Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.
~ Anaïs Nin
There was a time that I could have a decent chat with my daughter without the interference of a smartphone. Unfortunately, that time has gone. Although she’ll look at me when we talk, she can’t help but touch her phone or peak at the screen when we’re having a conversation. Or rather, when I’m talking to her. The only way to get her attention is to make her put her phone far far away.
Sometimes, when we go out for shopping and my daughter is hanging around in a store, I would go outside and wait for her. I’m just getting to the age at which hanging around in stores to kill time is not my favourite activity anymore. I could use my time more wisely. When I’m waiting outside, my favourite activity is to observe people, passersby. Occasionally I would make contact with some nice people and have a chat. Face to face. I still believe that’s the nicest thing to do.
During my observations on such an occasion I start to notice that more and more people are keeping their heads down. Not as a precaution; looking for things that can make them trip over, no, it’s because they couldn’t take their eyes of their smartphones. Some of them even stare at their phone in company of a friend. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were communicating with each other via WhatsApp instead of just talking face to face.
I have to admit, I’m guilty too! I, too, would get my phone, just to check for messages even though it didn’t alert me. What is it that we feel like we can’t live without a phone these days? We’ve become too afraid to lose contact with the world if we stay offline, that we don’t realise that we’ve already lost contact with the real world by being online.
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
We all have experienced it once or twice or maybe even more often; you go to the store or a restaurant and the employee, who supposed to be kind and friendly, treats you like you’re an annoying person interrupting her at whatever she’s doing except working.
Well, it happened to me while I was at the cinema a few weeks back. Me and my daughter planned a day out as she had a day off from school. We left home cheerfully, looking forward to have some good time watching a movie and shopping. Once we arrived at the cinema and I ordered tickets at the ticket office, everything changed!
We arrived at the cinema just past noon. We wanted to catch an early show, so we could spend the afternoon shopping. The girl at the desk saw us coming in, but didn’t greet us. She didn’t even bothered to look at us. I just ordered my tickets, she printed them out and shoved it to me over the counter. She watched me swipe my card to pay and turned away. Not even a ” Goodbye!” or “Have a nice day!”. My daughter looked at me and shrugged. I couldn’t help to say something about it.
I felt quite offended at that moment. Maybe it was because I wanted so much for my daughter to have a good time. She just started at the secondary school and worked so hard the past few weeks to gain good results at school. I wanted to reward her and show her that I’m really proud of her. And besides, I just assumed the girl at the ticket office was just pissed to work and early shift.
So, I made a comment. I said that I find her very rude and that I don’t think her boss would appreciate her treating customers like that. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything….
The girl fell out at me. She told me to mind my own business and that she is very capable of doing her job. I should just go in and watch the movie. Wow! My daughter and I, our jaws dropped wide open. We looked at each other and we were speechless. My daughter dragged me away and told me to let it go. But the more I thought of it, the more I felt the need to talk to someone about it. I decided to talk to the manager. Of course my teenage daughter warned me not to make a scene of it. But she did agree with me that the girl was very rude.
I found the manager, told him what happened and he could tell that I was not amused about it. We walked back to the girl at the ticket office just to see her being rude to other customers too. The manager was quite shocked about it. He told us that she’s his best employee and normally she’s very kind and friendly. The manager went over to ask what’s happening. The girl saw us with the manager and tears started to roll over her cheeks. Oops… That was not what I expected.
I instantly felt sorry for the girl. This was not my intention. Suddenly, things seemed to get more worse. My daughter shot me an ugly look and whispered to me that she warned me not to make scene. TEENAGERS! *sigh* While the girl sobbed heavily, she tried to say something. We couldn’t make out what she was babbling. When she’s calmed down a bit, we finally understood what she tried to say. She explained to us that she just lost a close family member and that she’s very upset about it. And the emotions have clouded her mood to work.
All right, I did feel bad that I confronted her about her behaviour. I counted till ten and took a deep breath, then, when the girl was calmed down, I explained to her why I planned to file a complain against her. I told her that my daughter was excited about going a day out on a school day and that I was very looking forward to spend some quality time with my daughter. And that the way she treated us, I felt like she’s ruined our day.
The girl listened patiently to me and she was very reasonable. She nodded and said she understands why I was upset about her behaviour. She even apologised to us. I accepted her apology. I also told her that I’m sorry that she lost a close family member and that it’s okay to feel sad. But sometimes, we might want to think twice about how we act on our emotions. Because when we send out negative energy to other people, they will receive it and react on it too. And most of the time, that’s how misunderstandings happen. She nodded.
This incident reminded me of two important things in life; 1. assumptions are not always true and 2. always connect with people.
