Good morning crickets. Welcome to day number three-hundred-fifty-one of Operation Achieve Anything. Last week turned out to be a pretty exciting week with ever increasing signs that next year is going to be a fun one. Not that I’m waiting until then to get the ball rolling, but between the holiday depression and anxiety over the anticipation of starting next year’s challenges, I can’t wait for the planning phase to part ways so that the real action can begin. Granted, I’ll probably end up a bit let down when things don’t take off as quickly as I see things playing out in my head, but that’s just part of the fun of chasing fantasies.
Actually, I’m more terrified of becoming a viral hit, because I’m not sure if I’m ready to go from not feeling heard at all to having to deal with a landslide of critics all at once. I don’t think that my new idea is viral worth, but this site, in general, has enough wackiness that I could easily see the just the right person stumbling onto something they find fascinating from the six-year period where I was publicly but silently honing my blogging skill. I mean, I have multiple challenges that are equivalent to the many Facebook page attention grabbers back in the day, like the guy who’s trying to collect every VHS copy of Speed 2 that’s ever been made.
Speaking of that guy, I still have twelve copies of my own that I need to send off from when one of my 365 Days Of Resolution tasks was to help him out at least once a month. I never got around to sending them because this was also around the time that I was about to not just give up my twenty-plus-year-old dream to become a screenwriter but writing altogether since no one seemed to be getting my ideas. At the same time, no one was seeing my content because I’ve always been too unconfident to promote myself.
Now, I do still feel that my writing is flawed from being self-taught because of the fact that my unacknowledged dyslexia had me zoned out during English class in high school. I stopped paying attention when I was getting treated like an idiot for not getting the rules as if my ability to grasp the concepts was at fault. The reality is I just don’t see things straight when I read so it takes me forever to get through what others might read in a glance. I developed many bad habits when I discovered my love of writing and began to practice through repetition based on rules that I made up on my own.
I managed to almost land what would have been a big movie deal, a literary agent, and a writing scholarship to film school based on what I taught myself. This was probably more damaging than beneficial because it led me to feel like I was much better than I actually was, at least as far as the technical side of writing goes. Either way, I’ve always felt like an imposter because I never thought I would be taken seriously as a self-taught author because my style was so low-rent. At the same time, I’ve also always seen this as a selling point if I ever were able to manage to figure it all out.
This is why I don’t really mind the path that I’m on, even though it can be incredibly depressing at times. I feel my chaotic childhood taught me to be observant as I was constantly on my toes looking for signs for mood swings and family fights, with mostly outsiders to blame for all of the ruckus. The main outsider being my stepfather, but my mother was a savior type making my childhood abode seem more like a halfway house at times, with every runaway friend of my sister or rehab buddy from the stepdad always hovering around.
This taught me to take an interest in the quirky and dregs of this earth since they were all far more fascinating than anyone I’d meet while visiting friends. It’s also to credit and/or blame for the wacky antics I get into myself. I was ignored as a child since I was quiet amongst everyone else screaming at the top of their lungs for help, so I watched a lot of television where I developed my love of stand-up comedy. Telling jokes gave me a way to process all the craziness without having an emotional meltdown, or at least held it off until no one was around.
Joke telling got me collecting stories, but my extreme shyness kept my potential audience really small. My dyslexia also causes me to stammer and mix my words when I talk, so even before I lack confidence in my technical writing skills, I struggled the same way with speaking. It was an eye-opener when I discovered that I could hone storytelling skills through writing to then be more prepared for the future if I were to say them out loud. Then I discovered I could write screenplays because I was a huge movie fan and felt that since scripts were just blueprints, a couple of written flaws wouldn’t matter as long as the story was good.
I absolutely fell in love with the screenwriting medium for this exact reason, to the point where my childhood dream of telling jokes on the stage fell by the wayside. At least until I built up my confidence. Since I didn’t have to track down a venue or think about an audience at all, I could write whenever I wanted, and as an insomniac, I spent many late nights trying to figure out the craft. Unfortunately, though it is true that you can get further as a screenwriter with poor technical writing skills, it’s also an industry where unless you are a driven leader the focus if profit over art.
I put over twenty years into my screenwriting career and during that time I was ever prolific, just like I am with this site. I know the old adage is quality over quantity, but I still feel that I need the quantity right now because I’m still not good enough to go back and perfect my old work, but I’m close. I felt heartbroken on the day that I finally gave in to the fact that screenwriting just wasn’t for me. I’m not enough of a salesman and never will be, and never want to be, to make it in that industry and still accomplish what I want to achieve, but I’m incredibly thankful for the time the I spent because it really helped develop my story style.
