Operation Achieve Anything: Day Three-Hundred-Thirty-Five, Dateline 12-1-2018

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Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.
— Emily Bronte

Good morning crickets. Welcome to day number three-hundred-thirty-five of Operation Achieve Anything. Today is turning out to be a pretty exciting day as I’ve hit several benchmarks all at once, creating a synchronistic sign that I’m on the right track. At least that’s how I’m going to choose to take it. First off, this is the final month of this Operation Achieve Anything challenge, as well as my 700th SNL review as part of my My Saturday Night Life challenge. I’ve successfully met each deadline for both projects going on one full year for this task, and two years when it comes to my SNL reviews.

Then, when it comes to my web traffic, I almost doubled last month’s statistics, while at the same time, I had more visitors than I had over the entirety of last year that was double the readership that I had from the year before which was my rock bottom year following my midlife meltdown. In 2016, it took me a month to get as many visits as I now get in a day, keeping in mind that during this time I was only doing The Daily Breaker without any themed challenges as I contemplated whether or not I even wanted to write any more at all.

 Note: The crazy drop off at the start of each new month always induces anxiety.

Note: The crazy drop off at the start of each new month always induces anxiety.

This was back when I was learning to be an Android coder after fully committing to giving up on my over twenty-year dream to make it as a screenwriter. The closer and closer I got to obtaining my dream while working in the industry, the more and more I started to see that I would have to give in to cut and paste structure with nothing but profit in mind without much care for originality. I got into screenwriting in the early ‘90s when it felt possible to experiment much more, at least in the indie world. The more I worked in the field, the more I saw that unless I was also to become a director or cinematographer with the power and respect to get an entire team on board, my quirky stories were never going to get made.

The new plan was to become a coder until I could afford to hire an editor/writing coach to work with me while I adapted all of the twenty plus screenplays I’ve written over the years into novels and then see where things go from there. I finished the coding course with pretty high scores, but I saw that I already was feeling a case of Impostor Syndrome set in because even though I felt like I was good at what I was doing, I felt like a phony because it was just another side project, with some form of writing being my ultimate dream.

After months of job hunting after receiving my certification, I felt I was in the same boat with my writing where I had the skills but not the confidence to sell myself. Though I was, and do feel like an impostor as far as being a part of any form of the blogging community, I still, to this day, see this site as my training ground which allows me to just be me as I try to find my new writer’s voice. I love this blog more than anything. It allows me to write and share whatever I want, instead of continually writing first drafts that end up in a drawer waiting for my confidence to build for them to see the light of day again after I feel talented enough to rewrite them.

For a while, I tried to talk myself into thinking that I loved to code because there was still typing involved, but no matter how hard I tried, I kept getting pulled back to needing to hone my writing skills to get where I really want to be. As I said, this site started out my training ground. I intentionally created it to break any bad habits I developed as a screenwriter where there was less focus on the beauty of words since the finished product was just a blueprint where no typos or poor word choices would show up on the screen. I also only knew how to tell tales from the screenwriters perspective where you’re only allowed to write what can be seen since no viewer would have access to any flowery descriptions.

Just yesterday, I was cleaning up Season Seven from the My Saturday Night Life challenge from just last year. Keep in mind, by this point, I thought that my non-screenwriting style had already improved by tenfold from the three years that I’ve already put into creating blog content, but I saw that I was still holding on to a lot of my screenwriting logic. The main thing being that I used to be afraid of writing a full paragraph since screenplays are written for non-readers.

I used to have a rule that if a paragraph ran more than three lines, I’d try to break it up. This was easy to do while screenwriting because I would also start a new paragraph whenever I envisioned a camera move and since I was raised with the MTV quick-cut style, it could be hard to even get to the three line limit before I would split things up. Producers loved this style since they would only read the first and last line of an action paragraph anyway. As much as I cringe at my old writing style, I also see the charm in having my journey to become a learning disabled writer out there for the world to see.

It’s also really cool to see my site's traffic seem to sync up with my abilities, which is kind of why, as low as my numbers may be, I take pride in the fact that I’m getting what I get with absolutely zero marketing. Yeah, I share each of my links on a couple of social media outlets and interact in other ways here and there, but in general, I put more effort into the content than getting it out to the world. Again, this is because I used to see this site as a training page and didn’t feel right promoting it as actual products out of fears that it would then be treated as someone who jumped the gun, marketing the page while it was still a hobby.

Next year, I hope to make the change from seeing this site as something that’s just fun to being the real start of an actual writing career. Today I’m going to try advertising for the first time, not the ads that I recently included on the page but ads to promote the site. Every year, I get a hundred dollar voucher from SquareSpace when I renew the site. Usually, I just let the deal run out being that you have to invest at least twenty-five bucks to redeem it, but I figure this will be the year that I give it a shot, since I have one last month to use it, and this could be a good test for next year.

I really hope that this will lead to something because I could really use a much bigger sign that I’m on the right track other than the fact that I just haven’t given up. All of this, at least kind of, plays into the assignment from yesterday where I was supposed to compare and contrast pride and humility and share what both mean to me. The Achieve Anything... book shared the positive and negative looks of either situation, pointing out pride can mean either a healthy sign of self-respect or a sign that you don’t know the right time to give up, while humility can either mean humble/modest or meek/weak. I feel like I have a healthy sense of pride in my effort to live with a healthy sense of humility.

I may have grandiose ideas when it comes to the stories that I want to write, where I may never have the skills to get the opus that I have in my head ever to the point where it’s clearly stated on the page, but I have very reasonable demands as to what I need to attempt to fulfill this delusion. Even if I do manage to create the masterpiece as I see it in my head, I would love nothing more than for people to read it but I’m driving by the compulsion to write and not what may come from my efforts, though it would be nice to be able to support myself.

So, there you have my answer to the assignment, as well as a bit of a celebration of my mini-achievements that I woke to on this start of a brand new month. With that, it’s now time to introduce tomorrow’s assignment where I’m now supposed to draw a couple of pictures of what I look like when too much pride goes wrong. This should be interesting but, as always, you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s update to see what I manage to come up with. Until then, it’s now that time for me to sign off by saying, good day and good luck to you and all of your projects.

Talk to you soon.

Sincerely,

The Wicker Breaker

P.S. Below are links to my novel, which I plan to promote as part of Operation Achieve Anything, as well as a link to where you can buy the book that is providing the structure to this project in case you would like to purchase it in order to play along.

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.