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!
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.
“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
~ David Frost
Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you’re doing? As if you are lost on the road of life? No? Great! You’re happy with who you are and what you’re doing. Be grateful and enjoy every moment.
For those of you out there who do struggle with your jobs sometimes; I know how it feels. Sometimes you just got the feeling that you’re doing it merely to survive rather than enjoying it. You want to change that, but you’re too afraid to change the steady life that you’re living. Because every change will cause insecurity and you don’t know what it’ll bring. It’s okay. I get it. It is scary. But do keep in mind that it’ll always stay the same way. If you don’t change it, it won’t change itself.
But why giving up something that is safe and start doing something that we can’t predict the outcome of…
Let me tell you why: because you won’t be happy if you keep doing something that you don’t really enjoy. Imagine something that you hate to do and you have to do it the rest of your life. For instance, I really don’t like vacuuming at all, but I have to do it, otherwise I get a dirty house. I can make myself comfortable by listening to music while I vacuum and that’s okay. I can survive it once in a while. Even when I have to do it twice a week, it’s still be fine. But now let’s assume that vacuuming is my job, I have to do it day in, day out…. It’ll drive me crazy in no time. If that is what you feel about your job, then it’s time to change! Because if you don’t it’s not only affecting you but at some point it will also affect your surroundings; your family and friends. People you care about. So, step over your fear and start doing the thing that you love. So you can be really happy.
One of the reasons that we’re not eager to change what we’re doing, is the fear that it will be not successful. We tend to think about the outcome instead of the process. That’s because we live in a material world. Bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed. But when we think that way, success will not come. We all know some stories about successful people. If you compare those stories they will have one thing in common: they didn’t think about the outcome when they started to do the thing that made them successful. They just did it because they believe in it. Sometimes we need to be bold and just start. Deep down in your heart you know what you have to do. But instead of listening to our heart we let our minds overrule.
Now, you don’t have to quite your job or change your life drastically in order to do the thing that you love. But you have to at least make a start and do it. Make time for it and pay attention to it. If you want to be a painter, start to paint! Do it in the mornings, the evenings or at night! But just start picking up a brush and dip it in the paint and make something cool! If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is pick up a pen and a notebook and start doing it. Jot down your thought, your ideas, start a blog, share your stories. If you believe in it and you believe in yourself, you will make it successful!
Believe in yourself, believe in the thing that you love to do. Pay attention to it and let it grow. Baby steps at a time, but give it a chance to let it grow!
“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!
I’ve always like this quote of Proust. It is true. Don’t stuck on the things you’ve already seen and know of. Try to see something new everywhere you go. Even places you’ve been for a thousand times can give you surprises sometime.
Last year I went to Rovaniemi, Finland to see the Northern Light a.k.a. Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, the weather was too bad and I didn’t see any light! But this year I managed to see the Light in Lofoten, Norway. It’s an unforgettable experience. And I have once again developed some new eyes for the beautiful things in life.
“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
“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
~ Marcel Proust
Over the past year I had learned about writing techniques. I’ve read dozens of books and watched hundreds of videos on the internet to acquire the knowledge of writing.
I learned about structure and about building characters. I’ve read that a writer has to use different words to describe the story to draw the readers attention. I gathered valuable information about writing techniques from well known writers on the internet. With all these knowledge I started writing my first project, a screenplay. It was then that I start to struggle with the story!
How do I develop a story? I couldn’t find much about it on the internet! Well, sure! I had ideas! I did have parts of the story in my head. But how do I connect all the loose parts and mash it into one smooth story? I felt a bit lost…
So, I took some time to let all the information subside. I went out for a walk to get some fresh air. After a short walk I bought a cup of coffee and sat down on a bench to enjoy my favourite drink. I watched people walk by. Dogs sniff at everything. Small children try to walk away from their mothers. And clumsy mothers who try to catch up with their runaway toddlers while carrying heavy diaper bags and pushing baby-buggies. And suddenly I realised that I can find stories everywhere. All I had to do was to open up my senses and observe everything around me!
Last Friday while I was waiting for the metro I picked up a conversation of a group of students. One of the students held a tripod in one hand and while talking he used his free hand to show his friends how a motorbike passed him closely when he walked on the curb that morning. His friends all gasped when he showed them how close the motorbike passed him. He was furious about the incident as he was almost hit by the two-wheeled vehicle. He used almost every part of his body to describe the incident. When he flung up his occupied hand the tripod almost hit a woman who stood a bit too close to the group. The woman did a step back. The talking student’s cheeks turned red when he realised he almost hit someone. He apologised immediately. The woman smiled and walked away quickly.
I was surprised that I described the whole scene in my head with words. Before I started writing I would watch the incident and didn’t pay much attention to it. But now, I observe the actions and overhear the conversations and I try to think about how I would tell the story, what words I would use and how I would describe the situation.
I guess that’s the thing with writers. They observe and write at the same time. Good thing I always have a notebook with me. So, I can write down all the details and things that I see. Or smell. Or feel. All the things I need to build a story.
Try to have new eyes on every journey you take. Whether it is at home or at the supermarket or a busstop: there’s a story everywhere! But you must have the right eyes to see it and an open mind to let it in.