Unexpected Rewards

Yesterday was one of those days where I forced myself to go to the drop-in class at iO even though all I wanted to do was sleep. I was rewarded with an experience I’ve never had on stage before.

Several of the students wanted to work on acting/realism so that was our focus. I had this moment where I was squared off with a guy and we were just looking at each other, trying to let whatever was already there bubble up and build something from the natural feelings without judging them or trying to categorize them.

So anyway, we are doing that and Lyndsay was giving us a lot of side-coaching. Telling my partner to breath and to quit fidgeting, that he was defusing all the energy that needed to come out as an emotion through moving around. The same note she gave me several times when I had her during the intensive. So I took it as a note for me as well and doubled-down. Forced myself to stand perfectly still. Both feet flat on the floor, both hands flat on the sides of my legs, no swaying or nodding or chewing on my lip or anything else that would let me move around.

It was freakin’ hard! But I had the chance to work on it because she was talking to him. So I kept staring, and kept forcing myself to be perfectly still. As we finally started talking I wanted to move. Very much. Then I opened my mouth to say something and the urge to move was so intense I felt like I simply couldn’t hold still another second. So I blurted out something instead.

I just opened my mouth and words came out that I didn’t expect, that I would never have said because they didn’t make any sense. But it was that or move and I’d already decided I was NOT going to move. I couldn’t say what I’d planned, to further the story, because that would have meant moving. I think Lyndsay would say that it was because what I planned to say wasn’t honest to the scene, so I wanted to shift around to defuse that dishonesty. Like a little kid.

He blinked. I think I surprised him too. But as soon as I said the unexpected words I felt this rush of energy sweep through me. In that moment, when I chose to not let it out any other way, the reward was stunning. I’ve never like that on stage. The rush lasted the rest of the scene. I was buzzy, electric, with energy. I felt dizzy with it. I kept going with what we’d already started, I didn’t have to think about my answers. I felt like I had control, in a good way. Like, even if he had flipped and done something unexpected I could have held onto my own stuff. Something I tend to not do.

I’m not sure where the balance is in this. I can’t simply stare down everyone on stage without moving. And I tend to come off as nervous quite often, that’s where my energy seems to come from. So I need to figure out how to get that sense of power even when I’m moving or gesturing.

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Recap: Week 33

One Million Words Challenge

Week 33

This week was a “getting out of the hole” week! Which they all need to be, from this point forward. NaNo starting was a big help. It’s nice to have a main project to work on, and to meet with people to write. I find that quite useful. Something I should try to put together after Nov ends.

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 1,710
  • MPs 6,804
  • Letters 307
  • Blog 347
  • RT 118
  • LCFF 265
  • Avon* 13,363
  • Total 22,914
  • YTD 462,633
  • Where I should be 632,940

*Avon is my novel for NaNoWriMo. I’m aiming for a double NaNo, which is 100,000 in 30 days.

100

My 100th Post.

Thank you. Anyone reading this- I appreciate it.

I’m shocked to realize I’m at 100 already. This is the fifth or sixth blog I’ve started and none of them have gotten anywhere near to this point. It’s… crazy.

Here’s to the next 100!

Ready to write a novel?

NaNoWriMo starts today!

Want to write a novel? This is the best chance you’re going to get.

Is the timing bad? Working overtime? Babies underfoot? Three jobs?

Still the best chance you’re ever going to have.

It’s an entire novel in one month.

It’ll NEVER be convenient. It’ll never be easy. It’ll never be the right time.

And if you keep putting it off it’ll never get done.

Go to their website and sign-up. Put your pen name below and I’ll friend you, or you can find me- Shather.

Recap: Week 32

One Million Words Challenge

Week 32

So, more words written. Yet not enough.

I truly do not know why this is so hard. I’ve got plenty of time. I don’t have writer’s block (not that I believe in it anyway), when i sit down I can put words out.

I just… don’t. I want to. I know I need to. I ought to. But I don’t.

I’m hoping NaNo starting tomorrow (midnight tonight, actually) will be a shot in the arm. That I can do a double NaNo, plus my MPs. That would get be headed out of the hole.

That makes me dizzy. I think that is part of my issue. I get started thinking about how hard it’s going to be to catch-up and then I eat candy corn and take a nap. Candy corn being my writing snack of choice. I need to horde up a little before it’s gone for the year. More to the point- I need to get over myself and get to work.

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 1,242
  • MPs 6,804
  • Letters 969
  • Blog 185
  • LCFF 2,926
  • Notes 915
  • Total 13,041
  • YTD 439,719
  • Where I should be 613,760

Recap: Week 31

One Million Words Challenge

Week 31

OK. I still went into the hole, However, it was less than 3,00 words. While I need to be making up 7,000 a week as many weeks as possible that was still a massive improvement over last week.

On the days that I sit down and work for a couple of hours twice in a day I hit my goals. Or go over. I did 3600ish the other night in 2 1/2 hours, plus that morning I had done about 1,600. Then there are days like yesterday where I only wrote 1,000 over the entire day. I need more “sit down and write” blocks and less “grab what I can”. I know that the second is sometimes all I’ll get in life, depending on what’s going on, but it simply isn’t going to cut it when I’m trying to make-up this much.

