Posts tagged writing
WORK | Bird by Bird
I wrote down this quote to sit at my desk with me to remind me as I squeeze in writing moments over the Winter & throughout 2019.

I wrote down this quote to sit at my desk with me to remind me as I squeeze in writing moments over the Winter & throughout 2019.

An active professional development goal of mine for 2019, is to read at least one book a season (4 within the year) that broadens my mind and skills on my own craft.

Bird by Bird was high on my list and is the first book for 2019 in this category.

Anne Lamott has always captivated me with her words on life, faith and writing & this book is no different.

“This is all we are going to do for now. We are just going to take it bird by bird. But we are going to finish this one short assignment.” - Anne Lamott.

This simple concept has completely unfolded me. Anne explains in this book that when attempting to write anything, looking at your goal or project in its entirety is an overwhelm. (…believe it or not, many writers are not as confident as they appear on paper…)
One way to tackle this overwhelm is one step at a time.

Experiencing Writing Cramps

Taking on more freelance assignments & active roles in projects where I am producing material means that my creative writing time is more limited and with that has caused some of my own writing cramps of sorts. Tackling my writing goals and concepts with this ‘bird by bird’ analogy has already allowed me to sit down at my desk for short periods of time and see those sparks of real work come alive again.

In Writing & In Life

Her analogy is better explained within the book as to why she calls it ‘bird by bird’, but it has shaken me free of expectations for myself and allowed me more creative play.

What I love so far about this book, is it applies to life as much as it applies to writing.
& that may just reveal why I love writing so much.
The craft itself is as much a craft of realizing life as it is stringing words together.

WORK | Scheduling
scheduling.byamygrace

Entering into 2019…

with more to balance and maintain has enforced the need for scheduling and I am working on embracing it in a more effective and succinct way.

What I am Using:

Moleskin Plain Pocket Size

I use these Moleskins to keep track of various aspects of my personal & professional life.
- Movement & Diet
- Inspirations (quotes, ideas etc)
- Seasons (Winter activities, recipes, etc)
- Work Log
- Home Maintenance & visions

Kate Spade Journal

There is a shortage of these journals as Kate Spade is releasing less of them yearly, but I make a point of buying them when I find them & I use a journal for each year for my personal notations / writing about life and thoughts.

Leuchtturmn1917 (A5)

I use Leuchtturmn journals for my yearly bullet journaling. I do not follow the ‘bujo’ method to a ‘t’ but I apply what works for my own methodology and it seems thats what Ryder Carroll was aiming for.

Fossil Watch

New to me this year, for less attachment to my iPhone when checking the time. Doesn’t hurt that I am addicted to metallic tone fashion statements.

Sharpie & Midliner Pens

Knowing that these are the pens I use simplifies the tools I reach for. Decision fatigue regarding finding a new pen: ‘be gone’.

WHAT I AM AIMING FOR & WHY:

Reducing my scheduling hours and methods is one of my main goals this year. As great as it can be to have time to sit down and schedule the week ahead it can severely stir up anxiety when given too much space to be dwelled on. It also can swallow up much needed rest and quality time with others.

I am giving myself a year to work on the craft of scheduling because I realize it’s a task that I am going to have to unlearn bad habits, try new methods & simplify again & again.

As I hone the craft of scheduling I am keeping these words close to me as a reminder:

Create. Cultivate. Curate. Centred.

Here we go…

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.

UPDATE | Write Nights
write.nights.byamygrace

It's no secret I spend many a week night at my desk. I have forever been an 'early morning' or 'evening' creative.  My thoughts are clearest after a workout or when the sun begins to set.  It's the way I have always been.  Naturally, as a writer, I capitalize on knowing this about myself.  

Five years ago I began what I call "Write Nights".  It started when I wrote my first play.  "The Chronicles of the Dramatics Society".  I knew I wanted to pursue the project and so I chose a few nights a week (At that specific time, I would go to 'Obladee' downtown) and write all evening.  That process was magical to me and really helped me understand the process of writing which worked best for me.  

My next project didn't get past the editing stage, but I began to enforce these "Write Nights" with any project onward that I would work on.  

Write Nights can start as early as 5pm but no later than 7:30pm and always end no earlier than 10pm.  If I am truly on a roll it edges close to 11pm.  But so often I find that even if I am on a roll I want to end on a high note and feel that creative surge in my veins when I leave the desk.  

