The importance of just plain starting

Wise words for all you procrastinators out there – what? Us? No, of course not, we at TVWriter™ never put things off. Well, almost never:

by Jory MacKay

nowandlater“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”

When Bonnie Ware, a nurse who cared for patients in their final weeks,published the most common regrets she heard, not chasing dreams was number one.

“When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made,” she wrote.

Every single day we choose how we spend what few hours we have.

Yet, despite the constant warnings to chase after what we believe, we often fall victim to procrastination and a fear of even just starting.

Every single day, my to-do list is a reminder of all the other projects I haven’t started. The passion projects that I ‘just don’t have time’ to do. And when I do have time? That familiar friend—fear—comes knocking at my door.

For myself, and the 95% of the American population who admit to falling prey to procrastination or even total avoidance of the things we want to do in our lives, ‘time management’ only goes so far.

And when it comes to looking at why we fail to start, there are larger emotional and psychological reasons at play.

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Seeing and helping the future you

Procrastination isn’t just simply us putting off things until a later date. It’s purposefully putting aside important work knowing there will be negative consequences in the future.

We aren’t just being forgetful, or complacent. We’re purposefully hurting ourselves by focusing on short-term pleasure at the cost of the long-term.

Almost all studies agree that procrastination leads to to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and poorer well-being.

In our professional lives, it can have dire consequences. In our new way of working, with increased autonomy to work when and how we want, your word is your reputation. And missing deadlines for no good reason, is really no good reason.

Dr. Piers Steel, an organizational behavior professor at the University of Calgary, has proposed a simple formula to determine why we make certain choices….

Read it all at Crew

Peggy Bechko’s World: Smarten Up, Write in Longhand

cursive

by Peggy Bechko

Writing By Hand Can Make You Smarter.

True?

Not true?

Turns out there’s a lot of info out there to support true.

So I’m not old fashioned and crotchety because I still prefer to write some things by hand. But wait, don’t some groups advocate not even teaching cursive writing?

Big mistake.  Just check out  a study by Pam Mueller, a Princeton psychologygraduate student when this article was written back in July 2015.According to the study folks who took notes in class longhand retained more and comprehend more than their fellow students pecking away at computer keyboards and actually taking more notes because they could take them faster.

So, what does that mean for writers? Put away your computer and grab a pen and notebook when in the planning stages of your next project. Whether article with research or novel (also with research – just because it’s fiction doesn’t mean you don’t have to have the facts straight) or screen script (ditto).

It appears that typing might be just fine once the writer is rolling, creating whatever it is they’re creating, but apparently writing notes longhand is a much better method to trigger memory and the synthesizing of collected information than typing or pecking at a phone screen.

Don’t believe it?  Then you might want to give it a try. I have over the years. Having written novels, published with major houses and optioned screen scripts in addition to articles and ghosting, I’ve tried almost every method of producing my work. I’ve tried every idea to try to shortcut the process, but there are some things that just don’t take kindly to short-cutting and memory and processing information are apparently two of those.

I mean, not only did those student in the study type notes much faster than they could write them, but it didn’t gain them anything. In fact, they lost ground against their longhand note-taking companions. Not only that, but they had less comprehension of what notes they did take. Not only that, but when they tried going back and studying the copious notes they’d taken on laptops, they actually did worse on the tests.

Hmmmm. Ever find yourself taking lots of notes from an  interview on your computer as a professional writer, feeling like you raced to keep up? Then, did you go back over your notes and nearly wonder who took them in the first place since you can’t remember what was said?

It seems like if you take the notes by hand, you’re more involved, more inside the subject matter.

My notes are a mess, my handwriting would probably get a ‘D’, but when I compare them to what I tried to take once up on a time on my computer when I read those notes they trigger memories and associations. I find myself more fully engaged and when the time comes to get it all down into a document, the flow is swift and smooth.

The long and the short of it is, keep writing. Keep writing by hand to focus the writer in you. Keep a notebook handy. (come on, you know you love thoseMoleskines anyway – and they come in cool colors and black too!).

There’s no doubt it works. Something about our brains… whatever… my creative partner Charlene Brash Sorensen and I create our outlines, plot ideas, scripts, even comic blocks for Planet Of The Eggs by hand on note paper before we even begin working with our comic creating software. Charlie prefers graph paper – I prefer lined.

Save the tech stuff or later. Start writing by hand.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. This post was originally published on her glorious blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

Stop Censoring Your Creative Work!!!

“To thine own self be true,” remember? Or as Our Beloved Larry, LB himself has said, “If your work doesn’t present the world as you see it, then you’re betraying not only yourself but your art.

Or, to put it a bit more helpfully:

braindamageby Matthew E. May

It’s one thing to reject the ideas of others…we do that almost automatically. But when we reject, deny, stifle, squelch, strike, silence and otherwise put ideas of our own to death, sometimes even before they’re born, it is the highest crime against creativity. It’s an act of pure tragic mindlessness. I often think of this self-censoring as “ideacide,” because it entails the voluntary shutdown of the imagination, the long-effects of which eventually kill off our natural curiosity and creativity.

Most times, ideacide happens without us even realizing it. A possible off-the-wall idea or solution appears like a blip and disappears without us even realizing. As a result, some of our best stuff is suppressed before even getting out into the world.

