So after four days of looking at the Past, Present, Future, and Practical Matters, the big day has arrived: Time to etch in virtual stone our writing goals for 2014. Oh, and one more little thing: It’s important that you go public with your goals.
Today: Going Public
Why go public?
Because if we just think about your goals, they are nothing more than illusions, hazy, half-baked phantasms in our heads, here and potentially gone like all the other zillion thoughts that spurt through our consciousness each day.
Because if you don’t formalize your writing goals, you may forget them.
Because having some sort of tangible, physical list gives you a touchstone to remind you what you need be focusing on throughout the year.
Because by proclaiming your goals to the Universe, they become real.
And the biggest reason of all: That simple act of courage — declaring your goals publicly — engenders positive energy, recalling the line by the Rev. Basil King who said, “Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”
What then do I mean by going public?
Anything that gets the goals out of your head and into the physical universe. Such as:
* Write down your goals onto 3×5 index cards.
* Compose a letter to yourself with your goals, stick said letter in an envelope, and tack it to your desk where you can see and know it’s there when you write.
* Email your family and friends with the list of goals.
* Host a party at which you recite your goals and invite people’s moral and emotional support.
* Hire the Goodyear Blimp and flash your goals on it over the Rose Bowl.
Or you can simply post your writing goals for 2014 here on GITS. Just like I’m going to do now.
Scott Myers Writing Goals: 2014
I have three areas of my life and work that involve writing:
* Write stories.
* Write about Story.
* Teach writing.
Here are my writing goals next year for each area.
I have spent the last few years writing small indie dramas and drama comedies. I’ve got one more I want to finish rewriting, then I feel the urge to get back into mainstream comedy. I have a strong concept I have road tested with a number of folks in the writing and development community. That spec script will be my primary focus for the year.
WRITE ABOUT STORY
Folks keep asking me about putting out screenwriting books. It feels like something I should do, but I don’t want to contribute yet another ‘how to’ title. Already too many of those in my opinion, creating more confusion than clarity with all the different language systems. Plus it really is up to each individual writer to learn their own way into and through a writing process.
One subject I do think would make for an interesting contribution to the conversation about the craft is my Theology of Screenwriting series. Given my background, it seems like I’m uniquely suited to expand that into a book. Plus the way I view it — theological terms in a metaphorical sense — the content is applicable to all movies. If a writer can look at themes like Redemption, Incarnation, Hell and Sin in a new light, not religious, but literary, I think that is something which could be of value to the discourse about screenwriting and, indeed, writing in general.
So my goal in 2014 is to do a month’s worth of daily Theology of Screenwriting blog posts and see where that takes me.
A second area under discussion: Something related to the screenwriting interviews I have been and will continue to conduct. More on that in 2014.
I will continue to teach through Screenwriting Master Class:
Private Writing Workshop: The Quest.
Those are all online courses. One of my goals in 2013 was to explore in-person classes and I tested that out with a workshop in Santa Monica in October that was hugely successful. So I will be looking for more opportunities to offer The 4-Day Quest Writing Workshop in locations like Santa Monica (March 13-16, 2014), New York, Toronto, Vancouver and others (TBD).
One big decision I have made: I will not be doing The Quest Initiative in 2014. I am committed to working with the writers from the 2012 and 2013 groups, helping to get their scripts to the point where we can take them out. Depending upon how things shake out, I may do the Initiative in 2015. We’ll see.
I will also continue to teach in the Writing for Screen and Stage program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Great colleagues, great students, great learning experience.
Finally there is Go Into The Story. I am committed to maintaining the basic approach to generating content and interacting with readers I have developed over the nearly six years I’ve been hosting the site. As always I will continue to solicit ideas and suggestions from you. And I look forward to exploring more possibilities that may emerge from the site’s partnership with the Black List.
For example, I will continue to interview screenwriters and industry professionals as that series has been received extremely well by readers.
Also I have put together a lineup of 12 monthly series along the lines of A Story Idea Each Day for a Month, 30 Things About Screenwriting, and Scene-Writing Challenge. More on that soon.
So that’s what I aim to be writing in 2014. What if I land writing gigs like I did this year? What if I come up with another crazed idea like The Quest Initiative? Here’s how I look at writing goals: They are similar to the relationship a writer has with an outline.
An outline can be a tremendous benefit to a writer, wrangling the story and giving shape to it. But once you hit FADE IN, you have to be willing to follow the characters wherever they take you. Sometimes the characters follow the outline perfectly. Other times, they don’t. In the case of the latter, you never stifle your characters, instead you have to have the courage to set your outline aside, and go with the creative flow.
Same thing with writing goals and whatever opportunities come along. Your goals give shape to the potential narrative of your creative year. Sometimes events lay out just like you figured they would. But other times, some project pops up, a unique opportunity to write a story about which you feel passionate. In those cases, you have to be willing to veer away from the schedule for your goals — not the goals themselves, just how and when you are go about realizing them.
Speaking of schedule, going public with your writing goals does not mean your planning work is done. It will do you little good if you generate a list of goals, but don’t figure out a time frame within which to accomplish those goals. So that is where we start the next step in the process on Monday: Working up a schedule. Following that on Tuesday through Friday, we will explore time saving and project management tips, mine and hopefully yours, to help facilitate reaching our writing goals next year.
For now, those of you who feel emboldened, I’ll see you in Comments and look forward to reading about your writing projects in 2014. And for those of you who want to keep that information to yourself, that’s completely fine. Just be sure to go public, even if it’s formalizing a list of writing goals on a 3×5 index card.
Bottom line: All my best to each of you in your creative endeavors in 2014 and beyond.