Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm Thankful For


I'm thankful that I have a husband who doesn't always have the same interests I have but supports my endeavors 100%. He trudges to the hay auction and buys, loads, and unloads the hay, and never complains. He puts up horse fence, and buys farm equipment so I can have my expensive pasture ornaments. He listens to me talk about scriptchat, even though he doesn't read or write about anything unless it's got something financial in it. I love that he feeds and waters the dogs and cats every morning before I'm out of bed. He even lets my little dog out when he gets up, so I can sleep a little longer. He works extra hours at the restaurant so I can attend writing conferences. He agrees to take me to Sundance even though he really doesn't give a shit about movies. He does so much more, but I don't have room here.
I'm thankful that my older horse, 20 years old in January, is happy and healthy, because I don't know what I'd do if he got really sick again at this age.
I'm thankful for Gracie, my Maltese, because she's always there, no matter how mad I am at my husband, or the rest of the world. She's completely blind, but she can always find me. She cuddles in the chair, rests on my chest, and follows me like a shadow. Without her I'd likely not be where I am today.
I'm thankful for my mom, who never said no, even when she should have. Because of that I learned from my mistakes, and learned to be a better person.
I'm thankful to all of my ex-boyfriends who made me realize what a gem I found when I found my husband. And to all of the ex-boys who I'm still friends with, because we were always friends first.
I'm thankful for my sister and her family for being my family and welcoming us with open arms when we get a chance to visit.
I'm thankful to the wonderful employees we've had over the years at the restaurant, who've made me happy, sad, angry, and smarter. Without them I wouldn't even know how to text message, or know how to upload music to my iPod. They keep me young and make me feel old at the same time. I just wish the good ones wouldn't have to grow up and move on. And our day help, Kim, she's our SUPER KIM, and I hope she stays with us forever.
I'm thankful to the friends I've known all my life who I don't do a very good job of keeping in touch with, but still act like we just talked last week.
I'm thankful for places like FACEBOOK and TWITTER, for keeping in touch with friends, old and new.
I'm thankful to my TWITTER friends who let me live in a bigger world than the small town where I currently reside. For their comments, quips, and general support. I truly look forward to "seeing" them each day.
Oh, and thanks to my customers, at the A&W and the jewelry business, without you I'd have a lot less than I do. My sales rep is a gem and has grown my business with me. Thank you Beth. Even the customers who've made me want to yell and swear, thank you for being our customer and coming back regularly, so I can appreciate our nice, gentle customers.
I'm sure I've missed a lot of things and a lot of people who I will miraculously remember as soon as I publish this post. But all in all, I feel blessed to have had the chance to live the life I live, and the meet the people in it, and blessed to have a support group around me that lets me live my dreams.

Thanks to all of you!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Letting Your Baby (Screenplay/novel) Go

By letting go, I actually mean letting someone else read your work. This is a really scary thing for writers, as we are usually pretty insecure. Now I'm not insecure in any other parts of my life, but as I don't spend all of my time with other writers I'm pretty much alone in this endeavor. And putting my hard work out there for another to critique is difficult, if not downright humiliating.

I remember a recent partial response I got back from an agent. She said my writing was awkward. Ouch. It really hurt me, and I didn't write for more than a month. But I went back and read what I submitted and I had to agree with her. Now I read everything aloud before considering it complete. But also, the partial had been edited so many times that I didn't even like it anymore. Truth really hurts, and I'm also a better writer because of it.

Since that time I've only given my critique partner very little to read, and I've pretty much changed my genre. I'm concentrating on screenplays instead of novels now.

I've had my novels read and critiqued in the past, and I've been to umpteen writers' meetings and conferences, but I'm really new to the screenplay end of writing. I've studied the business for several years, considering dabbling. But I dipped my toe last year and decided to write a teen drama/coming of age screenplay. It's written, done, but is only in first draft. No one has ever seen a word of my screenwriting, not even so much as an outline. But I bit the bullet and asked a fellow screenwriter to read the first 10 pages. (Thank you screenwriter, you know who you are)

My fingers were shaking as I saved the Final Draft file into a PDF, so I could attach it to the email. Now I knew what I was getting myself into, because I knew she'd be brutally honest, and not feed me a line of bullshit, just like I'd expect from an agent or editor. I had no idea she was going to read it that very night.
Just before I jumped on the treadmill, I saw that she had finished reading, and was sending an email before she sent the pages back with notes. I almost puked. And I still had to run 3 miles. It was the longest 3 miles, because I wanted to get off the treadmill and see just how badly I'd missed the mark. Remember, I'd never written a screenplay before, and certainly I'd never shared it with anyone.

But I ran my 3 damn miles and waited. I longed to and dreaded opening the email. And bless her pea-picking heart, she let me know I was on the right track. I could breathe now. (Imagine running 3 miles without breathing, lol). So I'm jazzed to start rewrites (though I have no idea how to rewrite a screenplay), and get started on the RomCom that's been dancing in my head for 6 months.

Oh, and I'm so lucky to be a member of RWA, where I can mingle with my own kind, and to have found a group of screenwriters on Twitter who are so giving of their time and knowledge. We tweet about everything from work to doggy issues, but we reserve Sunday nights for tweeting about screenwriting. Being that I live in the middle of small town nowhere, this is truly the best blessing a writer can ask for.

And so I let my latest baby go forth into the world, knowing it needed work, but now knowing it's worth doing the extra work for.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Keeping Up

Yeah, yeah, it's been over a month since I last posted. But in my defense, I've been finishing up the year at the restaurant, and gearing up for holiday season with my jewelry business. This used to be the time of year I sat around all day and read books, and wrote for hours on end. Not so much anymore.

Now if you count what I've posted on Twitter, I've written a novel's worth of Tweets. But we have Sunday night chats, so I don't count all of the Tweets as time I've wasted when I should have been doing something else. And just keeping up with the "friends" on Twitter is very time consuming. And worth every second spent on the darned sight.

So the restaurant is closed for the winter season, and the jewelry business is surpassing last year's numbers, and writing, well, I have plenty of time to write, but I've chosen to spend the first weeks off from the restaurant with my husband. Oh, that's right, just one more thing to keep up with, family and home. The house is the cleanest it's been all year, and the dogs are thrilled to have company all day.

The horses? What, horses too? Yup, I have a lot of things to keep me busy in my 24 hours a day. The horses have just been pasture ornaments, even though the weather has been in the 50's. Shame on me. Soon I'll be too old to enjoy them, and they'll be too old to enjoy the work.
On my gravestone (which I won't have, because I'm not going to be buried) it'd read, "She was always trying to keep up. And she milked every minute of life for what it's worth."
Hopefully those words won't be written for years and years. lol
And now I'm keeping a blog too.
Maybe I'll post a list of my things I do in the next post.