They also always must consist of a beverage even if only water, but I adore it when wine or coffee is a possibility.  I light my 'writing candle' during the times I write and use a string of battery operated string lights from time to time.  

The sound track is essential.  Generally, the music I play must be in theme of my projects.  Currently that would mean a '1920s-1940s' Jazz playlist or a 'femme fatale' playlist.

Write Nights are my version of creative bliss and I however one finds their creative bliss / time, always elaborate on it and make it as alluring for your spirit as possible.  
 

UPDATE | Discipline as a Craft
discipline.byamygrace

Motivation isn't always an easy element to find.  In life, as emotional and dynamic human beings we are often affected by our atmospheres and circumstances.  We can wake up feeling energized only to hours later feel the empowerment drain from our bodies and spirits.  

Discipline hasn't always come easy for me, but I remember when I started to really understand it.  


I was in highschool and something in me wanted to learn how to figure skate.  I barely knew how to skate forwards let alone attempt a simple waltz jump.  But there was something in that sport I loved.  A combination of artistry, athleticism and determination.  

Discipline.  


To be an athlete you have to be disciplined.  I put in the time of joining a class of 4-6 year olds, being the single sixteen-year-old amidst them, our helmets on and learning the simple basic elements of skating.  I showed up at the rink during my free periods, after school and on weekends I started realizing that not only was I loosing weight, feeling fit, learning a skill I was aching to learn, I was also learning what it took to be disciplined. 

Elements of Discipline
 

Show Up

When you have a dream, goal, vision, desire, the first step is showing up.  That is LITERALLY 50% of the battle.  Then you do the work.  It could be sucky ass work.  It could be work that isn't showing any progress but it ALL counts.  

Set the Atmosphere

Whatever it is you are trying to do, it can't be done well if the atmosphere goes against it.  As a writer, for me, this looks like dressing the way I think my type of writer would dress, keeping a tidy and clean desk space so I can get to work at a moments inspiration, having a scented candle to light while I write, a fuzzy mat for my toes and fun mugs for my coffee.  It means having a Living Room that is centred around stories, sharing and music, it means having healthy meals pre-made so I can think less and yet still be wooed by my palate.  Think about what you are trying to do and all the elements that can come along side to support it.  

Quality Over Quantity

We live in a world of excess so it's easy to get distracted with the events, requests, desires and life going on around you.  The truth is, the work is always better when it is given quality attention.  You can put time in that is empty of value because it had less than half your true attention.  Reach for the quality.  For me, that means three solid writing sessions a week.  I get more done in those single three sessions than if I had five.

Tailor Life

So many expectations from others, yourself and circumstances.  What is important is that any distractions and unnecessary elements to the work is stripped away.  This means saying no.  Saying no to things you might be relieved to say no to and saying no to things that might be hard to say no to.  

Give Grace & Move On

& there are times when we are just completely overwhelmed, shocked or hindered because of how life treats us.  We just can't do it today.  That is okay.  That is when we give ourselves Grace and keep going.  Let yourself feel it, experience the grace and then move on and get back to it. 

 

WOMAN WHO HAVE INSPIRED ME IN DISCIPLINE

Tessa Virtue

Ellie Knaus

Hannah Brencher

 

 

UPDATE | Script / Screen Writing
writer.byamygrace

Over the past two months I have been working on two scripts.  

One is a pilot episode and the other is forming into a possible stage piece.  Much of the beginning stages of writing, for me, is sitting with it.  It sounds a bit lazy but in truth,

I need a lot of sitting time.  

I close my door, listen to mood music, create vision boards for the projects and exist with it.  I surround myself with as much inspiration as I can.

This is what I have been doing.

___

This week I attended a screen writing class to prep for an application for a short film.  In truth, I am not sure if I have anything for that particular project, but placing myself in the atmosphere of other creaters is what I need to be doing more.

So I am.

Heres the thing.

I write.

I tell myself this everyday because I forget.
Other people help me forget by not treating me like a writer.  Other times, I help myself forget by not treating myself as a writer.
But I am.  

So that is that.  

I write.

I write here.

I write plays.

I write screenplays.

I write short quotations on Instagram.

I write and I write.

