• Creativity,  Screenwriting

    Know Thy Story

    “Know thy story,” and your story is the answer to these eight questions

    If you’ve ever finished the first draft of your screenplay and then received feedback suggesting that your character is boring, unlikeable, not driving the story, or that the supporting characters are more impressive than your protagonist; or you find that people just don’t get it; or you yourself draw a blank when someone asks you what your story is about, answering the eight questions in this article will take care of all of that plus help you…

    • Write faster
    • Create a protagonist who drives the story
    • Write a powerful antagonist or antagonistic force 
    • Not paint yourself into a corner 
    • Write scenes that almost write themselves  
    • Create a touchstone for when you get derailed or stuck
    • Brainstorm settings, scenes, dialogue
    • Create powerful turning points  
    • Find the best inciting incident 
    • Eliminate the overwhelm of approaching a first draft or rewrite
    • Make writing your marketing content easy 

    Most of us have all seen the questions I’m about to share. We may have answered them at various times with zero commitment so that we can just get on with the writing. 

    Sometimes when I give clients an exercise to answer these questions they will say, I’ve seen those before, let me look through my past documents and see if I can find the answers. This defeats the whole purpose of the exercise.

    If you can’t answer these questions right now, before you write, or rewrite your story, or before you market your story then that means you may not know your story.

    What happens when we gloss over these questions is that we discard the most powerful tool we have in writing. And that tool is knowing your story.

    Knowing the answers to these questions will prevent you from ever having to look like a deer caught in the headlights when someone asks what your story is about.  

    The questions are essential to writing or rewriting a script that is going to deliver powerfully.

    Eight Questions to Know Thy Story

    This is your story profile. Fill it out and keep it next to you every time you sit down to write or ponder your next move. (You’ll want to do one for each main character where applicable.)

    1. Who is the main character or characters? 
    2. What do they want?
      1. External
      2. Internal
    3. Why do they want it?
      1. External
      2. Internal
    4. How do they go about getting it?
    5. What are the central conflicts or what stops them?
    6. What are the stakes or consequences?
    7. What is the tone?
    8. What is the main theme?

    The example below was from a webinar by Netflix Creative Development Executive Christopher Mack. As you study this example, imagine how valuable this information would be if you were sitting down to write an episode of Breaking Bad, write a logline, create a powerful short pitch, outline a structure for a pilot or feature, or brainstorm possible scenes, settings, or dialogue. Think of all the time, mental energy, and overwhelm you would save. 

    Who is Walter White?

    A down-on-his-luck high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer. 

    What does he want?

    External: Money

    Internal: To be “awake”

    Why does he want it?

    External: To provide for his family before he dies

    Internal: To make up for his past

    How does he go about getting it?

    Cooking and selling the highest quality meth in New Mexico. 

    What are the central conflicts?

    Family, drug dealers, the law

    What are the stakes?

    Death, jail, family

    What is the theme? 

    Good people can turn bad

    Tone: Black comedy, gritty

    Enjoy getting to know your story!

    Laree’

    P.S. If you need rewrite coverage or rewrite coaching, I’m here to help. And, if you sign up already having the above questions answered, you get 25% off as a bonus! How’s that for a little incentive.

  • Beliefs

    Deadlines Kill Dreams

    I love deadlines. They can be a motivating and fun way to gamify a task and help you stay on track with your projects. Deadlines give you something to aim for that will get you closer to your big dreams and goals.  

    But sometimes, we use deadlines against ourselves and today I want to talk about how to stop doing that. 

    Over the past few years, I’ve seen people set really big goals and dreams and then put this tiny little deadline on them. They say things like…

    “This is my year! I’m going to give myself six months to land a manager and then quit my job.”

    “It’s do or die – I must sell a screenplay by the end of the year!” 

    “I’m turning 40 [or 50, 60, 70], so I have to make it happen this year or else.”

    Or else what? 

    What happens when six months or a year goes by, or the money runs out? Do you go back to the life you had before, end of story? What happens when you hit the “milestone” age and haven’t succeeded in your dream? Do you just give up on it because you didn’t hit your deadline?

    Deadlines kill dreams. Don’t defeat yourself before you even get started. Save deadlines for projects, tasks, and short-term goals. Use deadlines as an evaluation tool, not a death sentence to your big dream.

    Consider how long it takes to master a career as a doctor, lawyer, pianist, pro athlete, full-time A-list actor, best-selling author, or any other number of careers that require a high level of mastery. How many of them do you think could achieve that in six months to a year?  

    Instead of deadlining your dream, commit to it. 

    Because to make it a reality, you have to believe in it despite a timeline, despite what you think it should look like, despite how young or old you are. Just ask Grandma Moses. 

    If you’re more committed to the deadline than you are to your big dream, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  

    If you have a big dream and your primary goal is to become a full-time screenwriter, the work is really about becoming that person who is a full-time screenwriter. That work is a lifetime commitment, not a deadline or something you do after reaching the goal.

