But What’s the Because?

So, I didn’t intend to write a blog post for today, even though I usually do post on Thursdays. But, as you might’ve noticed, I moved last weekend, so my new home looks like a hoarder lives in it. I need need need to fix that. Plus, I’m cooking birthday dinner for my mommy today! Therefore, no blog post.

But

Then, I read/watched From Inspiration to Creation, today’s blog post by Chris Brogan, and I got all inspired to share a brief thought with you.

What’s the What?

In his post/video, Chris talks about taking an idea — and then deciding what to do with it. Does he want to use it to generate more interest for chrisbrogan.com? Or does he need to expand it into something more business-y for kitchentablecompanies.com? Or is this idea better fodder for something else entirely?

So, the first question he asks himself is: What’s it for?

Keep It Simple

Chris’s question reminded me of one of my favorite movies: The Boys Next Door with Nathan Lane, Robert Sean Leonard, Courtney B. Vance, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Jeter, and Mare Winningham. (I list them to distinguish the movie from another with the same title.)

In this movie, Tony Goldwyn plays Jack, a social worker who oversees the care of four mentally challenged men who are trying to live in a non-facility home. Just thinking about this movie makes me tear up, because it’s so sweet, so funny, so heart-warming, so devastating, and so triumphant.

And I haven’t watched it in far too long, so I can’t remember what’s happening in the scene I want to quote from. All I can remember is that Jack is trying to communicate something to Lucien, the most severely challenged of the four men.

Lucien (played by Courtney B. Vance in a stunning performance) can’t understand the reasons behind what Jack is telling him. In his simple way, Lucien asks:

What’s the because, Jack?

What’s the Because?

Combining Lucien’s simplistic worldview and Chris’s business sense, I come to this conclusion:

Whatever you’re publishing online — especially if it’s a blog post, an article, or a piece of creative writing, first ask yourself why you’re doing it.

Do you want to help someone?
Is this the answer to someone’s question?
Did you read something someone else wrote, and you think your spin would benefit others?
Are you marketing yourself? Your services? Your product?

Are you just listening to yourself talk?
Have you seen others post on this topic, and you want to ride someone’s coattails on the bandwagon?
Did you write this because it seems like the popular thing to do (but you don’t really have a passion for it)?

You put something together in a nifty package, and you want to share it with the online world.

But why?

Truth

Answer that question — find your because — and you’ll gain clarity about all sorts of things. Your target audience. Your writing process. Your thinking process.

If you’re honest, you might even gain clarity about yourself. And gaining that kind of clarity enables you to serve others better.

It makes you a better human being — and a better human living.

______________________

So, what’s your because?

Why do you do what you do? Write what you write?

Have you always asked yourself the whys? How has this habit made you a better person?

Let’s talk. : )

Will You Be My Fracquaintribe?

Caveat emptor readtor:

This post might mirror my life: jumbled, disorganized, exhausted, frantic. (And yet, there’s a tranquil part, too, because I am SO THRILLED TO BE LIVING IN A HOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1996!!!)

You’ve been warned. ; )

Word cloud generated with Wordle.net

*ahem*

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the definition of “friend.”

I really started thinking about it when I first joined Facebook four years ago — and people started “friending” me. Not be-friending, mind you, just friending. Suddenly, “friend” could be a verb that didn’t require a prefix.

Friend Me! I’m Friendly! And I’m Not a Psychopath!

And it didn’t require close connection with the person in question, either. We got rid of the “be-” and, at the same time, got rid of the need for knowing someone before we call them a “friend.”

On Facebook, I discovered, friends were friends. Acquaintances were friends.

Annnnnnd…total strangers were friends! What?! Upon a friend-friend’s recommendation, I found myself friending someone I’d never met in person or even online. I trusted the friend-friend not to steer me toward a crazy person, so why not?

So. “Friend” no longer meant “person I spend lots of time with and trust with most aspects of my life.” In this brave new cyberworld, a friend was someone with whom I had a connection either through personal experience or through decent referrals.

How cozy.

Along Came Twitter

Since May 2010, I’ve been a Twitterer. Or a Tweeter. Over a year, and I don’t know the nomenclature for what I am. Identity crisis aside, I’ve been tweeting and re-tweeting for 14 months now…

…and, wonder of wonders, I’ve got better connections with my tweetlings (as I call them!) than with the “acquaintances” and “total strangers” whom I have friended on Facebook.