I saw a young girl acting grumpy and just assumed she didn’t want to work and early shift. I was wrong. My assumption was very wrong. I’m glad that I had a chance to talk to the girl. Maybe, connecting with her through the manager wasn’t the best move, I should’ve talked to her personally. But it still gave us the opportunity to explain ourselves. The best thing was, even though the start was a bit impetuous, at the end we’ve talked calmly and listened patiently to each other and cleared things out. Everything was fine after all. The manager even gave us free drinks and popcorn! So, my daughter, the teenager, who’s learned a lesson of life, was happy too!
I strongly believe if we all could just keep in mind that we must not always assume our assumptions are true and if we would ry to kindly connect with people we could all make this world a better place!
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
~ Og Mandino
A few days back, while vacuuming the living room, I picked up the guitar of my daughter. I was tired of cleaning so I put down the vacuum cleaner and started to ping on the strings. Just for fun. I’ve always love the sound of a guitar and I will melt away at songs that are guided by acoustic guitar sounds. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to learn how to play it when I was younger. Now I’m compensating it by sending my daughter to guitar class. Luckily she likes it a lot and she’s doing really great.
So, I held the guitar that day and looked at the book with music notes. It’s a book for beginners, which my daughter left on the stand after practicing some old songs. The book lies proudly open, as if it intentionally shows me all its contents. It seems not too complicated so I decided to give it a shot. After a few attempts I almost want to give up. the joints in my fingers and my fingertips already started to complain after a few minutes. I feel them burning of pain caused by the pressing on the strings. My shoulders cramped and I couldn’t hit a decent music note. I thought about how well my daughter could play this instrument and I felt like a useless woman.
Okay.. now wait a minute! That’s totally not fair to think that way.
We all know the feeling when something doesn’t go the way as we’ve planned. And unfortunately, most of the time it works like that. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not capable of doing something right or making something to happen. It just means that you need more practice in what you’re trying to do. Perseverance is the key. That and a right mindset.
If you’re feeling bad because something didn’t go as planned. Then stop what you’re doing! Stop and take a deep breath. Let your mind flow away from what you’re doing and let it go for a moment. And then, think of something else. Think of something that you’ve done and that you succeeded in. Think of things that make you happy. For instance, think of that time that you’ve nailed a very complicated cake recipe. Or maybe you’ve once helped an old lady to cross a busy road. Or even think back at the time that you’ve passed you’re driving exam.
All those thing, no matter how small they seem to be, you made them happen. Those are your achievements! Maybe you forgot about them, but the people you shared that cake with, will always remember that cake of yours and admire your perseverance to make it. That old lady will always be grateful to you for your help and the fact that you steer your car so easily around these days, is because you once passed that exam!
So, remember, the next time you feel bad about a thing that doesn’t work out right away, don’t focus on the things that went wrong, but think of the things that make you strong. YOU can change your mind, YOU can CHOOSE on what to think. So, choose the positive matters, because those things can make you feel better and let you believe in yourself. And that is the most important part! Believe in what you can do. Be determined to succeed!
As for the things that did not succeed today, there is always a tomorrow!
i kept practicing on the guitar and after a few days I can now finally complete playing a whole song. Check it out in my latest Youtube video.
I had a lovely vacation this summer. I went to Slovenia and Croatia. I’ve visited some beautiful places and saw some impressive sceneries. When on the last day I sat on a bench in a nice park in Zagreb, thinking how grateful I am to have the chance to make this journey, I saw two women walking by. One pushing a wheelchair and one leaning on a cane. I guess the wheelchair is meant for the lady with the cane. My educated guess is that they’re in their late 70s maybe even early 80s. I couldn’t help but to follow them with my eyes.
The women walked slowly. My impression was that the lady with the cane couldn’t walk too fast and gets tired easily. They set a few steps and then they will stop to rest for a minute or two. The lady pushing the wheelchair awaits patiently for the lady with the cane to take lead and carry on. I couldn’t make out their relationship. They might be sisters or just good friends. Best friends even, I guess. They’ve definitely known each other for a long time. It’s like they are willing to stand by each other no matter what.
When I look at them, I couldn’t help but to think how their life must have been. Are they married, do they have kids, what have they endured? Are they happy? Do they have regrets? What are their biggest achievements. Are they grateful? Do they visit church every now and then or did they gave up hope and belief a long time ago?
All sort of questions crossed my mind. I would’ve loved to have a chat with them. To hear their stories. To get to know the things that they have experienced. To listen to their achievements and share their regrets, if they have any. I always think of people of old age as one big treasure chest, full of inspiration.
