manner that will help you to create and maintain your career.
Limit your internet usage each and every day. Set a rule – and stick to it. If that is too difficult, then consider creating an online accountability group where pages have to be checked in daily or weekly.
Give yourself a daily page count – but make it realistic. Three pages per day for a screenplay; 250 words per day for literature.
Be your own boss. Do not accept your own excuses. There are internet sites at which you can pledge an amount ($25.00) and locate a sponsor. Then, you write your goal, and the date on which you are to finish it. You select two charities – one you love, one you hate. If you succeed in your goal, your money goes to the charity that you love. If you do not, it goes to a charity (or individual) that you detest. I can assure you that the thought of one single dime of mine going to Sarah Palin and her cast of Looney Tunes keeps me pretty fucking honest in my work.
Get out of your house. Get out of your head. Visit public places and people watch (L.A.’s Farmer’s Market is one of my favorite places to do this). Take a legal pad, and write down snatches of conversations. Be a voyeur. Observe and report.
Resolve. Resolve to be the greatest writer that you can be. Do not settle for shortcuts. There are no get-rich-quick schemes for writers. Get over that. Get yourself the gift of focus and discipline; of immersion within the process. The results will speak for themselves.
Happy New Year, lords and ladies of the court!
Now, go write.
HRH – Princess Scribe
What I’m reading: Jennifer Van Sijll’s The Art of Cinematic Storytelling. A must read for all scribes of the screen and the stage.
What I’m watching: To bring me back to a place of perspective, Blake Edward’s S.O.B. Edwards died on my birthday – and his death was an unfathomable loss for me. One of the great ones, I suppose that I created a fictional certainty that great talent can never leave us. At least we have his films….
A Royal Shout-Out: To my family and friends, for helping me to buck up and make it through some challenging times. I’m feeling much better, thank you ever so, and in a few weeks will be a whirlwind of projects and possibility. Thanks for helping me make it through!