My Spiritual Writing Cleanse Day 14: Rewriting Pages 60-75

Breaking a script into chunks is a more viable way to approach a 120-page screenplay. I am a Cardinal sign, so I am all for beginnings, starting new things. I always am really good at my first act. I usually don’t start a script unless I have my ending in mind as well, but the middle….where all the changes and struggles happen…

That’s where I tend to get all mushy like old bananas.

I’m very straightforward and I like to just get things done without all the waiting, the ups and downs. I will be honest in saying that in my past I haven’t always trusted in the process of life. I have often skipped the present moment and want to get to the end.

One thing that’s helped me with this problem is gardening. I’ve been seriously gardening since August of last year. I’ve seen plants come and go and really laid witness to what it takes to make something grow. It takes time, process, there is an actual formula for growth, any growth.

For me, planting the seed is the Act I. Watering, pulling weeds, waiting for the plant to push out of the ground is Act II, and actually seeing the fruits bloom is Act III. I guess eating the fruits would be like getting paid or selling a script, huh?

Anyway, I’ve learned to respect the Act II process. Just because I can’t see what’s going on underground, doesn’t mean work isn’t actually happening, work that is really necessary for the creation to be beautiful, edible, sellable.

Anyway, Day 14 involves rewriting pages 60-75. The character breaks through obstacles using the skills she’s learned, things get realized, things are learned at this point. King says to write for eight minutes about what you learned about the story from writing this script and then to underline whatever jumps out at you. That will be the essence of what the character realizes.

I will be honest. I didn’t write for 8 minutes. I knew what I had realized and it was about self confidence, about consistency, about being in solitude, alone, getting things done. My characters are very pro-active, getting over hurtful relationships and family drama. They are totally me and my way to deal with letting go of false realities.


My Spiritual Writing Cleanse Day 13: Rewriting Pages 45-60

Weird day.  A lot happened and didn’t happen which is why I didn’t write until 6pm. It didn’t take much re-writing pages 45-60. The initial script isn’t bad.  So Pages 45-60 are when the character can’t go back to where he was before. King says you can go back to where you were so you can know why you left it.

“Only go back to know to go forward,” she says.

Page 60 is where the characters make commitments to their changing behaviors/circumstances. Um, that’s where I got today. Tomorrow will be better. Hopefully I’ll get started earlier. Writing at night is new for me. I usually do my writing during the day/morning. It doesn’t hurt to try new things. Being committed means doing things out of your comfort zone or normal patterns. For me writing at night is one of them. Saying no to friends is another. Hopefully I’ll change just as much as my characters are.

My Spiritual Writing Cleanse Days 12: Being Real

I’m going to be straight up right now. I was way distracted last week. I barely re-wrote anything. Earlier today as I sat down wanting to continue where I left off, I had to get real and go back to where I left off and that’s Day 12, where I was supposed to re-write pages 30-45. I got to thinking, that it’s better to go back there because every day Viki King has something to say about re-writing, some tips and I don’t want to shove all those tips together amongst the span of a few days, man.

I want to share that stuff, actual growth.

In a script, between pages 30-45, a character is going through initial growth. King says that you as an author may be going through similar things, like not wanting to change or grow and it hurts with every step that is taken. I can honestly say I feel this.

Re-writing is challenging for me. So much so that I distracted myself so much last week that I didn’t re-write more than 16 pages. I didn’t allow myself to grow with the script. Instead, I did other things that weren’t at all according to my plan and somehow the week came and went. It’s Monday. I’m still in the process of re-writing my pages 30-45. This blog helps keep me honest, faithful somehow. The only thing that feels good is being honest to myself and to my work. That’s the real growth for me as a creator/person right there. I need honesty in my life and that starts with me.

My Spiritual Writing Cleanse Days 10-11: Moving Around Inside

Like most things in creation, getting pregnant is the easy part, the fun part. After that comes the real work that the body does, moving around insides to make room for something new to form.

To me, re-writing is just that, the hardest part. You have to sift through shit to get gold and really think about what you have done and rearrange your life to accommodate this force that’s so much greater than you. That’s what I’m doing right now. Sure, I don’t really want to write at this point. I got pregnant and I’m dealing with the aftermath. But I want my creation to be amazing, so I have to put in the work. Nobody wants to birth something mentally disabled, missing limbs, pre-mature, or worse, still-born.

