Posts in Updates
WORK | Communication
communication.byamygrace

My Question:

How can we communicate authentically and respectfully?

Communication plays a huge role in most, if not all professions.

Professionally and personally, I take communication seriously. I am hard pressed to not take deep note of how body language and words are presented. Since focusing my work away from the interpreting field, and into writing, working amongst creatives, and the performance industries, I have noticed how the communication style various in huge ways.

This presents itself through email, one on one conversations, social events in a crowded room or even just a glance as we pass eachother in the street.

There is no one size fits all in the performance / artistic industries.

The biggest thing we can ever do for each other professionally and personally is to seek clarification when there is a shimmer of confusion or doubt on the intent of a communication, be it verbal or physical.

Especially as a woman, we are in a world today where miscommunication can be the complete break down of a professional / personal experience.

What I wonder at and am theorizing, is how good we are at accepting that someone was put off, hurt or misunderstood by our own intent? How they might have got it wrong, and we also might have communicated wrong?

We can’t get it right 100% of the time, we are human after all. What makes us think that we are above that?

I ask this question not because I seek to create positive and empowering experiences with those I communicate with and I know that I won’t get it 100% right all the time. There is no world in which I will, and I would hope and trust, that those around me would be capable and empowered enough to seek that clarification from me, challenge me and continue to pass me grace for when I didn’t have the words or ways in which they needed.

Personally and professionally, this is what I desire.

WORK | AUTUMN 2018
autumn.2018.byamygrace

After a very hot summer in Nova Scotia (avg between 28-40 degrees C with humidity) on days on end, I am more than happy to be moving into Autumn cripsness. Although as I speak, the past two days have been 28 degrees C and only dipping down into the teens overnight. (note: this was written second last week of September…delayed due to Spotlight post & various personal events)

Here is a ‘coles notes’ work update:

Summer

Brought clarity and insight into my next steps both professional and personally. After a challenging Spring of raw interactions and professional setting circumstances, it’s empowering to know that with showing up, comes a continual growth.

This clarity was what I was hoping and aching for.

Autumn

Brings new projects & possible contracts

A Research / Writing project on my Paternal Grandmother

I will be focusing the majority of my writing time on my grandmother Joan Francis Gooddday Lugar. Who she was, what she did and why I find her life story one that needs to be shared.

WORDS

Looking to expand the words project.

Brilliansea

Joining with Claire Fraser, the Spotlight Series will be expanding into something more in a video / documentary format.
Stay tuned!

Freelance Screenwriting

Accepting contracts and opportunities when feasible.

WORK | Discipline as a Practice
discipline.byamygrace

Discipline
verb [with object]

• (discipline oneself to do something) train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way: every month discipline yourself to go through the file.

I am dedicated to being the full time caregiver of my child until she is of school age. These years are precious and yet as she is growing I am taking on more and with that is even more reason to continue my practice in discipline.

This means knowing two things:

Who I am In My Personal Life

I am a woman who values quality over quantity. I would rather have less in every aspect of my life, as long as what I do have, is of good quality and experience. I realize that my joys and my true value comes from enjoying quality time with those around me and the season I am in. Having enough time to eat well, exercise, get fresh air, invest in relationships with friends, family and my own personal development is highly important. I recognize and have learned that when these values are pushed aside by my need to not disappoint others, I experience the physical symptoms of anxiety and when I am in alignment with these values, I am at peace.

Who I am In My Professional Life

I am a woman who values follow through. Committing to my work and projects are of high importance to me. I recognize that I am personally affected when someone I am working with does not follow through with what they had committed to doing. I also recognize that this happens and for whatever reason, I cannot control others and their own agendas. I can control myself and how I work and communicate. I value clarity and humbleness in others and therefore I must remember to maintain that clarity within myself. I am driven and I am stubborn which I use to my advantage when going about my work. I will not give up on something I know has true value and quality behind it.

And as I navigate the next stage of my journey I remember to have:

Grace for those who don’t understand my boundaries and my striving for my dreams.

WORK | Back to School Vibes
back.to.school.byamygrace

As students go back to school there is no reason us adults can’t get a work refresh as well. With new work coming my way, I figure it’s time to recenter and recalibrate.

