If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work with a writing partner or enlist people to help you make a film, you will love this week’s Tiny Talk. I talk with my good friend, Linda Palmer, about the art of collaboration.
Linda is a writer, producer, and director. Her production company is Runaway Productions and she also has a Patreon page where she shares weekly filmmaking and writing tips. Her generosity and the knowledge she shares with her Patreon supporters are 10X in value. I highly recommend hanging out with her.
It’s February already! Ready to get on the playing field? As a creativity coach and screenwriter, I can help you take your idea from concept to final draft so you can finally get your work out into the world where it belongs. Book a free consultation and find out how we can work together.
Structure is an arrangement.
Story is fluid.
Structure is a house.
Story is people making it a home.
Structure is a book.
Story is what makes the reader turn the page.
Structure is a podcast.
Story is what the podcast is about.
Structure is a website.
Story is what that website represents.
Structure is a screenplay or a comic book.
Story is what we experience when reading it.
Structure is a turning point.
Story is what moves the audience.
Structure is a business.
Story is the value that business brings to others.
Character structure is a body and its physical attributes.
Character story is about the soul inside that body.
Structure is the how.
Story is the who and why.
Structure is a container.
Story is what you pour into it.
Structure is strategic.
Story is influence.
Structure auditions for story.
Story does not audition for structure.
Structure is a query letter, logline, or one page.
Story is what gets you in the door.
Put Story before the structure.
P.S. It’s February already! Ready to get on the playing field? As a creativity coach and screenwriter, I can help you take your idea from concept to final draft so you can finally get your work out into the world where it belongs. Book a free consultation and find out how we can work together.
We don’t actually fear failure – we fear what we make “failure” mean about us.
We want to have success without ever falling down because we’re afraid of looking stupid. We worry about what others might be thinking about us. We’re worried that we’re going to feel like crap and beat ourselves up because that is what we tend to do when we do have a fail.
This is the most important thing to be aware of. If you’re not, it’s much too easy to hide under the umbrella of “fear of failure” so we don’t disappoint ourselves.
But the irony is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because we guarantee there will be no success when we don’t even try. Success requires failure, often massive failures.
You simply cannot have true success without failure – and the bigger, the better – because the things we’re afraid will cause us to fail are most likely the exact actions we need to take to succeed.
If your strategy for success is to fail as little as possible along the way, you are keeping yourself stuck from ever achieving your goals. Failure, namely learning from those failures, is required to move you to the next level.
Think about it.
If you knew you weren’t going to have to fail, you probably would have already done all the things to achieve the success you want.
When you aim for less of anything, including fewer failures, that is what you get, including less success. You have to be willing to break your current glass ceiling and let the glass shards land where they will.
So, here is the exercise that is going to change how you think about fear of failure forever.
You want to make a list of all the major fails that could happen along the way to the success you want, the things you are afraid to do because you might screw up, you might look stupid, you might offend someone, you might be humiliated or alienated if you take the required risk.
That list becomes your roadmap to success. Those are the obstacles you need to move toward and take action on, that will elevate you toward success and not continue to keep you just under the radar of safe mediocrity.
Actively move toward those possible fails.
If you just say you’re willing to fail, that’s lip service. When you actively move toward those potential fails and commit to learning from them no matter what, you are guaranteed to grow closer to your success. It’s the only way.
When you’re committed to not just the success but to taking the emotional risk to get there, you can move forward. Open yourself up to failure on purpose. It’s something you are willing to feel the whole weight of because you know, in the end, you have your own back. That is what matters.
The bottom line is you’re either going to be successful at avoiding failure or you’re going to be successful at striving to reach your goals and maybe even reaching success beyond what you currently think is possible.
I’ve never succeeded at anything by practicing the art of NOT failing.
You create your success through what you learn from your failures. With each so-called failure, you learn and build confidence or self-trust.
There is a quote that I just love and I’m not sure who to attribute it to, but you are either learning or you’re winning. So, you could just replace the word “failing” completely, and if you make the same mistake twice, it just means you haven’t learned the thing you were meant to learn. Fail again.
Someone might ask at this point, “What about fear of success?” Exact same thing. You’re not afraid of success; you’re afraid of what you are making that mean about yourself.
So, make that list of the things you are afraid to do because you might fail and that is your work. Let that be your roadmap to success.
I’m now accepting clients for my one-on-one coaching program. If you’re developing a project, rewriting a current one, or marketing a completed one, I can help. Book a free 30-minute consultation here and find out how we can turn your obstacles into your successes.
“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.)
- Who is the main character or characters?
- What do they want?
- Why do they want it?
- How do they go about getting it?
- What are the central conflicts or what stops them?
- What are the stakes or consequences?
- What is the tone?
- 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?
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Get an adult coloring book and some fancy colored pencils, and just zone out to some good music and color.
- Work on a craft or DIY project for 15-30 minutes.
- Have a daily coffee or tea ritual.
- Find a new recipe to try.
- Get some fresh air by going for a 30-minute walk.
- Collect inspirational quotes and photos (I do this on Pinterest).
- 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.
- Read for 15 minutes.
- Find something to laugh about; watch a funny show or listen to comedy. Laughter definitely fills the creativity tank.
- Connect with someone who inspires you by sending them a quick email or reaching out on social media.
- 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
- Supporting characters
- Create a relationship map
- Create a character for Concept 1
- 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.
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:
- A goal tells you why you are doing the project. Your goals are accountable to a result.
- 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!
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:
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?
The price is just 375.00
Offer Expires November 30th!
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!
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!