When I was sitting there, watching the treasure chests, my mind started to wander off. Slowly, just like the lady with the cane and it stops for a pause, too, at my past. I’ve learned to let that go a long time ago. But sometimes it still hits me. Don’t want to waste too much time in the past, I urged my mind to carry on and it wandered to my future. What will my future look like? That’s the most mysterious question no one can ever answer. My mind started to come back to me and it accompanied me again at watching the old ladies. And then it told me: make sure you don’t have regrets when you’re at that age. Live today and enjoy life! Whether it’s good or bad. Accept the things that cross your road. Be grateful for the things that you have. And keep on learning. Keep inspiring people and be inspired by life. The past gave you a present to build the future. So, live the present!
Life’s a funny thing. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. So, we must get the most out of it today. And if we are lucky to live till the age of the ladies in my photo we have to make sure that every day counts and that we don’t have regrets on the last day of our lives.
The women went on their way. So did I. As our ways separated I turned back a few times to watch them. They became smaller each time I turned around until eventually they’ve disappeared into the distance. This was the best scenery I’ve seen this vacation. I wish them both the best last act of their play.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
~ Tony Robbins
Today I’ve finally uploaded my first vlog on Youtube! I didn’t pick the date on purpose. It just happened to be this day. I already had a story and shot the footages in early December. But destiny seems to want me to have everything ready by this day. So, I can launch my vlog on a memorable date.
This is my journey to fulfilling my dreams! In September I posted a blog about what I wanted to do the most. I’ve told everyone I love to be a screenwriter and that I wanted to start a vlog on Youtube. In the mean time I have made a lot of new writers friends and even joined a film team to assist their script team. And with my first vlog online I’ve gained another mini win. I very much enjoy creating the contents and I intend to make more of them.
I’d like to create different contents about diverse subject matters and I would love to hear from you what you think of it. I love to capture every day moments of life. Moments that happen, because they happen. I urge myself to enjoy the little things that cross my roads, things that we see but might not notice. But if we pay a little more attention to it, it might make us very happy.
To me, life is about following your heart and do the things you want to do. Although it might be a bit scary, but when you dare to loose your footing for a short moment you can gain so much satisfaction when you found your balance again.
Live your life with joy and remember your dreams.
Dare to laugh even when the road of life is a bit rough.
Do the things you love the most and do it with all heart.
I invite you to come along with me on my new journey. It’ll be a very exciting one!
I have enjoyed every bit of this wonderful event! Starting from the opening speech till the last drinks with fellow writers at the Globe, a lovely pub. I’ve met a lot of new friends, fellow voyagers on the writer’s journey. I learned a lot from well-known speakers; heroes of every screenwriter. Above all, it provided me exactly what I was looking for: acknowledgment. Fellow writers who treat me as writer too.
A few years back when I finally had the courage to take a step onto the writer’s journey, I was pumped with energy. It felt good! It still feels good. Like I’ve finally found the right path. I started with a blank screen and now I can call myself the writer of a feature screenplay and several short scripts.
But as the journey advances I started to feel lonely too due to the lack of fellow travellers who understand what I’m doing and what I stand for. I have no one in my surroundings with whom I can share my struggles and discuss about writing. It’s like being lost in the ocean holding just a raft. While I was trying to keep my head above water, I started to lose my motivation. Slowly procrastination became a habit.
Fortunately, somewhere in the ocean there is an island called LSF. And I started to swim to it. When I’ve reached it, I found out that it is a very big island. I felt a bit tense stepping onto this island for the first time. But tense faded away immediately when a fellow writer reached out to me. And from that moment on I’m reassured that this is a safe haven for writers!
Everyone is welcome at LSF! Whether you’re a novice writer or a seasoned master of the craft, LSF greets everybody with a warm embrace. Complete strangers would make contact with each other and it doesn’t feel strange, because we all have one thing in common: the passion for writing. It’s like one big family and I am grateful to have found this family.
Although I started this journey many years ago, it is not until now that I finally feel to have leapt one big step forward. With so many fellow travellers around to share my adventures with this trip can only get better and better! And I can safely explore the ocean without feeling lonely again!
You too can be part of this big family! LSF is offering an early bird ticket now. Go to the website HERE and grab this deal!
Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.
~ Mary Lou Cook
I have been struggling for a while with what I really want to do. For the past 5 years I’ve worked as an importer of Chinese herbs, a caterer, promotional employee and receptionist and I can’t quite find my way in all these jobs. There was even a time that I was a software engineer and I have owned a restaurant. I can’t say my life is boring. But non of these professions gave me satisfaction. I just can’t find peace at any of them. I started to wonder why.