Here are a few essentials to think about:

Materials

Know exactly what materials you need and will create a productive atmosphere for you. For me, this is my MacBook Pro, headphones, notebook & bullet journal, along with whatever beverage I am drinking (water, coffee, tea, etc.).

Nutrition

This is the time of year that colds start getting shared & I am loath to get sick. When I do get sick it’s usually a doozy, so I do everything I can to avoid it, including taking vitamins (specifically, probiotics, garlic tablets, vitamin C and my regular multi vitamin), eating salads, kale smoothies and adding meat to my diet when I feel I need it (I specifically know that I crave and need extra portien when approaching my period).

Movement

Getting some sort of exercise is not only known to help with mental wellness, it is key when working at a sit down job. As a writer, all I do is sit down to work. I make a huge effort to maintain an equal amount of moment into my life. This usually means, 20 mins of yoga, 20 mins of cardio and a walk during the day. Extra movement looks like: (skating, swimming, swing dance, nature walks / hikes, hot yoga).

Dress

Using the ‘getting ready’ part of the day as a mindful exercise in preparing and choosing items to wear that will help me embrace the work I am about to do is essential. I am highly aware it is a privilege and a luxury to have items to choose from, products to use and the time to set aside to prepare for the day. I mindfully express gratitude as I prepare and never forget that although I may at times believe I want more, that I in fact, have more than enough and am content with the life I am breathing this day.

Inspiration

However you work, it’s important to have what inspires you in proximity. For me this is having a few privately chosen places for knick knacks that are meaningful to me and that only I can see. A tab on my laptop specifically for bookmarked articles, videos relating to my professional development that will help me grow, a background on my laptop I love and music that I can play while I work if the work fits that.

However you refresh your work lifestyle for the Autumn, do take it into account.

There is nothing like realizing you can do something to boost your ‘practice’ to be more full, enjoyable and productive.

eat well.byamygrace
WORK | Striking Gold

Striking Gold is a long term project that has evolved and continues to find it's place in this world out of the souls of two friends.

Jasmine Alexander & I have been forging through friendship, faith, creativity and life's intricacies together for years now.  Heading into our thirties (me, sooner than later...) we have realized that our friendship, conversations and discoveries go deep and we have found a thread of connection and relevancy within our friendship that has surpassed our own understanding.  

Watching and experiencing her discoveries are as awing and moving as if they were my own. And so we go forth, at a distance, discovering together, and discovering apart.

Our journey as friends has brought us and continues to bring us to a place of grace, celebration, empathy and mindfulness.

It's that thread of friendship tangled up with our passion for creativity that has urged us to continue to find ways of creating together, albeit a country wide apart.

We don't know the future of Striking Gold, but what we do know, is that our love for sharing deeply, listening intently, seeking wildly is something that continues to give us great passion and joy....

Join in following our project on instagram:

Where words & imagery collide

WORK | Interviews
 Photo by Steve Rau

Photo by Steve Rau

If you have been following my work over the past two years you will have seen that I have enjoyed producing the "Spotlight Series" where I highlight creative / intuitive women and ask them five main questions.  Initially I started with ten, but as the project evolved I narrowed those questions to five and the project is about to get another revamp in 2019.

More on that to come!!!! 

Along with taking the Spotlight to the next level for 2019, I have also found an incredible outlet in Women in Film and Teletivion Atlantic.  These women amaze me at every turn.  To be given the opportunity to interview women for their newsletter is an honour. 

As I adapt to each project / assignment I aim to hone my craft of interviewing into where it needs to be and identify what I need to grow in.

2 main things I focus on when interviewing:

Individuality

Each person is unique and that is what makes it all the more interesting to read / hear what they have to say.  You will never get exactly the same answer or exactly the same story to tell.  

Details

Those details in conversation is what colours a person and adds depth to their whole self.  Seeking out those details gives me joy and a big part of my process.  There are always delicious gems to uncover.

WORK | Words by Amy Grace
words.byamygrace

I am so nervous and yet excited to share with you one of my latest brewing projects...

The Words Project.

I have so often declared myself as the girl / woman with words falling out of her back pockets and this has remained true throughout my life.