    Commit to the process of doing whatever it takes for however long it takes to reach that big dream. You have to emulate what the person is doing who is already living that dream. 

    Commit to meeting as many people as you can to build your network without worrying about how that will come back to you. This is what the person is doing who is already living that dream.

    Commit to sharing your work with the world despite the rejections, critics, flops, and numerous fails your work might encounter. That is what the person is doing who is already living that dream. 

    Commit to showing up for yourself when you say you will, to hone and master your craft. That is what the person is doing who already is living that dream.

    Do this because this is how you will operate when you reach that big dream. It’s how you would normally walk in the world if you had already achieved your success. 

    Commitment doesn’t start when you reach your dream – it starts now, and you’re highly unlikely to achieve your dreams without it.  

    If you can say…

    “I don’t care how long it takes or what my success is going to look like exactly, but becoming a full-time writer is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m fully committed to the long game.” 

    …it’s way more inspiring than…

    “I’ll give myself six months to land a manager. If I don’t, I’ll just go back to corporate.”

    There’s a book called The 10X Rule. The author, Grant Cardone, talks about how people fail to reach their dreams because they miscalculate the effort and how long it’s really going to take to get what they want. They give up because they think it’s not happening fast enough. He says that whatever you think is going to be the effort and time needed to reach your dreams, to create or achieve something, multiply that by 10. 

    This is why commitment is what you need to reach your big dream, not a deadline. 

    You may have to get honest with yourself. Is this a dream you really want? Is your why big enough to commit to? It’s 100 percent okay to say no. Nothing is more miserable than pursuing a dream you don’t really want. I’m speaking from lots of experience on this one. 

    Be honest with your original intentions and pivot if you have to. There is zero shame in that! The courage to pivot could be whole other Tiny Talk! 


    If you’re committed to becoming the person it takes to realize your big dream or you need clarity around what your big dream is, I can help you. Sign up for a free consult right here. Let’s get you moving in the right direction.

  • Beliefs

    10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Run out of Creativity

    Do you do your best to fill up your creativity tank every day? 

    Or maybe you don’t even think about it – like many of us – until you start feeling burnt out, apathetic, or indifferent to the projects you were once crazy passionate about.

    You know you’re running out of fuel if you’re writing your screenplay, trudging through pages more focused on doing it right than you are on telling your story. If you’re feeling apathetic or you’re letting the critic in your head entertain you, these are all signs that you need to stop and fill up that creativity tank.

    Writing is all about creativity and you can’t afford to run out of creative fuel. Let’s make this the year we do something every day to keep our creativity tanks from ever running on empty. 

    How do we fill our creativity tanks?

    There are some things you can do that have a compound effect and are the most sustainable ways of filling up your tank, and then there are some instant, on-demand ways you can use every day. 

    Here are 10 ways to make sure you never run out of creativity, inspiration, and joy for the projects you love.

    Get out of your usual environment for a day or two. Go camping or stay in an Airbnb for a night or two, even if it’s only a few miles away. I try to do this every quarter and it always shatters my current ceilings and gets me out of any ruts to create new pathways in my brain. I always come back with at least one big breakthrough and plenty of fresh ideas. Alternatively, you could do a day trip; get up early and spend the whole day in a new town, out in nature, or just go on a super long drive. When you plan for these little getaways, it gives you that anticipation effect, too. This is probably one of the most powerful practices for me as a creative.

    Find a hobby or practice outside of writing. Do something physical like a DIY project, playing guitar, gardening, or my number one go-to, cooking and trying new recipes. Learn a new skill or try something new with zero attachment to the outcome. 

    Curate your social media by following the people that inspire you, not the people you think you should follow. Many writers will get on social sites and follow a bunch of other screenwriters, writing gurus, and people they think they should follow because that’s what they’ve been told to do to succeed. If that is inspiring to you, great. For me, I decided I really want to curate my social media this year because I noticed when I was going on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it was the opposite of inspiring. It was draining me, causing me to compare and despair and to feel a little less excited about my own life. That’s not healthy. The good news is that we have 100% control over curating our social sites, so why not spend time making it a place that inspires you?

    Find a writing partner or create a mastermind group that meets every week to inspire each other. Collaborating with others can be a great way to fill up your creativity tank. Or, you could hire a creativity coach like me! It’s amazing how listening to others and being curious about their creative process can boost your own. When you are working together, both contributing to a common purpose, it just takes creativity to a whole other level. Having positive, healthy relationships in our lives, even if they’re not direct collaborators in our writing, will contribute to keeping our fuel tanks filled up. 