My tweetlings tweet and RT (read: re-tweet) about me, and I about them. I help them out; they help me out. There’s a lot of give and only a little take. Whereas Facebook “friends” will opine and argue (sometimes discourteously), tweetlings tend to be polite.

From what I can tell, the rule on Twitter seems to be:

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

I kinda sorta like that a lot.

Tribe Hummus*

The newest part of my What’s A Friend? Saga is that Dino Dogan of DIY Blogger NET invited me to join Triberr.

You can click through to read the whos and whatsits — but basically, Tribber is designed so that individual tribe members can automatically retweet each other’s blog posts, thereby giving each member access to the others’ followers.

I’m too new to tell, really, just how much Triberr is extending my reach…but extend my reach it does. When I tweet my blog posts, 339 followers see my tweet.

But through the members of my Triberr tribe, my posts reach 6,785 Twitter users.

That’s a lot of free advertising. ; ) It’s brought me some new connections, and I’m pondering setting up my own tribe. I’ll blog more about that in the future — so prepare ye for updates! ; )

Triberr members promote each other; simply by being a member, I’m doing something good for three other people. And by being members, those three people are doing something good for me.

Friends do that.

Fracquaintribes

So. What do you think of all this?

Ten years from now, will we still have friends?
Will we have acquaintances?
Or will we all be members of tribes or clans, less and less individualized and more community-minded?

Is any of this pointing toward a sort of hive mind?

Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated. All of this re-defining of relationships is interesting…but how far will it go before the intellectual exercise turns into a humanity we present-day Twitterers, Facebookers, and Triberrs no longer recognize?

If you’re reading this, you’re pretty much already in my fraquaintribe. So let’s talk. : )
______________________
*As I pondered the heading for this section, I Googled the word “tribe” for fun. “Tribe hummus” was one of the auto-complete options; it made me gigglesnort, so I kep’ it. ; )

Taming Fire

Greetings, inklings! I hail you today from the great land of Moo Vingto House. I’m currently traveling through the province of Pain Ting Kit Chen, where blogging time is most horridly limited. So, instead of a blog post today, I give you an announcement:

Please do click to embiggen! It's really cool!

My friend Aaron Pogue’s first epic fantasy novel, Taming Fire, is now available for purchase on Kindle!!!

Taming Fire is the story of Daven Carrickson, this beggar kid who has finally found a good place in life. He’s got a home and friends and some pretty cool dreams. All is pretty much well with his world.

Then this somewhat bumbling wizard shows up and messes everything up.

From there, it’s magic and plots and irate kings and vengeful soldiers and, here and there, psychopaths. Lemme tell ya, psychopaths who can do magic are a pretty freaky lot. Oh, and to top it all off, there’s a ginormous black dragon who has it in for Daven. But you’ll have to read the book to get the hows and whys of that.

Aaron’s book is a fun, fast-paced read with a main character you can’t help but root for. I highly recommend it to any fan of epic or even just sword & sorcery fantasy. Aaron does the genre justice — and also plays with the conventions in some pretty interesting ways. But there again, you’ll have to read it to find out how. ; )

Oh, and one more thing.

You see the image of the cover up there? (I hope you clicked to embiggen it, because it’s made of awesome.)

The one with the two wizards and the dragon?

The freakishly scary black dragon?

Yeah.

I totally painted that.

Booya.

; )

So buy your Kindle version of Taming Fire now!

_________
Cover art trade dress by Amy Nickerson.
Thanks to Julie V. Photography and Simon Hurst Photography for providing a digital image of my oil painting.

The Grooming Habits of Agents

Or: A Brief History of My Journey to Indie Authordom

Photo by Julie V. Photography


Once upon a two-years-ago, I met a real live acquisitions editor.

I’d let my mother talk me into attending an Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. Conference at a hotel in south OKC. Introvert and publishing world n00b that I was, I required a lot of convincing. The carrot that got me was Mama’s offer to pay for the whole thing. So, off I went to the writers’ conference.

After I got over myself, I had fun. Some neat people talked to me, so I tagged along with them all three days of the conference. One of them had published a few novels with a Christian publishing company, and he introduced me to his acquisitions editor.

My face was all polite smiles and wittiness. Inside, I was thinking,

“Hmm. Acquisitions editor? Foot in door? Is this it?!?”