Quotes are my thing, words are my thing, finding any way to describe and sum up my heart are my thing...

It's all my thing.

This project is a long time coming for me.

The concept came to me over three years ago and yet it has been one of those concepts I have avoided because it felt too real and true to me.  

How can I do this when it is the essence of who I am?

So I started slowly.  Using instagram as a way to explore the concept and yet with no commitment.  I found that no matter the likes or the comments I LOVED finding words to sum up my feelings over something and I LOVED finding ways in which to design the simple 'Amy' hand writing lay out of it all.

Without further ado 

The project page is live and stay tuned for the journey!

WORDS PROJECT PAGE

 

WORK | Blog Writer
blogwriter.byamygrace

I started writing a blog on blogspot in 2010 called 'intentionally Amy'.  

I posted on it weekly and through that routine I found a renewed passion for writing.  

My writing and my voice was something that my education in ASL/English Interpreting took from me (I don't say that lightly). As a very young twenty-something I knew my voice mattered but I struggled to find it amidst the rules, the circumstances and the professional boundaries that I was now confined in. 

I needed to find, at least, my written words again.  Somehow.

Blogging became that way for me to to find my words and inadvertently, connect with living a more 'intentional' lifestyle, something I craved.

As the years progressed, I learned that not only my words mattered but my voice did too.  

I made the scary realization that the profession I chose was one that overall, discouraged my young voice and where I often found myself in positions where the rights of others, including myself, were being not only ignored but pushed aside.  

(that being said, I do want to add that towards the end of my short interpreting career I was developing a great relationship with my then, current boss & a few very wonderful mentors whom I know would have continued supporting my growth in the profession.)

Looking back, I can recognize that in certain circumstances, even as an individual providing a service, I deserved to know that I had autonomy and a voice in the situations I was in, despite being just 'a conduit for communication'.

It has been having a blog space that has allowed me to find my voice in a quiet and yet public manner.  

It hasn't always and still won't always be as eloquent or as thought out as I would like, but blogs have a way of delivering the honest state of a person and I am empowered by that.  To read the honest states' of others and to have a moment to discover my own place in this world.

It's a privilege.  

It's a privilege to have had that tiny little blog which turned into this website format where I can explore my creative and performance projects in a public and yet collected manner. 

I continue to blog as a consistent way for me to conintue my output and growth.  Consistency is important even when we don't feel like it, even when it sucks.

I will always be maintaining a blog because it is a habit that continues my work, my creativity and also in honouring my own unique voice.

 

 

WORK | The Creatives | Summer 2018
 Danielle Doiron - Actor, Performer soaking in the salt ocean air.

Danielle Doiron - Actor, Performer soaking in the salt ocean air.

The Creatives began with a few women I knew & a few women Jasmine Alexander knew.  It was a meet up that multiplied overtime.  

As seasons do, they change and many of these women, including Jasmine Alexander moved away a couple years ago.  Being in the throws of new motherhood I decided to take a break from arranging these meet ups. 

But I find myself missing that simple excuse to connect with other women and create space for inspiration, collaboration and solidarity. 

So here we are back again.

This meet up was an impactful gathering of three.

It proved the point for me, that no matter the size, the location or the reason, anytime women gather to connect and appreciate each other is a time where solidarity and compassion resides.

During this meet up:

We reconnected, deep dived and snacked on food while the temperature dropped.  We chased a seagull, expressed thankfulness for one another and encouraged each other to keep going.

Keep doing.

Keep showing up.

Keep being you.

& that is why these Meet Ups, big or small will continue!

Until Autumn,

- Amy

WORK | Summer 2018
summer.2018.work.byamygrace

Coming out of our first of a few planned small vacations / staycations I have been refreshed.

I stumbled onto a moment that triggered me to remember a moment almost four years back.  I took a moment to sit down on my regular walk in a little alcove that always seems a bit too magical for the everyday routine.  

As I sat down and looked around me I was reminded of the day that created me to write this: 
 "Wellness Wednesday: Captivation"

"Open your eyes today, this week, this month.  Keep ready for a moment that captivates you, and sink into it.  Sink deep into the waters of your spirit.  Listen to it.  What is the whisper that tries so hard to cry out?"