I want fleshed-out characters, three-act structure, flow, fluidity, planting and pay off, character, growth, empathy, believability, and catharsis.

These past two days I’m re-writing pages 1-30. I was a bit nervous to get in there and start, but once I did, I had fun with it. In my mind, I knew there were many loopholes and too much dialogue. Not enough action. After talking to my best friend/screenwriting instructor about writing, he reminded me to focus on painting a picture with action, scene description, rather than have the talking heads. Nobody really wants to see two heads talking. We want to see things painted,  visuals.

Still hanging in there. Re-working, forming this beautiful screenplay.

My spiritual writing cleanse, Days 7-9: First Draft “Done-so”

So yesterday I finished the first draft of my script. As a buddy of mine would say, it’s “Done-so,” maybe pronounced DUNZO. lol. I know. Dorky. But it’s nice to say, “Done-so” when something is done. It feels good. Try it.

Today I read the script with a friend and it’s not half bad. Yes, it’s a baby zygote, fetus, the beginning of a creative pregnancy. Yes, it needs work, but after a week of writing a 120-page screenplay straight from your heart, you cannot judge. Viki King actually says not to judge your work. She says not to ask if it’s good or bad. You are just supposed to ask these questions:

Does this scene work?

What did I want to show here?

Can I show it another way more effectively?

Is the story that I wanted to tell the story I told?

Is it true to my original feeling?

Did you know what it was about?

Could you identify with the characters?

Was this movie about what you thought it was about?

These are good questions to ask.  I am going to change my mentality about re-writing. In my past, I’ve found re-writing to be one of the most challenging parts of writing, but I will look at it with a positive, open mind and embrace every uncomfortable, nail-biting urge. I kinda have to stay positive and feel good about what I’ve created. My fourth screenplay baby is on its way to being born.

My spiritual writing cleanse Day 6: Something’s Gotta Give

One of my favorite movies is “Something’s Gotta Give,” written and directed by Nancy Meyers, starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It’s about an older woman who falls in love with her daughter’s boyfriend who happens to be her same age. When I was a mentor with the WriteGirl organization I actually got a chance to meet Nancy Meyers and she’s totally this character.

The dude is a 60ish year old bachelor, total ladies man, successful owner of a hip hop label and she is a famous playwright who is a “tower of strength”, super successful, formidable. Anyway, they fall in love after he gets a heart attack while staying in her Hamptons house. She ends up taking care of him for a few days since he can’t go back to the city until the doctor clears him. It’s there when they fall in love. When they return to the city, she sees him on a date with a younger woman. He tells her he doesn’t know how to be a boyfriend and this totally breaks her heart. One of my favorite sequences of this movie shows Diane Keaton BALLING, CRYING while writing her script about their very relationship. She basically writes out her pain, lets it come out and it ends up turning into a very successful Broadway play.

I can say that I have had my moments with this type of feeling, like balling crying and not knowing what to do with your feelings. I’ve always dreamed of writing the way Diane Keaton did in this movie. I guess I never really had my heart broken like that until recently.  I know what that feels like to just cry like you never thought you would stop but eventually you do. But there’s something magical about crying. It cleanses you. I allowed myself to just cry and cry and cry until I had nothing left but energy to put into my creative life, so that’s where I am and I feel like myself again. Like Diane Keaton, I didn’t try to resist what I felt. I embraced it, let it flow right through me so the pain is no longer there.

This process utilizing Viki King’s book allows you to do just that, to purge whatever is inside of you that wants, begs to become a story. As I near the end of this random draft process, I feel like I’ve nearly released all that was inside of me. I will be wrapping up my first draft of this script within the next few days and I couldn’t be more excited.

My writing spiritual cleanse Day 5: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

Five days ago I had no pages of my script, but today I am at page 70. I was supposed to be at 75 today, but I had some MAJOR catching up to do so that’s where I left off. Pretty good, huh?

Today has been totally, completely awesome. I went to yoga in the morning and came home and got cracking on the writing. I actually had a bit of a challenging time sitting down and getting started, but once I did, the pages flowed like water.