I took a pause and asked myself, what is it that I really want? The answer was quite clear: I want to be a screenwriter and filmmaker! I’ve always knew but I I’ve never told the world.
The reason I have not told the world earlier about my dreams is because Fear and Ego were controlling over me. I was scared that people will laugh at me and think I’m silly. And then Ego will tag along with Fear and tell me I have no talent. A little voice in my head keeps screaming at me that I’m better off doing something else than to pursue my dream. It’s very annoying! Fear and Ego dominated my life for a very long time. It caused me to gave up my dream once. I won’t let it happen again.
So, now I’m yelling it to the world: I WANT TO BE A SCREENWRITER AND FILMMAKER!
I’ve always wanted to work in the film industry. Once upon a time I’ve even taken acting classes. But due to circumstances I did not persevere. Deep down that dream didn’t fade away. It’s like an itch underneath my skin that I have ignored for too long. And now it has turned into a wound. The wound is open and it has to be healed. It can only heal if I nourish it and be gentle to it and use the right medication.
Three years back I started to write my first screenplay. It took me six months to finish it. All the scenes were so vivid in my head and I just wrote them all down. I know it’s not a masterpiece, but at least I can put my name on a finished screenplay. And maybe it will never (well, never say never…) get produced, it gave me satisfaction creating it. It made me feel alive, it charged me up and pumped me full of energy. I’ve used the energy to write more stories and now my name is on two other screenplays too. That’s the power of creativity! It provided me the right medication to heal my wound and the best weapon to fight against Fear and Ego.
My next goal is to start a vlog channel on Youtube. I’m preparing for it and I’m watching (and learning from) successful Youtubers to see how they do it. One of them is Peter McKinnon. This guy is so funny and full of energy and he has soo much fun doing what he does. It just makes you happy watching him. In one of his latest episodes he gave tips to his audience on how to start a vlog! That can’t be a coincidence! Just as I need the courage and support soo much, this guy decides to make a vlog about how to vlog! It’s amazing!
And there is another photographer called Sean Tucker. He also has his own vlog and it’s quite artistic. He is all different from Peter, but his channel is even fun to watch. Sean is more timid and shy where as Peter is all funny and active. And they both have their own audiences. Both of them have said that the main thing about creativity is to have fun. Step out of your comfort zone and do the things you love to do. Enjoy doing it and don’t bother what other people think of it. Because you are the game changer.
So, I decide to follow the advice of these two men; have fun doing the things I love to do. Step over Fear and give Ego a punch in the face. I might take some risk walking down the road of screenwriting and filmmaking, make mistakes, even fall down a few times, but I’m sure that every time I get up again I will know more about that road and it will only bring me more fun walking on it.
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
I’m sitting here staring at my screen, desperately to write something. Anything! But I got zip inspiration. Nothing. Nada!
So, I’m trying to figure out what I want to write about. Is it about writing? About filmmaking? About books? Films? Kids? Oh, hell, about football then?! I really don’t know. After a while it sudden occurs to me that I just want to write about life. Yes. Life! You might think: “How boring! Again a blog post about life! Don’t people have better things to write about?” Just pause for a minute. Rewind. And think again. Isn’t everything we read and watch about life?
Every book we read, at some point we will relate it to our own lives. Every film we watch there are always some scenes in it that we can relate to our own life. If we play with our kids we will feel life. Why? Because, in my opinion, life is the most precious thing we have.
Life can be cruel sometimes. But I think it doesn’t intentionally mean to harm us. It’s just that we need to learn how to live it. In time you will learn to live a happy life.
I see many people around me struggling with life. I guess sooner or later we all reach a point that we realise the life we live isn’t the life we want for ourselves. But we’re merely living up to someone else’s expectations. Be it your parents, your siblings, your partner. Most of us are living just to please somebody else. And when we realise that, we become truly unhappy. But it is also the first step to awakening.
You just have to make sure you stay awake and change your way of life. Dare to break the circle. Stand up for yourself. Tell your parents, siblings, partner what you really want. Do the things you like. Live the life you’ve always dreamt of.
I know it’s easier said than done. Many of us have experienced this feeling. But how many of us really dare to stand up and fight for life? It’s a scary fight. I give you that. A fight that one must fight on his own. And staying true to oneself is the only way to win. Along the road you will hurt people. You will lose precious relationships. But in the end the ones that stand by you, those are the ones who really love you for who you are.
If you’re feeling life is a burden, don’t bury your head in the sand. Pull your head out and stop for a moment. Think about your life. Don’t let the most beautiful thing be a struggle. Embrace it, face it, live it. Because we only get one life. Dream, dare, do. Live, laugh, love!