Enter this blog. When I started TheWickerBreaker.com as a ten-year long challenge to test the adage that it takes ten years to make an overnight success, it was supposed to be supplemental to my screenwriting dreams as I attempted to broaden my writing skills in general. It felt so freeing to be able to write what I want without having to worry about The Hero’s Journey, or what page I get to my inciting incident, or any other rule that I felt led to the creative bankruptcy that comes from demanding such a cut and paste structure that the money makers want.
In fact, my screenwriting improved to the point where I felt confident enough to actively seek out and land several freelance gigs, but quickly found out, I absolutely hated writing out other’s ideas. Having to stick to other’s outlines felt like I was walking through the zoo, looking a beautiful beast locked in cages, where writing my own work was more like being out on a safari, where I may be in control of the wheel, but I have no idea what I’ll see.
Blogging provided a path back to this magical world. To highlight this, when I sat down to write an hour and a half ago, all that I planned to say was that I was feeling burnt out once again because my brain is fried from writing so much over the past couple of days, yet here I am still rambling. I think that I’ve been extra wordy lately because I feel like I finally escaped my screenwriter’s voice and now feel like a genuine blogger. I still have all of the tools that I’ve collected throughout my writer’s evolution, but up until recently, I was still feeling stuck in my old ways.
The other day, I was cleaning up some of my old SNL reviews to correct the issue that came when I discovered my third-party spellchecker didn’t get along with my web publishing service and the A/B comparison of how I’ve grown over just two years absolutely blew me away. Granted, my writing is still filled with flaws, but at least I feel like I’m at a point where I’m confident enough in my new work to promote it while I continue to clean up the old stuff.
The idea would be to clean up the typo’s and tidy without changing the actual content all that much because I would like to share my progress for daydreamers like me who may be struggling in the same areas. New Years will be my sixth anniversary with this site. This means that I have four years left to fulfill my attempt at success, and I’ll never get there without marketing so this is why, with my new found confidence, I plan to be much more active in getting my work out next year, or at least finding ways to earn enough to be my own minimum-wage paid boss.
To get to a place where I know that I will always have enough to live a comfortable/maintainable shut-in’s life is now the meaning of overnight success to me. I feel like I have to defend my definition of success because back when I was still in a screenwriter’s headspace, success meant making millions so that I could finance each film in my efforts to keep control over my stories. This made my daydreaming often take me to places where I could seem to have delusions of grandeur, but I felt like I needed that sort of drive to achieve the unachievable goals that floated around in my head since there’s no such thing as subtlety when it comes to the entertainment industry.
All that I ever wanted was to share my roller-coaster ride of tales that I wrote in my attempt to work through my many mental hangups caused by the plethora of undiagnosed disorders that I’ve been coping with throughout my entire life. I never wanted to be on a Hero’s Journey, I was more interested in telling tales of the common man who tends more to get trapped in the same mistakes no matter how hard he tries to escape. Not by just telling the same exact story over and over again with sequels and prequels that feel more like reboots, I always tried to capture the mind maddening cyclical messes that we humans often find ourselves in. Whether or not I’m successful, I try to explore these issues with existence through a surreal/experimental style.
I now feel confident that in four years, when this ten-year experiment is up, I’ll not only continue to blog, but will hopefully be in a position where, minus the financial stresses of life (meaning rent, utilities and food are all covered by what I earn while living on my own) I’ll be able to leisurely live out my writer’s dream as I focus on fiction once again. I’m so glad that I’m in this position as opposed to staring up from my rock bottom position where I was so low that I couldn’t see a hint of evidence that there was still a sun in the sky.
This goes against the assignment from yesterday where I was supposed to practice being modest and stop trying to sell myself. I chose to do the opposite since my problem is that I don’t feel important enough to be heard. Granted, this is why the book warns against the constant bragging in an effort to sell one’s self, but I need to get into a marketer’s mindset, so I need to practice selling myself without coming across as desperate like I have in the past. I figured that rather than deny the insecurities that make me feel like I have to constantly sell myself, I’d confront them in this post with the hope that I can now point those concerned to the page and move on.
Speaking of moving on, it’s now time to introduce the assignment for today, where I’m now supposed to practice the art of gratitude by thinking of the things that I’m thankful for whenever I’m stricken with the idea that I don’t have enough of anything. This is something that I’m working on because I feel that I’m satisfied with my needs, but at the same time, I feel like my lack of ambitions to be a good consumer has outsiders see me as a non-contributor and only a taker in this world.
Then again, this is also just paranoia based on how I see other’s react to people in similar situations since I personally seem to not get any form of feedback either way. Of course, I’ll dig deeper into the details of what I’m trying to say when I check in tomorrow with my next update. 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.
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.