I had some really encouraging things happen today as well. In the beginning of this year I reunited with an old friend, probably one of the oldest friends I have that I’ve known since I was 13 who is now a successful actor with connections. So we are planning to work on a project together soon. This is great news. I feel like I cleared out my past and enriched my soil so I could plant something new. Everything is coming together. My wildest, craziest dreams are coming into existence all because I listened to my heart, my gut. I knew my life needed to always be in this place where I thrive creatively. When I think of writing, I become full, giddy like a school girl in love with some silly boy.

But no. I’m in love with the world I am creating. This morning, I couldn’t wait to sit down to write. My characters were waiting to be fleshed out. I couldn’t ignore their voices.

I want to share something revelational with you right now. When you lie to yourself, you attract a world of lies. When you are afraid, you attract a world full of fearful people that are so separated from truth, from God.

But if you are truly brave and living your truth, your purpose, MAGIC HAPPENS QUICKLY. I continue to write every day with a truthful heart and clear mind. I was doing so much weird crap for so long, working in a restaurant, a casino, with kids, in a call center. Not being truthful to who I was. To who I am. That’s over now.

As a great friend of mine often quotes to me: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

It’s simple but it works and it’s essential for writing.

A hummingbird also flew into our house this afternoon. An omen, a good sign indicative of new beginnings.

My Writing spiritual cleanse Days 2-4: Catch up

Having a deadline is working well for me. I’ve noticed that I have my project on my mind a great majority of the day and it forces me to carve out time for the work even if there are other demands/distractions.

Over the past 3 days, I’ve had to flake on a few friends in order to work on my writing. I was talking to my best friend about this and he reminded me of something Kobe Bryant said about how in order to be great and the best, you have to make sacrifices at the expense of friends, family, and any other obligations. In the end, I felt good knowing I carved out time for myself and my work because at the end of the day, I will be a happier person for putting myself first.

Today I had a nice revelation. I planted strawberries, spinach, and tomatoes in our garden. I hadn’t really been tending to the weeds so much lately, so I had to clear them out and put some miracle grow and enriched soil before I put in the new stuff. Totally symbolic for exactly what’s going on in my life right now. Sometimes you really need to enrich your own soil before you plant anything new. If nothing is growing there, then it gives weeds a chance to flourish and overpower your life. Nobody wants that. I’m planting new stuff right now and getting rid of old thoughts, people, and learned habits. Planting new things in good soil is exactly what I need right now.

Okay, as far as the actual writing goes, I’m playing catch up. I had to work all day yesterday so by the time I got home, I was fried, so I didn’t actually write anything. I am playing catch up today and carving out my time.

I find that during this cleanse I am not thinking so much when I write and when I think too much, I actually stop, so it’s best not to think. Just do.


My Writing Spiritual Cleanse Day 1

Okay, I’m trying something different. Something I’ve never done before, blogged about before, or attempted fully. I’ve done the Master Cleanse, Raw food detox cleanses, workout regimens, yoga challenges, but never have I ever attempted a writing cleanse.

There is a book I have used to kick start my writing process. I’ve used it many times before but mostly to push out a first draft of a screenplay. That book is called “How to write a movie in 21 days” by Viki King. Ten years ago when I first started writing, I attended a screenwriting workshop at Josefina Lopez’s Casa 0101 studio taught by Josefina herself. In that class I received a wealth of information including a bootleg copy of Final Draft for $5 and Josefina’s recommended reading list. As a new writer, I devoured everything on her list but was mostly drawn to the Viki King book because it emphasized using your heart to write rather than your head.

Writers live in their heads because that’s our canvass. Sometimes we don’t get things done because we think too much. I can definitely testify to this truth because I often overthink things so much and give every possible avenue a chance to fight for its right to be in my story, that I just don’t push stories forward. Viki King’s book will help you cut out all the bullshit from your writing process and just get the sucker done.

So anyway, today, on a whim, I decided to push one of my screenplay outlines into existence and all of the sudden I’m 10 pages in!

This screenplay is all about healing. Probably one of the only stories I’ve ever written with a yoga theme. I’m all about that yoga, especially these days, going every day.

Day 1 of the book asks you to write for two hours or until you have 10 pages. It took me about two hours to do 10 pages. King says that if you haven’t written 10 pages in 2 hours, then you are already breaking the rules by thinking too much!

I’m excited to see how this endeavor goes.