    Appreciate where you are in your journey. What I mean by this is that it is really easy for writers to start spinning out with a lot of mind chatter and talking smack to themselves about how they should be further along, or they will never be good enough, this is taking too long, etc. They obsess that the grass will be greener when they make it, when they sell their screenplay or win a contest. Why not obsess over finding the good in every day? Find the small win; find everything there is to appreciate in your life today. 

    Take care of yourself; you cannot keep your creativity tank full if all your energy is being sapped by poor health. Sleep, nutrition, and movement – all of these fall under the umbrella of taking good care of yourself. There is so much we can do to take care of our physical bodies so they are not competing with our creative energy. I know writers with chronic illnesses, and they really get this and are adamant about managing their sleep, nutrition, and movement and are far better about it than a lot of us who do not contend with chronic illnesses.  

    Spend time really connecting with the spiritual source or wisdom that you trust. This might look like journaling, meditating, or prayer. I like to journal and that is how I connect with and talk to God. You may have a different name for God or a spiritual belief. This is number one on my list, and for me has been the most sustainable way to fuel not just my creativity but all areas of my life.

    Listen to podcasts and read books that are not about writing. When you write a screenplay, you’re not writing about writing screenplays. It makes sense to consume more content that is about the things that you want to write about.

    Develop the skills of curiosity and listening. Ask lots of questions and look past your own beliefs about specific topics instead of defaulting to passing judgment on what you hear and see. One of the marks of a great screenwriter is the ability to tell a story from both sides of the film’s dramatic question. It’s a skill that has become particularly challenging in today’s environment as many writers feel called to use their stories as soapboxes. I think it’s great to use stories as a way to create change, but I’ve never had a story inspire change in me by the writer telling me I was wrong and they were right. When we become curious instead of judgmental, our creativity tanks cannot help but be filled with every human interaction we have, and our stories will inspire that in others. 

    These practices have a compound effect and can be the most sustainable form of filling up your creativity tank. This last one is something you can draw from every day on demand.  

    Enjoy life’s simple pleasures every day. Create your list and when you start feeling a little sloth-like in your writing, pick something from it to give you a creative reset.  

    Here are some ideas to get you started:

    1. Get an adult coloring book and some fancy colored pencils, and just zone out to some good music and color.
    2. Work on a craft or DIY project for 15-30 minutes.
    3. Have a daily coffee or tea ritual.
    4. Find a new recipe to try.
    5. Get some fresh air by going for a 30-minute walk.
    6. Collect inspirational quotes and photos (I do this on Pinterest).
    7. Move your body – dance, do some gardening, clean out your car or fridge. I love scheduling these things in between my working blocks of time. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes and it gives you a nice burst of positive energy.
    8. Read for 15 minutes.
    9. Find something to laugh about; watch a funny show or listen to comedy. Laughter definitely fills the creativity tank.
    10. Connect with someone who inspires you by sending them a quick email or reaching out on social media.  
    11. Take 10 or 15 minutes to just be. Let your mind wander and just breathe.

    Henry David Thoreau said, “That man is rich whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

    Let this be the year that you keep your creativity tank filled up so you can get your projects out into the world where they belong. 

    P.S. Need help incubating your project? As a creative coach and screenwriter, I help you take your idea from concept to final draft and finally get it out into the world where it belongs. Book a free consultation and find out how we can work together.

  • Beliefs

    PART 5 – CREATING AN INTENTIONAL 2022: Executing your Big Goal

    When creating and implementing a strategy or scheduling your tasks and projects for your Big Goal, keep things as simple as possible.

    You will want to use what works best for your particular goal, lifestyle, and personality type. It’s important that whatever method you use to plan and execute your goals is going to be one you can consistently show up for and follow through with.

    By doing the planning and prep work upfront, you’re far more likely to follow through and get the results you’re after. (You can catch up on the work we have already done for this by checking out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series.)

    I love scheduling blocks of time on a calendar to implement my projects, so I use a combination of a Google Calendar and a day planner called the Full Focus Planner, which I’ve mentioned before. I’m obsessed with it.

    The reason I use both is that the Google Calendar holds ALL of the details, the big dates, the appointments, and things that are coming up in the current month as well as the following months.

    Every Sunday, I open up my Google Calendar and enter the items or appointments in my weekly planner that need to be transferred. For me, this works best because I’m really bad at opening a digital calendar every day.

    My day planner, I love opening every day. I can leave it open in front of me all day, make notes for that day as ideas come up, and it helps me stay laser-focused on that day’s events. It’s a system that works really well for me.

    Once you get down a scheduling system that works for you, you’ll take the project and task list you created last week and decide how long it will take to complete each task, and thus each project. It’s okay if you don’t know exactly; just guess.

    As you do this, you may find yourself thinking of how you can break down a project into even more tasks. That’s great – this process is fluid and the more you can break it down the better.

    So, create your time blocks. How much time do you want to give yourself to write a scene or a sequence, research, or brainstorm?