UPDATE | Am Writing
power stance.byamygrace

I am coming into the realization that in order for me to focus on writing strong narratives and empowering scripts, means I have to humble the voice inside my own head, dream big and enjoy the journey. 

CONFESSIONAL
I am never not talking to myself.  I have an unending voice that rarely, if ever, quiets.  I chalk it up to being trained in simultaneous and consecutive interpreting.  Interpreters are taught to process all aspects of information, visual and audible in the moment it is being made, and also, retain that information for it's relevancy later within the same communication time frame.  

THIS MEANS
I am highly aware of my own and others emotions, perspective, and insights.  I am constantly struggling to let go of what I understood of others, myself and the world around me.  I am quick to be weighed down by myself and others and I find being in settings where I am unable to take a break from people extremely exhausting on my body, mind and soul.  

AS A WRITER
Embracing these sides of myself is what is going to push me forward into this next stage of my work.  I need to protect my work hours.  To follow my instinct on what will bring me focus.  To let go of trying to be all things to all people.  To have space enough to let my own personality fall to the floor as I write.  To let the fears of what others think of my work / life choices be just background noise to my main thinking process.

AT THE END OF THE DAY
This is my life.  My legacy.  My Joy.  Writing is my calling and if all I ever do is write scripts and have only a small audience for my work, than I believe I will have not only filled the calling, but will have lived a life that overflowed with joy for me and those who live with me. 

 

UPDATE | Interviews
interviews.hand.byamygrace

Part of my project this summer is to interview relevant people.  Mostly I am interviewing family, but I also am seeking out the relative persons who have a different perspective on this specific topic.  

It's a bit daunting to approach people, even family members.  Asking them questions.  Questions I know that for them may be personal or even hard to discuss.  For me, it's not about the dirt or the messy complexities that are inevitable.  For me, it's about that gold you get when you look at all sides of something.  Someone. 

To do my work properly I need to be brave enough to probe, respectful enough to relinquish control and perceptive enough to see the angles and depth.  It's a multi dimensional thing.  This thing we call writing.  Creating.  

Making something.  Out of nothing. 

Looking at the surface and not just admiring it's beauty but wanting to get to the depth of where it came from.  I think we were all created to ask questions, doubt, praise and get thrills from the unknown.  We were never made to know everything.  But we were made to reach. 

So I will be reaching for that little bit of Gold we couldn't see beneath the surface. 

UPDATE | Summer of Writing
summer.writing.byamygrace

This Summer I am minimizing distractions and focusing in on two specific projects.  This means a lot of time at my desk and a lot of time learning formatting programs and editing skills.  

Both of these projects are women centred and focus on highlighting women through story, history and project creation.

I will be updating on my progress here and starting in July, monthly newsletters.

I am aiming to develop two specific pieces that bring multi-dimensional women to the spotlight and in one project specifically, to give a voice to how personality stereotypes limit our understanding of ourselves and others.  

Women supporting women isn't just a hashtag, it's a force to be reckoned with and I hope that as I bring life to these two pieces I will be able to align this work and myself with women who will breathe life into it and me.  

Heres to the ones who dream.  

 

UPDATE | Summer Writing Space
writing space.byamygrace

"WRITERS ARE DANGEROUS PEOPLE
Never take a writer for granted.
They are snipers armed with words.
They know how to aim with sentences.
How to fire with paragraphs, and
how to immortalize their kills in verse."
- Nakita Gill

I am heading into a summer of writing and spending a lot of time in here.  

Currently, I am getting it ready so that my focus can be maintained in this space.  Minimizing clutter, reviewing notes and making sure that even the candle I light is exactly the type of scent that will inspire me.  

These may seem like simple silly things, but I am an atmospheric writer.  I write best when I set the stage.  Past posters of two of my plays above me to remind me that I have done a thing or two, pictures of two women who have seen me through the worst and the best, an ampersand ornamental to remind me that there is always more to come and a fluffy mat for my bare feet in the early morning or evening.

For my deep and fun loving toddler, I have an Ikea table and chairs, with various creative elements and toys at her disposal.  The IKEA cart with various supplies 'crayons, play dough, paints, colouring books, etc).  Daily we come in here and practice what it means to give your creative self a ponder.  

Next time, I will show you my desk at a closer look when I have the appropriate camera to capture it.  For now, this will do.