It is so easy to let the pressures of what we want to see happen, what you thought would happen, what you dream of and how it turns out differently, or even when you are left with nothing to hold on to be the filter in which we perceive our lives. 

Yet when I look at this moment that happened years ago and what I know of now, what I didn't know then.  What I have now, what I didn't have then.  What I lost, what I gained... it all is a captivating and arresting truth...

So I am going into this Summer with my eyes open, personally and especially professionally at what captivates me.  Taking those truths and moving them forward one small action at a time. 

My real work is to stay open to the journey and keep my eyes open to what is around me. 

Attentive. 

What captivates me today?

Deep conversations with creative women.

Raw and exciting story telling with authentic humour that leaks out of it.  

Trying new ideas and learning along the way. 

 

WORK | Mid-Year Review 2018
Amy.grace.june.18

In January I made this statement:

"Focusing on excellence in my work, my choices and my lifestyle ideals are what is forefront in my mind as I journey into this next year..."

How has this played out?

IN THE PROFESSIONAL

I have been in the process of levelling up in my work quality.  I have created a few pieces that surprised me and they are in various stages of development.  I have also had to learn what it means to say no.  To have to stand up for myself in a professional setting shook me up.  It reminded me of my values, of what I will and will not work towards.  It reminded me of why I do what I do and what type of writer that makes me.  In essence, excellence might look a bit like having a strong sense of self tied directly to my professional being.

IN THE PERSONAL

I have a better sense of where I want my energy to be poured out in my family, my friends and my community.  I have a better sense of what I can be giving and it has created some clarity over the past few months.  Attending our local church has allowed me to truly sink into creating deeper relationships with people who live near us.  It has been an anchor and given me space to inhale and exhale while connecting with family, friends and anyone else who crosses my path.

OVERALL

This half of the year hasn't been easy by any means, but it has developed in me a sense of strength and discernment in situations that are beyond me.  I have been reminded of Who made me, Why I am driven to create and What makes me unique.  Striving for excellence has never been about prerfection, but about truly understanding who I am, what I can fully bring to the table and how I can serve. 

 

 

 

WORK | Film & Television Writer
televisionseries.byamygrace

Learning the craft of writing for film & television is a journey.
I still am in the process of attending workshops, studying up, and surrounding myself with like minded people. 

Let's be honest.  

I am doing all of this while being the primary caregiver of a three year old.  It's not as if this journey is going to be completed in a season or two.  

What I am learning so much of right now, is that giving myself grace and space to learn, grow and be inspired is of the upmost importance.  

Grace to not have it all figured out, and the space to take as much time as I need to get there. 

What I have accomplished so far :

- Written and continuing to work on various drafts of the pilot and series pitch of a television series that I alone created.  I have done this with the previous and continual help of various women who are also excited by the concept. (That in itself is amazing!!!!) 

- Written a short film that accurately displays the type of female characters that I am known for writing.  That displays my love of womanhood, friendship and humour. 

 

I think at this point, to get this far has been a considerable feat and I shouldn't downplay it no matter how I may feel when I look around at the various women slaying their hustle.

 I too, have been doing amazing things.

Here is to the continuation and development of much more!

 

 

WORK | Theatre Writer
themomshow.byamygrace

I am going to level with you.

I am not out to be the next hit Canadian performance.

I think, that itself as the goal, distracts from the whole point of it. 

The pressures we allow to be put on ourselves internally and externally are insurmountable.  They sit on us and tell us how unworthy we are and how our attempts are always going to pale in comparison to anothers.

Here it is:

I want to be so focused on honing my craft, creating true and resonating pieces of work that the distractions fall away.  That I surround myself with what I need to be empowered enough to press in and keep on carving away at something I truly believe in.

I am pursuing characters whom I truly love and adore.  I am their advocate and their biggest champion.  I want to see them breathe in the mediums I have chosen for them and I remain hard at work bringing them into the place they need to be.

That is what it's about.  Not the recognition, not the networking, the support or the lack thereof.  It's about the voices that have been given life through the work and whom made it past the cutting room floor into a place of story. 
 