“To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man.”
In the past few months I’ve finished and rewritten my first screenplay. I’ve even sent it out to some screenwriting contests. I was very proud and satisfied and It gave me strength to carry on.
The idea for my first story came to me rather easily and I do strongly believe in this story. But now that it is finished I felt myself falling into a dark hole. I have another story in mind but it doesn’t feel as strong as the first one. So, I started to doubt. I doubt myself, I doubt my capabilities, I doubt my skills.
While I was self pitying I thought I might as well watch some TV series or movies to cheer myself up (and for research of course!). As I was curious why Downton Abbey was so highly recommended (and because of the wonderful Dame Maggie Smith) I started to watch it on Netflix. After the first episode I was already hooked.
It was not a very good idea, starting to watch it; I finished watching four seasons in three days! After that my mind could only think of Downton Abbey! And every character flows in my mind all day long. I think about the fate and fortune of all characters. The good ones and the ill-minded ones. That doesn’t happen often when I watch a movie of series. I did not only enjoy the serie, I actually learned a great deal from it!
Every scene of every episode is so well constructed. Every bit of it contains intrigue, suspense, conflict and mysterious twists that moves the story forward and hook the audience. Every character is so well built that makes the audience curious about all their fates. From the earl to the footmen, from the ladies to the kitchen maids. Every story line is just so fabulously written. Watching the serie is almost like you’re a part of it yourself!
It could discourage a novice writer like me. Because watching such a masterpiece can make a novice writer, who struggles with story construction and writing, feel very small. But the odd thing is, I don’t feel that way! Downton Abbey was a wonderful gift to me (or rather, a subscription on Netflix was a wonderful gift I gave myself). It gave me courage to persevere writing. Julian Fellowes has shown me the tricks of how a good story should be and what good scenes need in order to push the story forward. He gave me strength to keep on constructing stories. And I just hope that one day I will have such a masterpiece of my own that people will love to watch.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
I always had that romantic image of a writer in my head: a melancholic appearance, hanging over a laptop in a coffeeshop, sipping a cup of black coffee, typing away the words which hit the screen like water hitting breakers. Occasionally shedding an eye on a small notebook at the corner of the table and then continue processing the information into the story on the bright screen.
Unfortunately, I found out that it doesn’t work that way. Being a writer is everything but romantic. It is hard work! You can’t just write away and and skip the foreplay. The foreplay of a writer isn’t romantic either. It means a lot of research, outlining, structuring and absorbing all kinds of information about the subject you are writing.
The foreplay is necessary! I made the big mistake of skipping this proces and followed the image of a romantic writer, eager to become one of myself. I failed!
As a novice writer I started to write my first story without preparations. Well, of course I did some structuring and outlining. I knew, for instance, who my protagonist is and what her goal will be. I focused on it, wrote down some notes about her and her goal. I also knew who the antagonist is and what she wanted from my main character. Well, that should be enough, right?!
I didn’t work out a detailed outline. Just worked out half a story structure. Didn’t get to know my story characters as good as I should have and what they do and what they really really want. I didn’t work out the side characters and their stories. I just started to write down my story while the foreplay wasn’t even getting warm let even hot. I managed to get words processed on my laptop. But the more I wrote, the more I got lost! The story went a whole different way than I had planned! All the characters did something different than I wanted them to. The main story did stick a bit, but all side stories went astray. I had to adjust the story while I was writing and it took me a lot of time to get it straight again. When I finally typed “Fade out” the outcome was a whole different story than I had in my mind in the first place. The rewrite was fun though. But that was only after I wrote a detailed outline and set up a new structure. And I made a character sketch for every character that appears in the story and got to know them again. If only I had started with these preparations in the first place, it could’ve saved me a lot of precious time.
So, the next project I started, I did my research and structuring well! The writing went a lot smoother than my first project and the story sticks! It saved me a lot of struggling while writing.
This is one thing I learned: just consider writing is your love relationship. You can not just reach an ecstatic state without hugging and a kissing. The more you know about your partner and his or her needs the better your love life will be! The same works for writing. The better you do your research and structure the better the outcome will be!
Don’t make the same mistake I did! Be well prepared if it concerns your precious story! But by all means, if you have made the same mistake I did, don’t give up! Just get over it and keep on writing! Learn from the mistake. Make the second attempt a better one. And the third one even more better. Because, if that is what you love to do, you will somehow learn to play the first bit and successfully get to the ecstatic stage!
More on structuring:
Find some strong facts about structure by Bang2Write here
Some interesting structuring tips article on ScriptMag.com: The Four Act Structure