    Then you find the time in your calendar and block it out. Remember to be very specific, don’t just write “research,” but write down what you are going to research. Don’t just write “brainstorm ideas;” write down “brainstorm ideas for creating suspense in ACT 1.” Don’t write “work on characters;” instead, write “create a character profile for the protagonist and supporting character.”

    Be really intentional about this. Don’t just pack your calendar full of time blocks. Think about your energy level, about how it realistically fits in with the other obligations you have. The worst thing you can do is start a habit of writing things in your calendar and not showing up for them. You want to have every intention of showing up to do it. If you’re already thinking, “I’ll fill up my calendar and see how it goes,” this might not be a good method for you right now.

    You don’t need to use the scheduling method to reach your goals. If you’re someone who’s just not there yet, here are some other strategies.

    Every morning or evening, write your Big Goal down and ask yourself, “What is one thing I can do today that will move me closer to that goal?”

    Another method would be to choose one tiny habit to practice or challenge yourself to stick to for the next 30 days that will bring you closer to your goal. For example, if your goal is to become a paid writer by the end of 2022, and you want to start building relationships, challenge yourself to reach out to one person every day for the next 30 days to start making some sincere connections, the only purpose being to build relationships.

    You can also ask yourself every day, “What does a person think and do that already has the habits I want to develop?” Focus on becoming that person. For example, if your goal is to eventually be a paid writer, how does that person approach their day when they are being paid to do a rewrite or develop a concept into a script? Practice being that person.

    This will create the confidence and evidence required to become a paid writer. You will be thinking from a place of having already achieved it. Your efforts and results will be far more powerful than if you are just spending your days wishing or hoping that someday you will become a paid writer. Start becoming the kind of person who is already a paid writer and the results will eventually follow.

    So, this concludes my series on setting intentional goals for 2022. I hope you found it valuable and inspirational and that you are getting excited about what is possible for you in the upcoming year!

    If you’re ready to go all-in on your goals in 2022, I would love to be your personal coach!

    Right now, I’m offering 35% off all my coaching programs for 2022 if you register before January 1st, 2022.

    Book a free consult to see how we can work together.

    I’m taking a tiny break from Tiny Talks and will be back on January 7th. If you have ideas for some Tiny Talks, please email me and tell me what you would like to hear! Send a message to me at laree@lareegriffith.com.

  • Beliefs

    PART 4 – CREATING AN INTENTIONAL 2022: Choosing Your One Big Goal

    Some questions to ask in this phase are:

    • What do I really want to see happen this year? 
    • Which goals am I unwilling to let another year go by without accomplishing?
    • Which one of the goals will make the most significant impact on my current vision?
    • Which goals are most aligned with my values?
    • Would any of these goals eliminate the need to complete some of the other goals on the list?
    • On a scale of 1-10, how important is this goal?
    • On a scale of 1-10, how much do I believe in myself to go for this goal?
    • On a scale of 1-10, how committed am I to this goal?

    With the answers to those questions, you should be able to narrow down your list to your four most important goals. 

    Choosing Your Big Goal

    Now, you’re going to pick just one of those four goals to focus on until you’ve reached it. Don’t worry! Once you complete that one, the others will be waiting for you. 

    I know it’s hard because we tend to want to accomplish everything at once and we’re afraid we’ll pick the wrong one. Have your own back here and trust that you will pick the right one.  

    An analogy my coach uses about choosing too many goals is that it’s like an airplane on the runway with so many different destinations plugged in that it can’t get off the ground because of all the split energy. To get off the ground, we have to choose a destination. 

    You need to get off the ground first, and then you can consider making adjustments. 

    If you pick the one that is going to have the biggest impact on your overall vision for your life, that goal is going to spill off into your other goals when you do get around to tackling them. You’re going to be that much further ahead because of the person you’ve become by focusing on and accomplishing that first goal. 

    If you absolutely have to work on more than one goal, then you can use the 80/20 rule, where you spend 80% of the time you have on your one main goal and 20% on any other goal. 

    Breaking Down Your Big Goal

    Now that you have your one Big Goal, you want to choose a 30-day or 90-day smaller goal that rolls up into that Big Goal so you know exactly what to focus on for the next 30 or 90 days. 

    I prefer the 90-day goal plan with two-week sprints to review and adjust. A 30-day sprint may work better for your goal. You may even have another time frame in mind, depending on the goal. Make it work for you. 

    To find that smaller goal, you want to write down all the things you think you need to do to reach your Big Goal.

    They will look a lot like the projects we talked about. Then you want to look at what might be possible for you to achieve in either the 30-day framework or the 90-day framework. 

    Choose the projects you think are doable in that time frame and then break those down into tasks. Things like planning, research, journaling, purchasing supplies, taking a class, contacts you need to make. 

    Keep asking yourself, Do I need to break this down even more?

