9/30/09

Gina Colada!!!

Writers do many types of writing to make ends meet. We write for ourselves, for freelance assignments, we submit to magazines and contests and blogs and some of us even do copywriting. I do, and I love it. Love it, love it, love it! I personally adore advertising, always have, long before MadMen was on tv (which I also adore), I have been obsessed with creating catchy names and slogans for things. I used to name my parties and comedy shows and give nicknames to people and things whenever I could. I also used to make up songs to go with these little crazy catch phrases, but have since spared the general public of my lack of vocal ability and just put pen to paper, to get the message across.

Just recently I decided to get my copywriting website up and running and here it is! If it exists, I can name it, if it's named, I can create a slogan for it, if it needs to be sold I can write ad copy for it. There are a lot of things I can not do, but this I can and I do and I am so lucky to be able to call it a job.

I guess all those years of being a receptionist at my parents hair salon reading magazines really did pay off!

9/28/09

Writing in chunks...

This weekend, I started on the end of my novel and then switched back to the middle and then back to the end and then the middle, and so on and so on...

I am almost halfway and this is where it gets tricky, I now know parts of the story and what the story is, but how it all comes together, the transitions, the roads to the destinations, that part is still still unclear and so I am writing what I know. This means writing the scenes that I am absolutely sure of and leaving huge gaps in between. I hate leaving gaps, and writing out of sequence always makes me nervous, but I really don't want to wait until I know the bits in between. My first novel took me 3 1/2 years and that was partly because I found it nearly impossible to write out of sequence, leaving me struggling for days, weeks, months, until it became clear how to get from point a to point b. I am hoping to keep up the writing this time around by just writing all that I can and trusting that the rest will be made clear.

Fingers crossed it all makes sense in the end.

9/24/09

Where does the time go????



How is it possible that I haven't blogged in 4 days? Sigh. Well, let's see...it is 9:30pm and I have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner at my desk. I was happy to do so. I got a great naming job, finished my copywriting website and corresponded back and forth with my agent and chatted on line with a terrific writer about writing, all while I was, well...writing. It's all about the writing these days and clearing my desk to allow the writing to happen. I am learning to say no to things that may take too much time and energy away from it, and am really trying to put all my focus on helping the writing grow. Of course there are still auditions, which now seem like long car trips away from my desk, and a great way to chat on my headset and listen to NPR. Oh, yes, and I get to see what it looks outside, from the inside of my car.

What can I say? It's crunch time. And with this crazy heat wave continuing, I can't think of a better place to be than my air conditioned office.

9/20/09

Writing haze and Happy New Year!


It has been days since I blogged and I apologize. I have been in a writing haze and under the weather. Yesterday I spent 8 hours at my desk working on my copywriting website..it is almost done. I will unveil it soon! And the days before that I was working on my second novel, which is making slow progress. I now have not one but two boards up on my office wall, one for plot points that get fleshed out the other for questions as they arrive.

I am under the gun a bit as I am need to have my last few chapters done before I start my final advanced novel writing workshop at UCLA. I was thrilled to find out that I was accepted in, and will get to spend the next 20 weeks along with 10 other students, workshopping my entire novel. We start at the end and work our way back, which is a long and demanding process, and one that requires me having written the end!

So for the next three weeks, I am not leaving my office. I hope that these gorgeous flowers that my mom and dad sent me for the Jewish New Year will last that long!

9/16/09

Feeding the muse and writing breakthroughs...


Sometimes you gotta feed the muse. My muse likes loud music, chocolate, caffeine, salt and yes...pinkberry.

If there's one thing that I have learned, is that I will do whatever it takes, read indulge whatever craving I have, to get more words on the page. I will bribe and cajole and feed my writing brain whatever she desires, just to keep my butt in the chair until the words start to come out from their hiding place and onto the page. Today's cajoling resulted in 1000 new words. It took a huge iced coffee, a liter of water, a salad for lunch at my desk, 7 hours and the now empty container that you see here, full of coconut/passion fruit swirl and chocolate chips...but it was worth it.

My first novel took lots of cajoling, and added (a now gone) extra 6 pounds on my 5'7 frame. With this second novel I am leaning less on the baked chips, but still, if I think that a pint of frozen yogurt will buy me an extra hour or two at my desk it is worth it. I guess if I still smoked, something I haven't done in years, I would be chaining away. Thankfully my new found addiction is much healthier and comes in many exciting flavors. What can I say, my muse has a sweet tooth...tomorrow she just might get the pomegranate/original swirl.