Eventually, during a break between lectures, there was a little circle of conversation at the hotel coffee shop. I don’t recall how it happened, but something I said about my in-progress novel led to this editor’s turning to me and asking, “So, Courtney, what is your book about?”

Inside, I said, “Um.”

Back Story

Before the conference, I’d signed up to pitch my epic high fantasy novel Triad to one of the agents who’d be at the conference. Now, I had with me a carefully crafted cover letter and the painstakingly polished first three chapters of said high fantasy novel.

I had not come to this conference prepared to talk to anyone about my Christian fantasy novel, Colors of Deception, which was then in first draft stage.

Fast-Forward

So, when Acquisitions Editor Attached To Christian Publisher asked me what my in-progress novel was about, I had about half a second to come up with a pitch.

Inside, I thought, “Um.”

And then, I thought, “This IS it!!!

Outside, I said, “My novel’s about a group of Christian college students who are being stalked by demons.”

To which Editor Attached To Christian Publisher replied, “I’d like to see that.” And she gave me her business card.

Outside, I said, “Great! I can have the first three chapters ready for you in a few weeks.”

Inside, I said,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened Next

Not long after that conference — and with manic re-writing in-between — I sent Benevolent Acquisitions Editor an email, asking in what form she’d like the first three chapters. She replied with instructions to mail her a hard copy.

I did that.

I waited two months.

Then, I received her email thanking me for my submission and stating that my story was not what her publisher was looking for at this time.


 

 

 

 

 

Turning the Beat Around

I felt crushed. Beaten. I didn’t understand. Why would she show such interest in my story, if it wasn’t the kind of story her publisher was interested in? Why did she get my hopes up like that? Shouldn’t she know better than to treat a fragile, sensitive writer’s heart this way?!

Of course, with hindsight and a bit more education about the publishing world, I now understand it was nothing personal. Either my writing style wasn’t what she was looking for, or my story really wasn’t the kind of story her company was interested in, after all.

Of course, the notion that my writing was, at that point, simply not good enough is completely preposterous.

*ahem*

Anyway, by now it was fall of ’09, so I made an early resolution: 2010 would be The Year I Found An Agent.

A flurry of agent-y research ensued. There was intense poring-over of submission guidelines. There was much flipping through of novels to see which authors credited their agents. By February 2010, I’d compiled a database of 35 agents, their preferences, their guidelines, their faves, their published authors, their grooming habits, and their agencies. All I needed was to re-visit my query letter, perfect it, and start sending it out.

If You Need Something Done Right…

Then, in March 2010, my friend Aaron approached me about founding a non-profit organization to support the arts. How he talked me into it and how The Consortium came to be is another story and shall be told another time…

…but the end of the matter is that instead of getting an agent, I got an indie publisher. I got a published novel. Colors of Deception, that story about Christian college students stalked by demons, is in the hands of readers who, by all reports, are enjoying the heck out of it.

Maybe I coulda been traditionally published. Instead, I’m indie published. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

________________________

My most darlingest inklings! Are you agent-hunting? What’s your process?

Are you querying? What’s your greatest query letter challenge?

How do you deal with rejection letters from editors or agents?

If you’ve gone indie or self-pub — what was the legacy-pub straw that broke your writing camel’s back?

Let’s talk. : )

I Wordled Myself

 

*ahem*

Git yer mind out of the gutter!

Wordle is a fantastic, fun site that lets you make pretty word clouds. Yay! Click here to go play with it!

Me, I made a word cloud out of my most-used blog post tags. Let me show you it!

Click the cloud to embiggen!

 
And that, my dear inklings, is pretty much what Courtcan.com is all about. : )

3 Lessons from Jury Duty

Or: A-fluency Is No Excuse

So, in case you haven’t seen it yet on Facebook or Twitter, I have the dubious honor of immersing myself in a jury pool this week.

Honor, because the judge who talked to us yesterday morning reminded us of a lot of horrid yet truly magnificent things that happened in history to bring us to the point of having a voice in judicial proceedings. Her Honor made excellent arguments.

Dubious, however, because accepting this (required) honor means that today, I get to visit juvenile court for the first time ever and observe a lot of sad, frustrating, depressing stuff that I can’t do a whole lot to change.