    Let’s say my Big Goal is to write three screenplays this year and land a manager by Dec. 15th of 2022. 

    One of my 90-day projects might be to complete three first drafts. Here are some of the tasks I came up with for that project:

    • Schedule my writing time
    • Come up with three high concepts 
      • Brainstorm 100 to 300 concepts
    • Come up with three themes for those stories.
      • Theme 1
      • Theme 2
      • Theme 3
    • Create characters
      • Create a character for Concept 1
        • Protagonist
        • Antagonist
        • Supporting characters
        • Create a relationship map
    • Create characters for Concept 2 profiles
    • Create beat sheet 
      • Beat sheet 1
      • Beat sheet 2
      • Beat sheet 3
    • Create treatment
      • Treatment 1
      • Treatment 2
      • Treatment 3
    • Create outline
    • Write dialogue

    You get the picture. And each project can be broken into even smaller tasks and steps if I want.  

    The reason you want to break it down to as small of tasks as you can is that when you go to schedule them on your calendar, they’re manageable and not overwhelming.  

    This method is different from just scheduling, “Write for one hour every day.” It will make a huge difference in what you can accomplish and the quality of work you will be able to produce. 

    So, that is the work for this week; I hope that makes sense and if you need some help, feel free to shoot me an email. I’ll see if I can help clarify your particular situation.

    Next week we’ll talk about scheduling your projects and tasks.   


    Are you ready to start putting your work out in the world? Whether you have a big project or a bunch of small ones, if you’re making a creative career pivot, writing a book, making a movie, producing a play, or taking any other big step in your creative life, and you need an accountability coach, I can help. I’m currently enrolling six-month and annual coaching clients for 2022! You can book a free consult so we can chat about how I can help you see success in finishing your work and getting it out into the world. 

  • Beliefs

    PART 3 – CREATING AN INTENTIONAL 2022 : GOAL DOWNLOAD

    On the last Tiny Talk, we created our vision for life.  

    If you have not done that part, you will want to go back and listen to that first before moving on to the next step, which is brainstorming your goals (Part 3) and then choosing your Big Goal (Part Four). 

    In Part One, we reconnected with our values. For Part Two, we created a vision from those values, and now we want to make the goal list that will move us in the direction of that vision so that we can start 2022 living with intention. 

    For Part Three, we want to download all the goals we have in our heads, big and small. List out all the things you want to achieve. Don’t filter yourself because next week, we’ll do an edit of those goals. 

    Reference your vision for some ideas and just put whatever comes up on paper. Don’t worry about the how during this process. Let yourself write all the things you want to do, accomplish, and experience this year.

    What goals and dreams would you be ecstatic to accomplish in 2022 and beyond? What would you do:

    • If you knew you would succeed?
    • If you were not worried about the future?
    • If money was not an issue?
    • If you didn’t care what other people thought?

    You can also ask yourself what you no longer want.

    Your goals could be related to health, career, lifestyle, relationships, creative pursuits. Write it all down with zero feedback from the critic in your brain. 

    You are the only one who matters in this exercise. Don’t say, “Yeah, but….” That’s not allowed in this exercise. You don’t need to justify anything that comes up to anyone, not even yourself. 

    I would pause this Tiny Talk and do the exercise before moving on to what I share next. 

    Now that that’s done, I’m going to throw you a curveball. I’m going to share the first goal edit so that we can focus on choosing your one Big Goal next week.  

    It’s essential to know the difference between a goal and a project. The reason I’m telling you this after you’ve made a big list is that I don’t want you to get hung up on the concept during the goal download exercise. 

    So, would you say these are goals or projects?

    • Build a website 
    • Write a new screenplay
    • Finish my rewrite by March 30th
    • Write five treatments by March 30th
    • Learn a new skill by taking a screenwriting class 
    • Create a network of 500 people

    All of these are projects. 

    What about this one?

    • Write the first draft of a screenplay by July 29th. 

    Still a project, albeit more specific.

    Reframe it as a goal like this:

    • Write a screenplay that will be ready to market and be optioned by July 20th. 

    The statement “Write a new screenplay” is now accountable to something.

    The key difference is that goals are accountable to a result. 

    Goals, you don’t have as much control over. They are a little more stressful than projects. A football team’s goal is to win the Superbowl. It’s accountable to the result.

    Projects go underneath our goals.

    With projects, you have a lot more control over the outcomes because they are focused on the resources you apply that determine their completion. I should add that if your projects don’t have a deadline, then you may want to get clear on why you’re doing them. 

    Underneath the projects are the actionable processes and tasks required. You have 100% control over these via scheduling, learning a skill, evaluating, and elevating. You are in control of if you sit down to write for two hours every day, and you can control if you show up to practice for the Superbowl every day.

    The projects, processes, and tasks are what gives us the confidence we need to get the result we’re after, which is the goal.  

