HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I know I’ve skipped over the obligatory resolutions blog post, but don’t you worry, I’ll get to it.
First, I wanted to let you in on a little secret. One that’s taken me years to unravel and I’m pretty proud to say its effects are already astounding.
Goal setting gets the job done.
I’ve kind of known this for a while, I’m a planner and the promise of writing another hundred lists is what lures me out of bed in the morning.
But something happened recently to make me feel like I should be setting more short-term/weekly goals and, more importantly, putting in effort to make sure I achieve them.
This particular story begins, as many stories often do, with a picturesque landscape as our setting.
I do my best thinking while driving. I know, I know, I should be focusing all of my attention on the blaring car horns blazing past me on the 405. And, truly, I am. But when that radio is turned up, and whatever song happens to be streaming through the speakers elicits an emotion or a memory, the cogs start a-turnin’.
Christmas Day this year started, for me, with a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway a.k.a. CA State Route 1. If you’ve never been to California, this magnificent stretch of road starts somewhere down in Orange County and travels up north all the way to Mendocino County–over 655 miles.
Whenever I have a visitor in LA, I try and make it my business to take them on a little jaunt down a small section of this road, not only for it’s cathartic aura, but for it’s pristine beauty: on one side–mountains, on the other–the glistening Pacific Ocean.
When my car tires wind through the ebb and flow of the curvy lanes, it’s as if a dam breaks and the water flows so monstrously fast it takes out everything in its wake…[Wait a minute. This was supposed to be a peaceful analogy. Try again.]
…it’s as if my brain blasts into hyperdrive and all my best musings spill out, ready to become personified in a physical manifestation of excellence [Better.].
One major problem: I’m driving, you guys.
I haven’t yet figured out a way to transfer all of my thoughts from my head to some sort of recording device while in the midst of travel. I feel like pen and paper may be a little dangerous to use while operating heavy machinery and talking into a tape recorder just seems all too cliché. I feel weird hearing my voice speak out loud to no one in particular and I’m sure I’d get more than a few stares from others on the road.
Christmas Day, though, I was doing some pondering that didn’t involve specific details and were easy to remember.
“Today, Short and Feisty, you’re going to learn a little bit about the powers of setting a short-term goal,” I remarked to myself.
“That sounds great, self. Did we shower this morning?”
“Stop trying to sidetrack us! You want to really get into screenwriting, you need to make time to do it. No excuses, pony up.”
“Pony up? Where are we getting these words from–have we been gambling?”
“Oh my gosh, YOU ARE ANNOYING.”
“You’re just learning that about yourself?”
“When we get back home, we’re going to sit down in front of that computer and research. Pick an underlying theme or topic for our next work, and watch every documentary we can find. Read every article we can uncover.”
“Oh, yaaaaaay, we love documentaries!!”
“That’s the easy part. The hard part will be what we have to do next.”
“Starting this Saturday, we’re going to write the first 20 pages of our newest script. By Sunday night, we should be up to page 50.”
“Is this going to require us to become a hermit, again?”
“You got it, sister. Over the course of the week, we’re going to write at least 10 pages a day. That means waking up at 5:30am to get to the coffee shop by 6:15am and then on to work by 7:30.”
“Can’t we just write at night?”
“No, you scallawag! You’ll be too tired from chasing babies all day. The following weekend, we hunker down, again. Get the take-out menus ready today. By next Sunday, January 5th, we will have at least 110 pages written–a full feature length script.”
“I dunnoooooo. This seems difficult. I’d much rather eat an entire pack of Milano cookies while watching a pirated version of BBC Sherlock’s latest episode.”
“Pirating is bad (right? I dunno…that’s a gray area. They should’ve released it in the US at the same time). BUT WE CAN DO THIS. We just have to really push our limits. Then you’ll have a completed script to enter into any one of the plethora of screenwriting competitions out there. So let’s stop making excuses, turn this car due east, and get started.”
“Can we dangle the promise of those cookies over our head each night? Or maybe an ice cream or 12 from 7-11?”
“I will allow it.”
Today is Monday, January 6th and my first draft of my latest script is finished and in the record books coming in at 111 pages.