We had a pretty good year over here at my house. Besides a couple of weeks of painful tooth misery and two root canals, I've had little to complain about. A lot of people I know are having a tough time personally, or suffering major health issues. So I'm lucky. And I know it. In the ups and downs of life, I feel like I am in an upswing.
I try to remember this when I'm feeling low -- mostly about my stalled writing career and such. Especially, this time of year, I start to think, "Geez, another year of breaking my back to write, and for what?"
Other people work hard at their careers and are enjoying well-earned promotions and new job offers. I work just as hard as them (if not harder) and I am producing some of my best writing (I think) and yet, I'm still fighting to get noticed. It's exhausting, this writer's life. And it can eat away at your self-confidence and self-esteem.
And so it's important for me to take inventory and recognize the work I've accomplished this year (because I've got no boss, no bonus, no annual review) and because I need to remember that I haven't just been spinning my wheels during 2006 (even though it sometimes feels as if I am).
1) I had a paying professional TV writing gig this summer.
I was hired by Tapestry TV to write the Communication episode for Discovery's "Great Inventions with Bill Nye" series. I now know more about the inventions of the telephone, radio, tv, telegraph, fiber optics, internet, computers, etc, than I ever thought I'd know.
2) I finished a rewrite on a full-length screenplay called Relative Distance.
This is an accomplishment for me, because I'm good at completing TV scripts, but have a hard time finishing feature-length scripts. Finishing this script was all about self-discipline.
3) I completed a spec script for My Name is Earl.
I've entered this script into several contests and believe that this is the one that will win me some money and recognition in 2007. I'm also going to use this script to enter Nickelodeon's Writing Program.
4) I developed a proposal for a TV show about a boarding home for psychic teens called Cayce Place.
While I haven't yet written the pilot episode of this show, I will be entering this proposal into The People's Pilot writing contest.
5) I started writing a screenplay called Wynhaven.
This was originally an old script (called Sea Haven) that I wrote several years ago, but never finished -- because that's my problem -- finishing these things. Anyway, I'm retooling the script, a Stepford Wife-like thriller about a creepy suburban enclave in which the kids are more than perfect -- they're too perfect.
6) I helped shoot a documentary, The Bluebelles, and began editing.
We're editing once a week, so this may take a while. But in the end, we'll have a feature-length documentary about the unique friendship between a group of elderly women.
7) I flew to Iowa to research a future script called The Grotto.
This one has been put on the backburner for now, but there's some divine inspiration here, and eventually this will get done too. And hopefully, a miracle will occur and this one will get bought and produced. Hey, Mel Gibson, if you're reading, give me a call and we can discuss this story.
8) Along with my writing partners, I wrote a proposal for a TV series called Ames Harbor.
We adapted this idea from a full-length screenplay into a series. There's some kooky characters in this one, about a small town with lots of secrets. The main character is a middle-aged woman, trying to make her way as a massage therapist. She's also a recovering alcoholic who gave up her daughter, and spent time in prison. It's a great role for a middle-aged actress who looks middle-aged, and isn't Botoxed to death.
9) I'm outlining several other possible screenplays.
One is about a group of elderly women who are BFFs who would do anything for each other -- even commit murder.
Another is a romantic comedy about a 30-year-old divorced mother of two who decides to enroll as a freshman in college.
And I'm continuing to research psychic phenomena for a screenplay about the Spiritulist Movement.