    If we only have a bunch of projects that are not accountable to a goal, we’re just doing busy work. You’ll never know where to focus. 

    So, to recap: 

    1. A goal tells you why you are doing the project. Your goals are accountable to a result.
    2. Projects tell you what you’re going to be spending your time on. Your projects are accountable to a deadline. 

    Goals and projects can often look the same, but remember that a goal has the why and an outcome that is usually not certain, and because of that, it needs the projects underneath it to make the outcome more likely.

    Projects can make you feel busy and like you’re doing all sorts of worthwhile things, but if you’re not producing results, it’s just busy work. 

    Knowing the difference between goals and projects and how they work together is a powerful concept. It might take a while to wrap your head around it all, but you can see how this approach changes the game when it comes to performance and productivity. 

    So, this week, do your goals download and then go back and separate the projects from the goals, or restate some of the projects as goals if you have to. 

    Hang on to both the projects and the goals because we will use those in the next step. 

    If you’re having trouble with this concept, feel free to send me an email. I love talking about this stuff! 

  • Beliefs

    Wishing you all Happy Thanksgiving!

    So, here’s a torture tip for a character.

    Make her a foodie who loves movies, books, and documentaries about food, and whose screenplays always involve a pretty big food connection.

    She loves food so much that she wrote the editor of Saveur to break up with them when they went full-on digital.

    No more hours sitting with the magazine sipping wine, looking at the lovely photos, and reading about all the wonderful cuisine explorations of its writers. That activity, that glossy magazine of perfection was on her list of “Ways to spend time if I had only 24 hours to live.”

    Then, let your character have it.

    Give her the worst gallbladder attack of her life and send her to the ER where she has to wait for a bed and be scheduled for surgery on Thanksgiving, of all days. With no Saveur Magazine.

    Have her wake up to this:

    “Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome” ~ Paul Simon

    The Jell-O is kind of festive and sexy-looking, yes?

    If you haven’t guessed, this is a true story.

    I’m just getting ready to head home from three lovely nights at the hospital, where I eventually had to say goodbye to my gallbladder.

    Not asking for sympathy, but feel free to send some virtual love my way. I’ll take it. Just hit Reply and tell me how your turkey dinner turned out…I love hearing food stories.

    Then take some time to be thankful for every dinner. They are all precious and special.

    Food is not only nourishing, but it’s beautiful and creates special moments between family and friends. It also teaches us so much about culture, tradition, and how we connect with our world.

    Food is a teacher, a lover, an art form, a connector, it can also be an enemy.

    It really encompasses all of life. Food is life.

    It’s my turn to celebrate and appreciate you. I have a special holiday offer; it’s my way of saying thank you and to cheer you on to a wildly productive 2022.

    You can purchase my Rewrite Screenplay Coverage and get a second one free to use anytime in 2022!

    Here’s what’s included :

    • Page-by-Page Notes on your script
    • Two Additional Reads of Your Script
    • Basic Coverage 8-10 pages
    • Scene entertainment rating on a scale from 1-10 + updated after the final read
    • 14 – Point Script Elements Scorecard + updated after the final read
    • Marketability Scorecard + updated after the final read
    • Two 30-Minute Consultation

    Times all that by two! How’s that for incentive to get it done?

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    I also want to celebrate you for trusting me to work with you on your projects. I don’t take that lightly and I enjoy it so much. My whole end game is to see you succeed and get your projects out into the world.

    Take good care of yourself!

    Laree’

    P.S. For my final act, I’m going to ask my nurses Jacob and Abby if I can use their names in my next screenplay. Those names go together beautifully.

    The doctor that performed the surgery his name is Rush. He’s long gone, so maybe I will name Jacob and Abby’s puppy– Rush.

    If they ever saw the film they would never figure it out? At least I’m getting some inspiration out of this little side trip to hell!

    P.S.S. For those of you who listen to Tiny Talks I will resume next week!


  • Beliefs

    Part 2: You Need a Compelling Vision

    This week’s Tiny Talk is Part 2 of my series, Creating an Intentional 2022. 

    Last week in Part 1, I talked about reconnection with your core values. If you haven’t listened to that one yet, I highly recommend doing so before listening to this one. The exercise I will share in this Tiny Talk is all about creating a compelling vision based on those values. 

    If your vision is not based on your own values, what often ends up happening is you create from the energy of obligation, people-pleasing, or from a place that is out of alignment with your truth. 

    That is not an inspiring vision for your life.

    “A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it’s an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.”  – Rosabeth Kanter

    I will share a few different methods you can use to create your vision for 2022 and beyond, but first, I’d like to offer the idea that a vision is never set in stone. It’s not a roadmap or a blueprint or a picture of what your life will look like. 

    Your vision is your compass. Without this compass, your life is on autopilot. That’s great…if you want to make sure you brush your teeth or live your life just getting by.