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 2,766
  • MPs 6,804
  • Letters 629
  • Blog 415
  • LCFF 4,872
  • Korea 956
  • Total 16,442
  • YTD 426,678
  • Where I should be 594,580

Recap: Week 30

One Million Words Challenge

Week 30

I don’t want to talk about it.

On the up side, I’m in Chicago now!

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 517
  • MPs 3,888
  • Blog 142
  • Total 4,547
  • YTD 410,236
  • Where I should be 575,400

How did this happen?

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Last night I sat down and wrote up an “outline” for a story. I put outline in quotes because I don’t typically plot books ahead of time so compared to the average book outline this one is sorely lacking. It’s just over one legal pad in length and it hit all the main ideas I have for the story. I wanted to jot down the high points before I forgot them, I wasn’t trying to create a plot.

This morning I was looking at it and noticed something. I grabbed a pen and five minutes later I was staring at the page in shock. I’d written a perfect story arc. Without trying.

Let me explain. When I divided what I’d written into sections (chunks of story, building blocks) I noticed each paragraph was a section. I don’t have two sections in one paragraph, or a section that stretches over two paragraphs. All total, seven of them. Then I labeled each one by what was happening- by the role that section would play in the story. Look at the labels I ended up with:

  1. Opening/Hook
  2. Inciting incident/end act 1
  3. And then
  4. And then
  5. Until finally/end act 2
  6. Act 3/ triumph
  7. Wrap-up/happily ever after

Upon further inspection I found that Act 1 has a positive ending, Act 2 has a negative ending, and Act 3 has a positive ending, which is much higher than the positive end to Act 1. Which is also textbook (by which I mean Story, by McGee).

Somehow, somewhere, without me noticing, structure has slipped into my brain!

Recap: Week 29

One Million Words Challenge

Week 29

Another not so great week. This is not the way to get out of the hole. On one hand, I am beating myself up for not doing better. On the other hand, it’s been a really long couple of weeks and I’m moving this week. So while I have had the time to write, technically, I have had a severe shortage of space/energy/willpower.

Good news- I crossed 400,000! This is, by far, the most words I’ve ever written in a single year. And my “year” still has a little over five months left in it. It’s completely possible for me to catch-up.

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 1,116
  • MPs 4,152
  • Blog 362
  • Letters 255
  • Avon 1,392
  • Total 7,277
  • YTD 405,689
  • Where I should be 556,220

Ways I Stay Motivated

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I set a lot of goals for myself. Getting the motivation to complete said goals is not always easy. So I thought I’d share my methods in hopes that at least one of them will be useful to you.

  1. Take a class
  • This is the number one way for me to stay motivated and finish what I start. I love taking classes. I’ll take a class on almost anything as long as I’m even remotely interested, and I’ll do the homework, study, whatever. I don’t know why this is such a part of my identity but it is. And it’s not that I like sitting in classrooms, I don’t. I’m a kinastadic learner and I want to move around. In a class.
  1. Join a group
  • Similar to above. Less structure, perhaps, but still getting with other people to do something. If I have to explain was I wasn’t there, or know that everyone else is doing X without me, it puts a lot of pressure on me to show up as well. Gets me through those days where I wouldn’t do it if no one knew that I wasn’t. Going to an improv jam, a write-in, or a church small group keeps me on track with my goals.
  1. Make a chart
  • I love charts. I love making them and filling them in. Colored ones. With markers. The physical sensation of coloring in a square gives my brain a little reward rush. Then I hang the chart where I can see it all the time, which motivates me to do the work so that I can color in the next section. Electronic charts don’t work though, I want to feel it in my hand. (Jerry Seinfeld seems to think work along the same line)
  1. Write it down
  • I suppose this is a subset of above. If I write something down and look at it regularly I’m much more likely to do it.  Reading them regularly helps me to remember them, and then to actually do them.
  1. Make it part of something else
  • This one is suggested by almost every person who teaches habit forming. I use it to motivate myself to do something. Multi-tasking would be another word for this, bad rap that it’s gotten lately aside. If I have things I need to do but am lacking motivation to do I try to find a way to combine it with something I like. I try to convince myself- “You don’t want to go running? But if you do you can listen to junk music guilt free” or “Aren’t you going to finish that knitting project? You can watch Ocean’s 11 again at the same time….” Things like that. It works quite often.
  1. Remind myself about what I want
  • Credit for this brilliant idea goes to Justine Musk, here. The idea felt selfish to start with but by the time I finished her article I was sold. I try to use this on myself and the more I remember it the more I get done. What do I WANT? Really want? OK, what should I do in light of that? Maybe I don’t feel like writing, but I want to be published so I write anyway. I tell myself I don’t want to run, but in reality I just don’t feel like running.
  1. Actually want the end result
  • Of course, that supposes that what I am aiming for is what I want. I pruned my goals list earlier in the year because I picked it up, read it, and realized that I didn’t want half the crap on there. It was on there because I wanted to want it, or because it sounded good (not that anyone else ever sees the list), or because I felt like I ought to want it. It is very difficult to be motivated over the long haul when the thing you’re striving for isn’t something you actually want to reach.

Hopefully something on that list was useful. If it wasn’t at least you have a few more insights into the backwater parts of brain.

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