Whether it’s because we’re too critical or because we recoil at the impending pain of change, the disruption of normalcy, self-censoring arises out of fear. Welsh novelist Sarah Waters sums it up eloquently: “Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends’ embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce…”

We know self-censoring by many names. Carl Jung called it our “inner critic.” Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers called it the “voice of judgment” in their classic book, Creativity in Business, based on a popular course they co-taught at Stanford University Graduate Business School. Novelist and screenwriter Steven Pressfield called it “Resistance,” writing that it is “the most toxic force on the planet” and that it is “a monster.”

How One Mistake Can Self-Censor Us For a Lifetime

One touch of a red-hot stove is usually all we need to avoid that kind of discomfort in the future. The same is true as we experience the emotional sensation of stress from our first instances of social rejection or ridicule. We quickly learn to fear and thus automatically avoid potentially stressful situations of all kinds, including the most common of all: making mistakes….

Read it all at 99u

Next Time Someone Wants You to Create for Free, Consider This

Good advice for not only writers but everybody who, well, who works, actually:

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A fine piece of work in progress from Robert W. Tinsley (artist, writer, TVWriter™ friend, bon vivant!)

by Andrew Griffiths

We all have to deal with people wanting us to do things for free. There are those who blatantly ask for it, those who try to negotiate on price because that’s what they do and those who are just plain cheap.

What does it mean when someone wants us to do things for free or cheap? It means they don’t value what it is that we do. And in some ways, that is kind of insulting. Over the years the projects that have caused me the biggest grief have always been the free ones or the cheap ones.

I suggest you take a moment right now and think about the following. How many hours have you actually spent learning about what you do? How much time have you invested in educating yourself? How much money have you invested in your chosen business? How much has getting to this point cost you?

So as an example, I’m an author. How many hours have I spent learning to write books, publish them, promote them and leverage my knowledge? Easily 10,000 hours, in fact many more. How much have I invested in learning to be an author, promoting and leveraging my books? Easily $250,000 dollars over the past 20 years. Clearly that’s a big investment and clearly I have accumulated a lot of information, knowledge and expertise, through a lot of trial and error and that is highly valuable. This means I should charge accordingly….

Read it all at Inc.

How to Make Giving Up Work for You…?

WTF? Succeed by giving up? Win by losing? Or is “giving up” really a way to keep from losing?

Surrender-Captureby Matt McCue

Growing up, I had a Winston Churchill quote on my desk: “Never, never, never give up.” It served as a daily reminder to continue pushing forward, especially when things were rough.

Persevering against all odds certainly helps in the creative industry where you have to convince art directors and brand managers to buy your abstract and experimental ideas and bring them to life in the real world. However, looking back, I realize that the mentality to keep going at all costs can be an inefficient approach to work. In other words, there are merits to giving up.

I’m not saying give in at the first sign of a struggle. But what if we thought of our ideas less as precious commodities (and battles to be won) and more like stocks we can invest in and cut loose depending on how the market –project managers, clients – feel about them at given times? Things we like and feel are promising, but aren’t married to, should our position become weak or we find a more favorable opportunity.

Ideas, though, are treated with far more care. We often apply a “buy and hold” strategy to them, especially the bigger ones, like building a company or developing a new product. I think it’s because our ideas are often tied to our dreams, and what we’re really unwilling to give up on is the dream itself.

We don’t solely judge the idea – we judge it through a lens filled with beat-tired late nights, sacrificed paychecks, and all the other trademarks of building something from scratch….

Read it all at 99u

Does Your Writing Suck?

You want to be a writer. More than that, you know you’re a writer – you just haven’t been discovered yet. But others don’t share that optimism…what do you do?

For starters, you read this:

Found at Dreamstime.Com

Found at Dreamstime.Com

by Joleene Moody

When I was in college, I wrote a farce for the stage. It was weak, at best, because I couldn’t come up with a decent ending. I don’t want to destroy my reputation here, but the first ending had an alien kidnapping the protagonist during Christmas Eve dinner. (Please don’t delete me from your network. I was only 21 and likely under the influence.)

Knowing it was a bullshit ending, I threw my stage play in a box with some other scribblings where it sat for 15 years. In that time I worked as a television reporter and anchor in the city of Syracuse, chasing criminals and crooked politicians, all the while pretending that writing two-minute news stories twice a day was enough to satisfy my muse.

It was not.

I should tell you that since I boxed my play up in 1997, I’d been thinking of an ending to bring my play full circle. For 15 years, I pondered it. I’m not even kidding. I mean, I wasn’t obsessed with it, but when the holidays would roll around I would look for the magical ending. I even went so far as to ask people, “What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had happen to you during a family holiday meal?”

The most I got was someone’s aunt falling down the stairs. Pfft.

Then one day during a zumba class, the ending came to me. I don’t know why, it wasn’t even Christmas. I don’t think I was even thinking about the script as I bounced around that room, but I will tell you I couldn’t get out of there fast enough to write it down. I keep paper and pen in my car, so the second I got behind the wheel, I wrote it down.

That was in 2012.

In November of that year, I spent all of Thanksgiving break rewriting the entire script, new ending included.

In January of 2013, I submitted my play to five theatres: two in New York, two in Buffalo and one in Syracuse.

In the summer of 2013, the head director of the CNY Playhouse in Syracuse sent me a message to tell me one of the other directors wanted to direct my play Christmas of 2014.

I nearly died.

One of the greatest things we experience as writers of stage and screen is the moment we are able to watch our work unfold. That’s why we write, right?

(I’ve been dying to put those two words together like that.)…

Read it all at Stage 32