    Parts of your vision will be fluid, some of it might get stale in three to six months, other parts of it will grow stronger and more clear. It’s a work in progress.

    Your vision should challenge you, comfort you, and have the ability to make a huge impact in your life and in the lives of others if you choose. This is why it’s wise to use your values to inspire your vision. 

    I once heard someone describe their vision as scaffolding and they let the universe fill in all the holes. I love that image for a vision.  

    A long-term vision keeps you motivated and provides you with direction. It’s the springboard from which you create your projects and goals. 

    Above all, creating your vision is being intentional but not attached.

    If you want to really get what I’m talking about here, I highly recommend watching the show or reading the book The Lost Kitchen by Erin French. The show is currently available on Discovery Plus. It’s about the owner of a renowned restaurant called The Lost Kitchen in the tiny town of Freedom, Maine. The only way to get a table in this restaurant is to send a postcard via mail and have it be chosen lottery-style by the owner and staff.   

    Erin French embodies this whole idea of creating your life intentionally, having resilience and grit and the commitment to keep going, holding a vision and honoring her values no matter the cost. It’s a beautiful real-life story and an example of the essence of what I love to talk about here on my podcast.

    I just ordered the book to read, so I think I’ll do a review when I’m done reading it. That would be fun! You can get a signed copy of the book directly from her website or find it on Amazon and Audible.

    So, let’s talk about a few ways you can approach creating your vision. 

    You can do this separately in compartments of your life or create an overall life vision. I like to focus first on my overall vision for my life. I start with a five-year long-term vision and then do one for three years and finally one year, but there are no actual rules. 

    I suggest giving yourself at least an hour to work on this. Do it in a setting where you can relax and daydream. 

    You can start this process with some powerful prompts and questions. Just start writing what comes to mind.  

    Prompts to Find Your Vision

    • I love to do:
    • I love to be in these environments:
    • I love to be around people who:
    • I love to read:
    • Wouldn’t it be great if…?

    Questions to Ask Yourself

    • What do you want to accomplish in 3, 5, 10, 20 years?
    • What’s important in your personal life?
    • What’s essential in your life?
    • What’s important in your career?
    • What problems do you want to solve?
    • What do you want to experience?
    • What do you want to create?
    • How will you spend the remainder of your time here on earth?
    • Are you currently doing things because you think they are expected of you?

    Write Your Own Eulogy

    To be honest, I’ve not tried this one yet because the thought of it gives me claustrophobia. But hey – it might be super motivating for you. My guess is that it will force you to dig deeper (no pun intended) and stay closer to your truth.

    1. Write the eulogy of the life you have already lived.
    2. Write the eulogy of the life you would have loved to live, the one that fulfills all your goals and dreams.
    3. Compare the two and write about which inspires you more and why.
    4. What insight does this exercise give you about the meaning you want out of your life?

    When I Am Old…

    Imagine yourself as an old man or old woman sitting on your front porch looking back. How do you want to remember your days? What would put a smile on your face or cause you to raise your glass to the heavens and say, “Well done, well done!”?

    Higher Power

    If you’re a person of faith, ask your higher power for guidance and trust that you will receive it. You may have to look for signs to the right path.

    Ideal Day

    A more light-hearted option is to do the Ideal Day exercise. It’s just like it sounds. Write out what an ideal day in your life would look like – start from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. 

    Put aside the “how” and the inner critic and just have fun with it. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or far-fetched it might sound. There will be gold between the lines. Consider:

    • What time do you wake up?
    • Who (if anyone) is beside you?
    • Where do you live?
    • What does your home look and feel like?
    • Do you have children?  
    • Who do you spend your time with?
    • What do you talk about?
    • What are you wearing?
    • What does your closet look like?
    • What is your dream wardrobe?
    • How many hours do you work each week?
    • What is your work?
    • What do you read?
    • How do you spend your family time?
    • What’s your relationship like with your partner?
    • What are your thoughts about your life?
    • How do you spend your evenings?
    • What kind of music do you listen to?
    • What do you watch on television?
    • How do you spend your leisure time?
    • What is your bedtime routine?
    • What are your last thoughts before you go to sleep?

    Once completed, some might be tempted to cross-reference their vision with their current reality but that makes the whole exercise pointless. You want to cross-reference it with your core values to make sure your vision is in alignment with them.  

    Most importantly, have fun with it!

    Next week, will move on to Part 3 of Creating an Intentional 2022: How to choose your one Big Goal. This will be the first year that I actually give this idea of choosing just one big goal a whirl. So, I hope you join me next week to tackle that one!


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  • Beliefs

    Part 1: Revisiting and Connecting with Your Core Values

    How to Create an Intentional 2022 Series

    Part 1: Revisiting and Connecting with Your Core Values

    I thought I would spend the next few weeks of Tiny Talks setting up a framework to create an intentional 2022.