: (

But Back to the Positive What-Nots

Also, in case you don’t already know this about me: I grew up in Germany and traversed the German school system from Kindergarten all the way through Gymnasium (which has nothing to do with sports). Thus, I’ve had little to nil exposure to the ins and outs of the American judicial system.

Several things I learned yesterday came as quite a surprise to me. Or, if they weren’t surprising, they were at least contrary to my expectations. Let me show you them!

3 Lessons from Jury Duty

1. The court selects its jury pool from Department of Motor Vehicle records — not from voter registration or homeowner records, as I thought it did.

2. In a room full of 200 strangers, it’s rather inappropriate to voice your opinion that “all Middle-Easterners are inbred, and we should just let them all kill each other.” (The voicer of said opinion was a 60-something white man who, I gathered from his conversation, hasn’t spent a whole lot of time observing any Easterners, Middle or otherwise.)

3. Even if you don’t speak English, they will not send you home. Instead, you get to sit there with the rest of us until someone figures out whether or not you’re really a U.S. citizen.

Jury Duty Is Story Fodder

Might I use the information from #1 in a future story? Maybe. I have no particular plans to write a courtroom novel…but could I use my newfound knowledge to add a hint of detail for the judicial system of a high fantasy epic. Yes, yes I could. (The benevolent ruling class draws its tribunal members from the Department of Wooden Chariots. Or somesuch.)

The…um…”gentleman” of the questionable ethics strong opinions shall one day find himself a character in a story. I don’t believe I can do him the honor of turning him into a villain — but he qualifies quite well as an unlikable side character.

And how would it feel to walk into a government building and face a crowd of 200 people who can all communicate (what seems) perfectly with each other — and all you can say are their words for affirmative and negative? What would it be to climb the stairs to that room, knowing that this impossible situation is waiting for you? Would you take a deep breath and hold it before you step into the room? Would your hands shake as you approach the bench? Would your voice shake as you grope for the words to explain your situation to the clerk? As you turn from the bench, would your face feel hot as you meet 200 pairs of curious eyes?

I’m gripey about having jury duty right when I’m trying to pack up my household to move…but really, I can’t complain. I’m getting the chance at a new set of experiences, which is always always beneficial for a writer. And, in spite of my introvert preferences, I do relish the interaction with representatives from so many different segments of society. They’re fun to watch, fascinating to listen to, and, in several cases, fun to talk with.

I memorize their faces, their voices, their mannerisms — and I’ll remember them when I write and write and write.

_________________________
Have you served in a jury pool or on a jury? What’s your favorite tidbit to share?

And what about people-watching in general — where’s your favorite place to do that? What are some of your more memorable observations?

Have any of those real people turned into story people? Do tell!

Insert Maniacal Indie Author Here

In this video, I talk about:

  • getting my first royalties check
  • doing something very stupid
  • writerly emo-panic
  • Consortium Books, my indie publisher
  • and itchy noses.

There is maniacal cackling, as well as much rejoicing.

Sometimes, the two are even related.

At the end of my video, I invite you to share thoughts in the comments section below. Let me repeat that invitation: Come talk to me in the comments! If you think I’m ridiculous, please at least tell me. After all, if no one tells me, I can’t know that I’m ridiculous; thus I am doomed to remain forever ignorant of my laughable plight.

Thank you in advance. ; ) Also, if this got you curious to read my novel, Colors of Deception, then do please click that link and buy the book. $12.99 paperback, $2.99 for Kindle.

Let’s talk!

The One Where I Get Paid for Writing

Brain sludge. YUM!

Once upon a time, I got a job as a writer.

I was eight months out of college, and I’d spent a season working retail at a place that sold educational materials for children.

The stocking of shelves!

A gripey assistant manager!

A customer-cheating boss!

SHRINK-WRAPPING!!! 
 

My mind felt like sludge at the bottom of a duck pond.

Waking Up to the Nightmare

I needed to write.

I also needed a job.

Ergo, getting a job as a rep in a mortgage company’s correspondence department seemed like a dream come true.

But in the reality of this once-upon-a-time fairy tale, I wasn’t writing anything I wanted to be writing. My job consisted of answering written inquiries from mortgagors.

Late charge disputes.

Payment histories.

Amortization schedules.

Grammatically incorrect form letters.

: (

Usually, I could answer the letters in writing. But sometimes, when the call center couldn’t handle the volume of incoming calls, I had to talk to (irate) mortgagors on the phone. My supervisors called this “jumping into the queue.”