WORK | Mindset, Heartset
mindset.byamygrace

Getting in the right mindset is essential for me.

Our minds can play the leading role in our day to day and they say it's an 18 inch journey from our heads to our hearts.  

18 inches.

So I only have to travel those 18 inches to get my head and heart aligned together.  

I am very much aware of the disconnect.  I see it in myself, in others and in the world around me.  To do real soul seeking, story unearthing work, I want to be malleable.  Capable of being vulnerable enough to travel the distance from my head and heart and back again without bumping up against my own ego.

And I will.  Bump into my ego.  We all do.  Our ego is our best and worst friend.  It likes to tell us we are right and we know all there is to know here. 

As a trained interpreter I know all too well the 'interpreter-ego' who sits beside me and rolls her eyes at the things people say and their contradicting body language.  Or the way in which what people are avoiding in showing comes out so clearly through their body.  

But the truth is, it's what I studied and what I was trained up to recognize but it isn't fact.  Not in the punitive sense. 

What is fact, is the inner soul journey a person is going through and even then, that is their own reality.  Their own personal journey from their head and heart and back again.  Be it distorted or aligned with the majority.

For me, this all comes back to mindset.

A mindset & heart set

I want my mind AND my heart to be communicating with eachother to bring me to where I need to be in my work and personal life.

It's an 18 inch journey they say, but I think it takes more than just a hop skip and a jump.  I think it takes a desire and a courage that works past what we thought we knew and works towards a more whole and empathetic experience.  For our individual self and for others.

 

WORK | She Is
IMG_2778.JPG

This Sunday I presented a short piece that I was commissioned to write for a Sunday morning service.

Attending Bedford Baptist Church has been a nice shift for our little family.  To attend a church in our own community is new for us and we love how connected it is making us feel. 

'She Is', in my mind, an attempt to capture the life stages of women and present them with varying degrees of perspective.  It's easy to look at youth, middle aged and senior and leave it at that. But what happens when we truly look at a woman in each stage at all angles?

Depth.

In this little piece I attempted at showing the varying depths of a woman.  I was blessed to have  five women stand as representation while leaving an empty chair representing the indigenous women who have been missing figuratively and literally from our societal conversation. 

Even after presenting this, it is not lost on me that I could only present a limited amount of angles on women and there were and still are so many more I could have touched on.  

This piece has me meditating on that depth that is seen and unseen.  We are programmed to see something in others because we personally decide that is what we are seeing based on our own life experiences.  But there is always more.  More we don't know, can't know and won't know unless we get closer and ask each other, spark conversation and dare to get more intimate with one another.  Relationship with eachother, especially as women is, I believe, the main way we find solidarity and peace within ourselves.

bedford.baptist.
WORK | Projects in Stages
projects.byamygrace

Something clicked just over a month ago.  

I can and should have multiple different projects on the go in various stages of development at all times. 

This has been true for me at different times in my work, but never intentional.

It hit me while sitting and listening to women in the storytelling industry.

It is normal and in fact, part of the creative industry to be multitasking with various projects.

You see, that is not in my nature.  I am a multi-tasker in my day sure, but not in how I live my overall life.  If I want to do anything, I am guns blazing from start to finish.  I want to start at the beginning and get to the end, as fast as I possibly can.  

That is not how it works in the theatre, film and television industry.  

It takes Months.  Seasons.  YEARS even.

This realization is blowing my mind and still a challenge to comprehend.

At this point, all I can truly say, is that I am learning how to be more comfortable and capable with balancing this reality.  Having four projects this season seems daunting and overwhelming and yet, it also seems absolutely possible and motivating. 

As my awareness and understanding of how this works develops for me I will definitely be documenting and sharing my process and learning.  

Until then,

With various projects I go....

 

 

 

WORK | Spring 2018
amygrace.byamygrace

Thank-God for Spring!  Everything comes up new.

And that is exactly how it feels professionally for me right now.

Attending Women Making Waves 2018 was a reminder that my courage and ambition are rightly placed and well timed.  That my projects have merit and my stories have a voice.

