Working in a timely manner

train conductors
“Now that’s something you don’t see every day, Chauncey.” “What’s that, Edgar?” “A writer setting a schedule and sticking to it.”

Following the lead of some of my writing colleagues, I’m making more of an effort to establish a sense of order and structure when it comes to my writing and all things connected with it.

It used to be “Write when you can!,” which in a way it still is, but more layers and categories have been added to the mix.

-First and foremost, the setting aside of at least an hour a day to work on one of my own projects continues, be it outlining, writing, editing, rewriting, or polishing. This remains the primary objective.

-Networking. While connecting with people is easy, maintaining those relationships takes effort, and can quickly become time-consuming. As much as I enjoy conversing (albeit online) with people, I try to keep it to a minimum – unless it’s relevant to the project of the moment.

-Related to that is the reading and note-giving for other writers, especially those who were equally as generous with their time to do the same for me. I may not always be on schedule about it (something I’m trying to improve), but I make a point of getting it done.

-Career-building. This mostly involves researching potential recipients for pitching and queries, which means diving head-first into the scavenger hunt that is IMDB Pro. While most of the time the contact info is accurate, sometimes it’s out of date (people move on), or there’s no contact info whatsoever, or the person or company in question hasn’t existed for years.

*True story – researching an agent, I’d discovered they’d apparently died several years before but the email was still in operation. I opted not to query them.

-Overall stayin’ organized. I’ve started jotting down each day’s objectives and “must do’s” in a little notebook, and checking off items as they are accomplished. It’s been very helpful in making me stay focused on what needs to get done, rather than hoping I remember later on.

All of this is still somewhat early in the process, but so far, so good. That feeling of being in control helps make the whole thing seem a little easier, as well as feeling like stuff is actually getting done.

How about you? What steps are you taking to be more organized with your writing?

Moose, squirrel, and two guys in drag


rocky & bullwinklesome like it hot

It’s been a very long time since I attempted to write a script that did not involve the phrase “rollercoaster ride” as part of the description.

So while I wait for notes on the western and mystery-comedy, I’m taking my time in figuring out the story of what is shaping up to be a low-budget comedy.

Which also means it has to be funny, yet another mountain to conquer in itself.

Funny is subjective.  Something somebody else considers hilarious might make me shrug and say “I don’t get it.”  But I know what makes me laugh, so that type of humor is what I’ll attempt to incorporate into my story.

For me, a very important part of this is re-educating myself in how the jokes work and how they’re constructed. As I figure out the story, I’ll also be watching and learning from some prime examples of how it’s done.

Among them: episodes of ROCKY & BULLWINKLE and SOME LIKE IT HOT.

Part of what I like about them is how the jokes feel organic AND smart. The humor comes from the situation and how the characters react, rather than feeling forced.

Each also does a great job of gradually setting up punchlines, and not just going for a rapid-fire bombardment of one-liners.

Something else to keep in mind: both are over 50 years old and still hold up – further proof of their durability. The subject matter may be a bit dated, but the jokes still work, and that’s really what matters.

Don’t mind me. I’m just regrouping.

Cut a little slice out of each day for creativeness (and done literally, you get pie!)
Cut a little slice out of each day for creativeness (bonus – pie while you work!)

Remember that New Year’s resolution you made about being more diligent and really sticking to a writing schedule and how you were going to be super-productive in 2013?  How’s that working out for you so far?

Well, here it is almost the middle of February and what does yours truly have to show for it, script-wise?

Zilch. Zip. Nada. The proverbial big fat goose egg and other colorful metaphors.

An outline with barely any dents in it and podcasting equipment that’s been taken out of the box twice.  How am I supposed to move ahead when I feel like I’m standing still? Not acceptable!

I could claim that most of January was focused on the query letters, but that’s kind of a lame excuse.  There’s no reason I (or any writer, for that matter) shouldn’t be able to set aside at least 30 minutes a day to work on something. Anything.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve got that constantly-burning fire inside you that makes you want to write, create or produce something, and when you aren’t able to do that, you feel like you’re taking a step backward.

So consider the reset button officially pushed.  Let’s call this my New Year’s Resolution, Take 2.

I will do my best to try and accomplish at least one important thing each day for both script and podcast.  To be fair, there will be days where circumstances are just beyond my control and nothing will happen. It’s inevitable, and I accept that.

But the rest of the time – no excuses.

-Movie of the Moment. Not necessarily a movie, but a rediscovered treasure.  All 5 seasons of ROCKY & BULLWINKLE on Hulu Plus. Want to see countless examples of smart and hilarious writing in action?

Bullwinkle and a general watch helplessly as a missile takes off with Rocky strapped to it.

GENERAL: That squirrel is headed straight for Washington!

BULLWINKLE: Do you think he can carry the farm vote?

Look no further, my friends.