I shouldn’t have written this post. The reasons are multiple, but let’s just say it’s because I do not need another depression-inducing blow at the heart of my tiny beloved workshop.
On the very first day of the year, one of the people I consider the closest punched me in the balls by asking something along the lines of – So when are you going to finally snap out of it and go get a job like all normal people do, as it should be evident by now that this “writing” of yours is not taking you anywhere?
(Time to be a responsible adult, bitch.)
One week later another someone to whom I am related by blood told me they found my blog (this thing you’re reading now here), read a couple of posts, but then gave it up because it was getting embarrassing to witness such personal stories, it felt voyeuristic, dirty? Anyway, they don’t want to see any more of it.
Fuck it hurt. I know I’m all bulletproof and I don’t need anyone’s approval to live my life the way I want to, but nonetheless – being flashed out of left field by the grim reality of how my “allies” actually see my creative struggle successfully cooled the “New Year New You” fireworks.
Spending two precious hours of Toddler-free time on writing a text which will further celebrate the fact my craft is not taking me anywhere and posting it on this embarrassing blog of mine would seem quite a counterproductive thing to do right now.
But then I re-read notes from one of my Teachers’ books, where she states that HONESTY is probably the only quality which gives our writing a chance to ever matter at all, and the more it hurts the more authentic it probably is. Also, I believe that withholding honesty (by not writing a painful post, for instance) is almost as bad as writing about the weather, only worse because if you write about the weather at least you write.
Besides, the only antidote I know for creative poison is an act of courage, so why wait?
At the start of 2016 I planned to accomplish the following:
Launch the website + social media presence for The Story Desk – my writing studio (a micro-company I opened back in 2014). This is the first thing I did last year – I used all of the New Year energy to set up everything from the website to Facebook and Twitter pages, to color palettes and designs for logos and business cards. In the process of developing The Story Desk I understood I wanted to open it to being more of a collaborative place, my colleagues Diana and Nic jumped on board and so we became A Very Independent Screenwriting Collective. So far, so good.
Write the story outline for the Kidnap Comedy. For the past five years or so I’ve had this idea for a dark-meets-provocative-slapstick comedy about a bad kidnapping gone terribly wrong. I’ve been meaning to work on it, I was sure it would have been an easy-to-sell piece, comedies do good normally, I would make it witty and accessible (but also edgy and stylish), and I would sell it like fragrant bagels on a Sunday at dawn. Well, you know what? I’ve been busy with that bitch for six months now, I’ve written four different story outlines, and none of them does it. The more I work the characters and the story, the more the material becomes brittle and it doesn’t stick together. I tried adding new subplots, different settings, break a few twists, the story grew out of my hands, took an odd turn, we became estranged with each other. So I had to zero it down, sit in the lotus pose and ask my crown chakra what is it that I’m trying to say, why do I even bother writing this? Once the debris settled, a possible answer twinkled in the dust. A tiny flame was revived, that naughty spark every writer feels when they know they found a story. Only, it completely doesn’t look like a Kidnap Comedy any more. But, hey – I tried.
Publish at least 2 times a month on the blog. Let’s see, that would be 24 posts in a year (minimum) and in 2016 I published exactly 23 of them. Normally, I would start whipping my thighs with electrical wire to atone for being so not committed and lame, but this time I won’t. I’m not that into creative drama any more, 23 is close enough.
Reach 500 likes on Facebook – when I wrote this, the Facebook page was at about 250 likes, and in the entire past year the number of fans rose to 277. Technically, in the world of social media, such growth is so small that it basically doesn’t exist. Truth is, I adore the online community of friends who follow my writing, I love to joke and chat with everyone who comments on my posts, and I feel privileged whenever someone new wants to join in. Numbers are neutral, the quality is in the connection.
Reach 50 subscribers on the blog – In the last 12 months I went from 17 to 32 subscribers.
Have at least 3600 views on the blog – I had a little over 3000 hits in the past year, which means a whole 600 less than I hoped for (as a minimum). Then again, maybe I have reached some blessed pocket of writer’s zen, but I always try to focus on other aspects to measure my blog’s success.
One thing I’m quite proud of is that in 2016 I managed to read 5 full books, and when December ended it found me 600 pages deep into the 6th read of the year – this is more books than I’ve read ever since I became a TWAHT Mom.
Let’s build on that.
As far as goals for 2017 are concerned, all I really desire is to be able to keep doing what I’m already doing, get better at it, grow in confidence and serenity so I can exercise my craft with joy, rather than the sinking feeling I’m wasting my life on a sorry delusion, like the people from the two anecdotes at the top must think.
In 2017 I want to keep working on my punk memoir of my disco days, ideally work it to the point it will be an actual accomplished first draft by the end of the year. And, to break the annalistic monotony, on the side I would like to also write a screenplay in a cafe’, possibly a comedy, a romantic one maybe even, an easy-to-sell piece (comedies do good normally) witty and accessible (but also edgy and stylish), something I could sell like fragrant bagels on a Sunday at dawn.
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