My senior year of high school, I had a teacher- Coach Bryant, who taught Government and Civics. Our first day of school, he told us that we needed to learn one thing every day…and if we didn’t learn that one thing in his class, on our way out when class was over we were to tell him that he owed us two things tomorrow.
Why THAT stuck with my from high school, I have no idea.
Anyway, flash forward 30 years (gulp). I still feel I need to learn something every single day. I must be banking a few ‘new things’ at this point though! As some of you know, I’m working on a Proof of Concept video for Worlds Away…think of a movie trailer BEFORE the movie’s made.
I have no idea what I’m doing!
But that isn’t stopping me…I’ve written the short script, cast it and found an amazing crew to help me. I’ve got this…I think! I have to swallow the doubt and insecurity every day – I don’t know what I’m doing…but I’ve never let that stop me before!
Without knowing what I’m doing, I wrote and published 9 Middle Grade novels – creating my own publishing company along the way…without knowing what I’m doing, I’ve written 5 screenplays and without knowing what I’m doing, I’m shooting a short film.
Call it what you want: learning something every day, fake it ’til you make it, or having faith that everything will work out – whatever it is, that motivation gets me out of bed every morning and gives me the courage to try something new.
As I’m gearing up to create the proof of concept for Worlds Away, I thought once I had the kids cast, I was done…apparently I forgot about the evil fairy queen – Tatiana! If you know someone who would make a great fairy queen and is willing to work for food and bragging rights…let me know!
Just to get you excited – here’s the latest poster (check out the fairy queen’s ever watchful eyes on the top!) with the kids!
Thank you Jen for all the amazing work:) and Caroline, Sidney, and Owen for already signing up for the next round of the journey!
The last few days have been an emotional roller coaster – which is saying something for a writer since everyday is an emotional roller coaster!
I ran into a former student yesterday who was doing several amazing things with her life – making me reflect on my life choices and if I’ve made the best ones.
Then I ran into another former student today. She’s a senior in high school, works, run cross-country, is taking a couple of dual enrollment courses and is one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. I worked with her in elementary school and she was one of the hardest working kids back then, instilling in her a very strong work ethic. Reading was SO HARD for her – but she never gave up on herself.
We started talking about the books I’ve written (specifically the crypto series) and why I started writing them: for my students who needed something they could read, but also wanted to be seen reading.
She flipped open Under Sapphire Skies – saw the larger font, more white space on the page, and the easier language…she looked up at me, “You wrote this for me.” In middle school she WAS the girl who had to read ‘elementary’ books that her mom highlighted…but wouldn’t be caught dead with.
Tears popped in my eyes – she’s the reason I wrote them (even though I wasn’t teaching her at the time) – and everyone else who has ever struggled to read. I asked her if reading was still hard and she said it was, but she still used every single strategy we ever taught her and was making straight A’s!
So, thank you to everyone who has ever put a book into the hands of a child – you never know where it will take them or what something ‘for them’ means.
It’s not what you think – or maybe it is…but a nemesis wasn’t what I thought it was!
On this screenwriting journey that I have chosen to take – I learn something new almost everyday. This lesson started one week ago when I was getting some thoughts from an executive on Worlds Away 3 (Into Amethyst Mists) – based on the novel of the same name.
He had two major notes for me: 1) what to the kids learn/get from their adventure collectively and 2) the creature Deimos they must battle which is the god of terror sounds too much like Pennywise from It.
So, I had to do more research to find something ‘different’ and include a life lesson…It’s amazing when things fall together when they seem to be falling apart.
This past week I started back to school, my father’s been in the hospital more than he’s been out (it seems), and I heard that a friend’s house burned down – losing everything. WOW! My first thought was that I needed to find some balance…we all need to find some balance…
Nemesis – the winged balancer of life, dark-faced goddess, daughter of justice. She is the distributor of fortune (both good and bad) as no one should have too much of either.
So not only was I able to find my balance and put everything back into perspective, I discovered the ‘creature’ the kids must battle and their life lesson that for every good or bad thing, try to find balance.
So my wish for you is may you all have balance and find your Nemesis!
Loose threads aren’t good in life or in writing – things need to be tied up neatly (preferably with a big bow too!)
After working diligently on Worlds Away: Within Emerald Forests and thinking I was finally getting close to the end, a loose end slapped me in the face…
YIKES! Why didn’t I see that before? Why didn’t ANYONE see it before?
After much screaming and cursing a thought hit me – Maybe it’s not a big deal…Maybe –
Then I thought back to all the times I’ve read a book (or watched a movie) and it ends but I still have questions…I’m mad – and worse, I feel cheated. I just trusted someone with my precious time and they let me down.
I can’t do it. I can’t work THIS hard and get lazy at the end…so learn from my frustrations…find your loose threads and tie them off NOW. Don’t wait and never take the lazy way out.
I know it’s been FOREVER since I wrote anything here – please forgive my absence…things have been CRAZY busy!
Worlds Away is steadily moving forward – it seems as if I get more notes on it every day so each day it improves by leaps and bounds!
Rebel Yell is a different story…the novel is on hold (for now) as it would be difficult to keep both the novel and screenplay on the same path at the same time, so I’ve been trying to focus on the screenplay…whew!
Here was my inspiration to write tonight – I had an hour phone consult tonight with an exec in LA who had read Worlds Away (for the second time) and we were to discuss the progress and where it could/should from here…but when I came back from teaching my yoga class, I learned that our cell phone service was OUT…and we don’t have a ‘house’ phone.
I emailed the exec and told them that phone service was sketchy but to try…she did, it didn’t work. So I hopped in the car and drove around until I found a place with service…the Dollar General store parking lot in Hastings!
When we finally were able to connect – I told her where I was…she applauded my dedication! We chatted for nearly an hour and wrapped it up when the police cars were continuously patrolling the Dollar General parking lot. I’m not sure if they were there for me or someone else acting suspicious, but I wanted tofinish up before I found out!
So…dedication or insanity – there’s a fine line…but follow your heart and follow your passion and it’ll all work out!
I need the help of my wonderfully brilliant village! A person I pitched Worlds Away with suggested that I have a glossary of creatures to help out people who may not be familiar with the cryptid world. I wanted something fun and catchy! What do you think of these:
You can respond with your favorite (or something you come up with!)
This has been such an amazing week (and it’s only Wednesday!)
While most people (me included) realize that everything happens in its own time and that you must learn to walk before you can run – it’s difficult to internalize all of that when you are in the midst of wanting something better, faster – NOW!
I just finished a tutoring session with a student I have worked with for many, many years – he has had to learn to live with and adapt to severe dyslexia and dyscalculia (reversals in letters and numbers). All of the baby steps we have taken together gave him wings today – We were working on his budget and while calculating some numbers took time and effort – he was able to calculate some instantly and correctly in his head! I have to say that again…he calculated numbers correctly IN HIS HEAD!
I hope he realizes the enormity of what happened. We celebrated then his mom and I did too…
It took us a long time to get here. It was not easy by any means for him, his family, or me – we all worked very hard for this moment and yes, I’m basking in the afterglow!
So when we feel we hit that wall in life (or in writing) – we need to be persistent and start CLIMBING that wall…
I’ll see all of you soaring above it and flying in the clouds!