Since that conference I have embraced what it looks like to be a professional writer in the performance industries.  It means a lot of hard and well though out solo work.  A lot of applications, a lot of socializing and finding those whom click with your own work ethic and values.  

It means patience, perseverance, and a lot of play time.

This Spring:

I anticipate announcing a few new and exciting projects.

Introducing new and inspiring women via Spotlight posts.

Continuing to share my learned experiencing in life and work.

"My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive, and to do so some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style." - Maya Angelou

 

WORK | Week Planning
week.planning.byamygrace

It's no secret that I carry my Bullet Journal close to get me through my days and ADORE sitting down to plan a fresh week.  But the truth is, I do it for the sanity.  For the ability to juggle my personal and professional life. 

Planning for a new week takes me from mid Friday to Sunday night.  If I am blessed to have an open stretch of time then it might only take me one day, but non the less, to have sanity I carve out the time despite how busy a weekend may be to plan the new week to come. 

How?

1. Schedule the dailys.

Chores, exercise, and hygiene/beauty regimen all get scheduled in without question.  A clean home, ability to move my body and take care of my physical/emotional self are high values for me.  I make them a priority.  

2. Ink in the meetings/events/appointments.

Being that I am the main care giver for my almost three year old and a writer for theatre, film & television, any event, work meeting, appointment and child care has to be planned ahead and chosen wisely.  I know my point of exausthion and do my best to make sure that I rarely hit it so that I can always be giving my daughter, colleagues friends and family the best and healthiest version of myself.  This also means that every week looks different from the next.  Scheduling can feel like a game of chess at times.

3. Empty inboxes & links saved.

I am a huge fan of starting the week with a fresh inbox, knowing that I have dealt with the weeks correspondence and along with that, any links that I have saved to be read, watched or looked into are carefully minimized and put in folders such as "Professional Development".

4. Update budget, groceries, meal plan, etc.

Being wise with our finances, and eating healthy whole foods are values of our little family.  This means we have to make a weekly effort to prepare for the week to come.  It is all to easy to buy cheap processed food and buy needlessly.  Taking the time to review our spending and financial goals once a week along with what recipes we want to make has helped us hugely in maintaining our financial and physical wellness. 

5. Pre set rooms, technology and laundry for Monday.

Nothing says it's a new week better than fresh sheets on the bed, laundry washed and folded and phones and laptops charged and cleaned.  (I have a habit of working while eating a snack or dinner and I ALWAYS end up with a dirty screen and keyboard by weeks end)

This may seem excessive to some, but for my personality, whom thrives on maintaining my inner and outer expectations, this routine not only ensures that I maintain my own contentment but also my follow through with that and those I commit to.  

Week Planning is the foundation of my personal and professional life.

WORK | Women Making Waves 2018
womenmakingwaves.2018.byamygrace

Over the weekend I attended the Women in Film and Television Atlantics (WIFT-AT) yearly conference 'Women Making Waves' at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax.  

I attended last years' due to being accepting into the New Waves Program where WIFT-AT accepts emerging and exploring film-makers into a five class workshop series.  Needless to say, I LOVED it.

Since the New Waves program I have been working to hone and focus my writing into the performing arts (learning screenplay writing and culture etc) and it was exciting to attend this years conference knowing that my projects and visions were even more aligned with the industry.

 Re-connecting with peers, hearing from other creators and celebrating the work that comes out of women who are aiming to collaborate, work, and essentially make a difference through their medium of passion was the refresh I so desperately needed.

It was hugely inspiring to be able to hear from Carmillas co-creator Steph OuaknineMohwak Girls Creator and director Tracy Deer, Ava creator and director Sadaf Foroughi and 'Bens at Home' creator and director Mars Horodyski about how they created, were impassioned to pursue their work and how they pushed through to get them where they are today.

This weekend I learned these things:

1. Keep showing up for your work and always put it out there.

2. What you are passionate about has a niche.

3. Find that niche and hone it.

4. Work with those whom you click with.

5. Know why you do it. 

6. Anyone who attempts truth telling is extrodinarily brave.

I am so thankful for the journey I am on and the opportunities I have along the way that connect me with passionate women, remind me of why I do what I do and keep my feet planted on the ground.