    I’m going to share the process that I’ll be using, and you are, of course, welcome to use it or modify it so that it works for whatever you want to create in 2022. 

    Why is it important to take the time to work on this? Because if we don’t, we’re just going to continue living in a state of reaction as the world comes at us. 

    Here’s what you’ll learn in this series: 

    • How to reconnect with your values
    • How to create a vision that’s inspired by and woven together with those values
    • How to choose just one Big Goal for the year to move you into your vision for 2022 and beyond
    • How to decide on the objectives or projects to take on to reach your goal
    • How to schedule and implement those objectives 

    When we get to the goal section, I’ll share an analogy that my coach shared about why choosing just one goal at a time is a good idea. But this week, we’re going to revisit and focus on our core values, with the end goal of picking out our top five. 

    Your Values and the Role They Play

    Your values are what you stand for, what’s important to you, what’s acceptable, essential, and valuable in your life.

    Reconnecting with your core values will keep you on track to pursuing the most important projects, relationships, and opportunities. Your core values will keep you from being constantly derailed by fear, anxiety, and shiny objects.

    Being aligned with your values will help you produce your best work in the world because your values are at the deepest, most personal level of who you are. It’s where your truth, your unique voice, your gifts, and your superpowers reside.

    I like to think of my core values as the non-negotiable standards in my life that allow me to live into the best possible version of myself. 

    Your values should inform everything in life – the projects you choose, the big decisions you make, and the small things that impact your day-to-day life. They are the scales used for weighing all the opportunities that present themselves to you. 

    If you ignore your values and make decisions based on other people’s values, you’re going to be miserable. You’re not going to create the feelings that will motivate you to live and take action on the things in life you want most.

    Your values are your beacon. They create a well-lit harbor, and if you steer toward them, no matter what is thrown your way, your values will never let you run aground. 

    When challenges and tough decisions show up, you always want to check to see if your response aligns with your core values and not someone else’s. When you live your life in alignment with your values, you feel good about your decisions and don’t end up doubting or wishing that you had made a choice other than the one you did. 

    Aligning with your values is the same thing as having your own back.

    To sum it all up, your values help you define what a meaningful life looks like and are the very essence of what it means to have your own back no matter what comes your way. 

    Finding Your Own Values

    Some of my core values are autonomy, beauty, learning, creativity, achievement, joy. I’m going to revisit them this week and see if there might be another value that has surfaced in the past year that I might be overlooking or suppressing. I encourage you to do the same. 

    Here are a few questions you can ask to figure out what some of your core values might be.

    What are some of the biggest highlights of the past year? How about highlights spanning your entire life? What are some of the lowest moments of the past year and in your life? 

    The chances are that in the highlights of your life, you were living according to your values. In the low moments, you probably were not.

    What is good about your life right now? What do you love about it? 

    The answer should reveal to you what values you’re already in solid alignment with, things you are implementing right now that may not need to change.

    Who do you admire and what values do they embody? 

    These are often signs of your own core values that you might currently be suppressing. 

    So, the mission for this week is to come up with your top five core values before we move on to next week’s topic, which is creating a vision for 2022 that is woven together by our core values. 

    Here’s a resource of over 200 core values that you can look at. If that’s too overwhelming, have a look at James Clear’s list of 50

    At first, you may find yourself circling 25 to 30 of them, but you can’t prioritize that many values in your life. Keep working to pare them down to your top five most important core values. Look for the ones that are non-negotiable or at least darn close to it. 

    Have fun reconnecting with your values; I know it will make a huge difference, not just in the upcoming year but in the very moment you reconnect with them.

    I hope you’ll join me next week as we create a vision for 2022.


    Are you ready to start putting your work out in the world? Whether you have a big project or a bunch of small ones, if you’re making a creative career pivot, writing a book, making a movie, producing a play, or taking any other big step in your creative life, and you need an accountability coach, I can help. I’m currently enrolling six-month and annual coaching clients for 2022! You can book a free consult so we can chat about how I can help you see success in finishing your work and getting it out into the world. 

  • Beliefs

    Are you willing to allow people to have critical thoughts about you?

    Are you willing to allow people to have critical thoughts about you?  If not, then you’re using other people’s thoughts as an excuse to not do your own life.

    So what if people are going to be confused by you? 

    Are you willing to have that happen for you to do your life’s work? And if not, how do you think that is showing up in your craft?

    Quit putting the things you most want in life on hold for other people

    P.S. Are you ready to start putting your work out in the world? Whether you have a big project or a bunch of small ones, if you’re making a creative career pivot, writing a book, making a movie, producing a play, or taking any other big step in your creative life, and you need an accountability coach, I can help. I’m currently enrolling six-month and annual coaching clients for 2022! You can book a free consult so we can chat about how I can help you see success in finishing your work and getting it out into the world.