For me, it was jumping into spider-infested quicksand.

That was my first experience getting paid to write.

Living the Dream

Yesterday, I had my second experience getting paid to write.

This experience was much more pleasant than the first.

You see, my dear inklings, yesterday I received my first royalties check for my novel, Colors of Deception.

Please, allow me to repeat that.

Yesterday I received my first royalties check.

Yesterday I received my first royalties check.

Yesterday I received my first royalties check.

That just sounds so darn pretty.

I’ll Show You Mine…

I’m plotting a video post for this coming Thursday, in which I shall talk about:

  • the thrill of finding that check in my mailbox
  • the terror of can-I-do-it-again?
  • and the transparency and vulnerability of one indie author (that’s me).

I’d show you a picture of the check, but my camera seems to be non-functional at present. So come back on Thursday and see it on video! I’ll even Show & Tell how much it’s for!

Until then:

Have you gotten paid for writing?

What kind of writing? Creative? Technical? Journalistic?

If you’re an income-generating blogger, what was your first-time-paid experience?

Come talk to us, people. Share the joy, and share the writing love!

Play Cowgirl — If That’s for You

Greetings, dear inklings! Today, you get the privilege of hearing a fresh, lively, lovely voice that’s not mine. ; ) Patricia Middleton has been my friend for the better part of two decades — which means I’ve benefited from her wit, her enthusiasm for life, and her creative inspiration for nearly 20 years.

That’s pretty cramazing.

Dear readers, I like you a lot. So it’s my great pleasure and honor to share Patricia’s voice with you. It just wouldn’t be meet for me to hoard her away all to myself, would it? ; )

I hope she inspires you as much as she does me.

Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story

Patricia writes:

There is a feeling that I loathe. It is the feeling that amidst everything — whether I am busy or bored — there is something important I need to do that I am forgetting.

It’s always getting under my skin, constantly nagging at the back of my mind, and I feel that time is slipping away, time that could have been, should have been used to do….what?

Perhaps it’s easiest to explain by identifying when I don’t have that feeling. They are the times when time is flying by, in the best sense possible. When I’m having fun, creating, and forgetting all worries to lose myself in the joy of creativity. I recently realized that this sense of happiness and not just well-being, but best-being, was very akin to a child at play.

Frivolous Cowgirl?

“Play” for some conjures up this dread of inanity, of meaningless frivolity, of time wasted. I contend that for creative people, play is not only constructive, it is hard work…but we’re having so much fun we don’t mind much.

With that in mind, think about the things you did as a child that made you happiest. Let me share a few examples from my own childhood and draw out the patterns as an example.

What did I do creatively when I was a child? (Let me mention that as the oldest of eight kids, I never lacked for playmates.) My earliest creative memory was of playing “C.P.” with my brother. “C.P.” stood for “Cowgirl Patricia” and consisted of me drawing a map of a ranch on paper and pretending that I was the ranch owner, using my toy dogs and horses (who could talk) to make up stories. My brother played along as my ranch hand.

It’s Showtime, Y’all

Later, when more of my siblings were able to join in, I wrote “plays” for us to perform. I usually starred, not always out of vanity — but being the oldest and the author had its privileges. In one I was “Red Squirrel,” an Indian princess who was kidnapped and had to be rescued by whoever was my favorite brother at the time.

I loved “Mathnet” from the old PBS “Square One” show. I adored Detective Kate Monday, so I set up an “office,” gathering props and costumes to mimic the show. Later I discovered animated films. I was enthralled with stories that well-told and well-drawn, and found that with practice I could imitate the artwork. Not only did I constantly sketch Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, I got my youngest siblings to play “Voices”.

This was quite a process. We’d (I’d) decide which movie to re-create, then we’d (I’d) assign parts via a (rigged) lottery. We’d recite as much of the dialogue and songs from the movie as we could before we fell asleep, and often took up where we left off the next night. I constantly corrected lines or inflections to be sure they were letter-perfect. I don’t think we made it all the way through a movie very many times, but everyone loved playing.

It was so much fun making up a world, inviting my siblings to interact as characters, and spinning a story together.
Looking back on this, a few patterns emerge: I loved making/imitating fictional worlds/storylines/characters, I enjoyed being a main character, directing (willing) accomplices, and there was a major effort to accentuate the visual in each case. You can guess where I’m heading…a fabulous career in theatre!