9/15/09

Transitions...

These are hard days for so many of us. Not enough employment opportunities to go around, more competition than ever for them, and having to work just as hard for less than before. I was saying last night to my husband that I feel like the out put is 100% and the return is 10%. I'm operating at a 90% deficit or as my husband likes to call it...investment in the future, I'm just waiting for the return!

I joked that I will look back on these past few years as the transition years; moving to L.A., hitting my mid 30's, enduring 2 industry strikes, and a recession, the time when I really moved the focus away from my acting, and towards my writing. Transitions are difficult, they take time, and patience and energy, so much energy, and trust and an understanding that a massive front loading of effort is required to move onto the next thing. It is like moving. There is so much work to do, so much time dedicated to the move, but once the move happens, and you are living in your new space, you look back and say, wow, that was worth it.

A lot of people have switched or like me, added another career to the one they already have. I knew someone whose mom went back to Law school in her 50's, my own mom became a real estate agent 5 years ago, and I am always so impressed when someone just decides to make a move and go for it.

What about you, any big switches that you made after you thought you were all set and done?

And one more thing, I'd like to ask for a collective good thought from everyone reading this...my debut novel is making the rounds to publishers in NYC as I write this!! Fingers crossed. Now that would be a great return on my investment!

9/11/09

What swims beneath...




Rough waters are up ahead for my protagonist Elsie. She is venturing into the unknown and who knows what lurks beneath the dark blue sea for her. I don't. No really, I don't. Sometimes writing is like that, a character appears on the page and surprises me and I think to myself, why hello there stranger, what are you doing here? And why aren't you going? The party is over, but I see you have decided to stay... And then that new character changes everything that I was planning. They complicate things and make things harder and more wonderful and it makes me wonder what else is lying in wait for me as I let Elsie swim across those choppy waters, her toes dangling into the deep.

I can't wait to find out! And today I am not going to leave my office,until I do.

Have a great weekend!

9/9/09

How do you do it?

I made it! I survived the all encompassing love that is my family!! I adore my family, and love visiting them and my friends, but find it so hard to do work when I am there. Now, I know some people would say, "But it's a vacation! You're not supposed to work!" But the truth is, it isn't always a vacation, and when you are self employed, you take the work when the work comes regardless of whether you wanted to or not. Sometimes the free time and the work time overlap, and I understand that it may be hard for people to understand that just because there is no office building that I go to, or just one particular boss, that I am working. But working for oneself is hard, I love it, but it demands that I make my own schedule, hustle up my own clients and contracts and meet deadlines that I set and are set for me when I get freelance work.

I tried to explain this to my niece and nephew who were trying to grasp the concepts of agents and clients and wondered who could I fire and who could fire me? They also wanted to know why I didn't go into an office, whether I got 3 weeks holiday a year, and if one day I would leave my apartment and get a real house. Now they are 6, and almost 4, but their confusion about what I do for a living and how it gets done, is completely understandable. Most of us grew up around people who went into an office, put in their hours, got paid on Fridays and had yearly vacation time. And yes, lived in houses.

This struggle to balance, work and play with my family is an ongoing struggle that sometimes we all get right and sometimes we don't. I am lucky that everyone has the best of intentions and that really we all just want to spend time with each other...I mean who wouldn't want to spend the day at an amusement park with delicious children instead of doing research.

And I know I am not alone, I have lots of friends who are not writers who struggle to balance work/play/family/friends and other commitments and I am wondering how do they do it? How do you do it?

I know one person who got up and wrote everyday from 4:00am -6:00am, and then ran a company for the rest of the day. He only slept 4 hours though, and after getting just over 5 hours sleep a night this last trip, I can honestly say that would kill me.

Tell me how do you balance it all? Or don't you?

9/3/09

I have been taken hostage!!

This blog has been interrupted by two delicious and monstrous little people aged 6 and 3, who have taken me hostage and turned me into a human pinata.

Huge kudos to anyone who has ever managed to work from home, write a book, or who knows maybe even eat a meal in the presence of small children.

I fully expect to be strung from the rafters and babbling incoherently by weeks end.

See you next week...I hope.
 
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