You can imagine my delight when I started college and discovered the fabulous world of theatre! (And consequently discovered my acting “skills” needed work.) I did it all….sound, lights, costuming, makeup, props, directing, and finally…acting. Not only acting on stage in a few plays, but winning a place in my college’s touring improvisational troupe, which wrote its own material and went to dozens of summer camps and youth gatherings to perform.

The Proof in the Pudding Pathos

I loved (nearly) every minute of it. I learned that peers were much less tractable than my siblings and that not all my ideas would be accepted. After graduating with my Liberal Arts degree, I went on to work for a few months at a regional theatre.

Then the dream ended. I sent out resume after resume, but couldn’t find any theatre work. I moved back home and took a job at a bookstore. I reasoned that I loved books, and I desperately wanted to live on my own. Besides, it’d only be temporary, right?

Seven years later, I acknowledged that I was burnt out. I’d quit drawing, the retail hours made working on any show impossible, and I was writing 1 or 2 skits a year. I was constantly discontent, snappish, angry with myself, moody, you name it…I was a mess.

I quit…right before the economy dropped and jobs became scarce, doubly so in my city where the aviation industry laid off thousands. For the first month, I was pretty happy. I had time to draw, write, read, play piano…and of course I sent resumes to every theatre within a three-hour radius. The second month, that radius increased to six hours (after all, I wanted to be able to visit my family every now and then).

The third month found me broke, frantic, and desperate for ANY job, my faith in everything crumbling to bits. I was writing (thanks to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron), but it was full of despair and pathos. I finally found a “temp” job as a proofreader. I was proofreading…tax forms.

It has got to be one of the most boring jobs on earth. I have been doing this for the past three years. While it’s much less stressful and offers better hours than the bookstore, I am still unable to find opportunities to volunteer my time at any theatre. It seems to be quite the close-knit community, and unless you know someone, it’s tough to break in.

I found myself spiraling downwards once more…feeling hopeless, like I’d never get to do what I wanted to, and despising myself for my lack of courage to face financial and personal hardships for my art.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Brighten Things Up a Little

There is a silver lining to my cloud. I haven’t found my happy ending yet, but I have found some happiness. This is due in part to the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which articulated for me for the first time how someone with great intelligence and a great sense of responsibility could still be true to herself, which in turn “brightened the corner” (to borrow Courtney’s catch-phrase) for herself and everyone around her.

Like many intellectuals, I have continually berated myself for not being able to “think” my way out of my funk (rut, routine, personal hell, whatever phrase you find apt). Gretchen acknowledges that we do need to spend time to think about what is going on in our lives….but that shouldn’t be the end of the matter. One needs to actively identify one’s priorities and define obstacles and act to change what you can to gain happiness.

This does not come naturally for me. Seeking opportunity, sure. Making time to be creative…I could do that with practice. Making creativity a priority even though I don’t have the perfect outlet or constant support…that’s a little harder. Setting creative goals? SO not my thing. I don’t even like to make “to do” lists. Yet I’ve found that the joy of conquering a creative goal is proportional to the challenge.

Pick Your Poison Pudding

Remember not every creative activity is for you…you may want to love it, you may even be good at it, but if you have to force yourself to do it and get no joy afterwards, it’s not what you were meant to be doing.

As much as I’d love to direct theatre someday, I hate conflict, and I’m not a natural leader. As much as I admire great costuming, I don’t enjoy sewing beyond the occasional button replacement. If you’re striving to make time for your creativity, make sure you don’t waste it doing things that are creative, but not enjoyable. Remember your time is precious! Get as close to creative nirvana as you can!

Don’t replace your creativity with someone else’s. Books, television shows, and movies are great for inspiration…but wouldn’t it be better if they were yours? Sure, what you create may not be an instant hit, but it’s experience you didn’t have before.

Am I going to produce my latest script? Nope. Let someone read it? Maybe after a rewrite or three. Am I sorry I spent the time doing it? No. You can read all the scriptwriting tips and tricks in the world, but until you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, theory will remain just that.

Were you concerned with rules and structure as a kid? Nope. You knew what you loved, instinctively knew what was good. You took the best parts and ignored everything else, followed your gut, did whatever put made you smile.

Have fun! Who cares what anyone else thinks? They’re just weird grown-ups, after all.

So go…play!