Try try again.

So, I didn’t make it to the next round of judging in one of the competitions I entered. It really sucks, but I’d rather write about it here than pretend that a) nothing is wrong and b) I’m both far removed and successful in this industry. I’m not. I write with advice that I’ve gleaned from experience, time and the education I’ve received but I’m far from an expert.

I’m in the same writing boat all of you are. This is a hard profession. This is a low point but one day there’ll be a high point. It seems silly to not document all the ups and downs this screenwriting journey is taking me on. In fact I think it’s a privilege to share each bit with all of you, warts and all. I’ll be sad for a little bit and that’s part of the process.

I didn’t make it to the next round of judging. It sucks. I’m bummed out. But tomorrow’s another day and the small feedback I received is enough to help me keep going.

Happy writing!

Today Vegetables, Tomorrow the World!

Last week was another experiment in my *~*~*~influencing adventures~*~*~*. It still feels very silly, but dressing up my new Bunnicula shirt from Out of Print was kind of fun. It’s odd. I’m still having some issues accepting my recent weight gain; part of me is miserable about it and part of me is coming to terms with it. Taking pictures of myself helps, but it’s still hard to look at myself sometimes.

And it scares me, which means I should keep working at it.

Outfit Details

Cozy and Cozier – the Best Autumn Writing Essentials!

Blog Header; Cozy Autumn Writing Essentials; the best products for the coziest writing sessions.

This is my favorite time of year; the transition from summer to fall. It’s not quite autumn and the summer heat is fading and the anticipation of Halloween and the holidays is just around the corner. The desire to get cozy is creeping up, and like a bear getting ready for winter I’m feeling the urge to cuddle up and hibernate.

And my birthday is in October, which is a nice perk. In San Francisco, the first week of October is always inexplicably sunny after months of the summer fog. Furthermore, it’s Fleet Week where the Blue Angels fly over the Bay. All around a good time. Even though Hardly Strictly Bluegrass isn’t happening in the park this year thanks to COVID19, I’m sure the time around my birthday will be pretty rad.

But that’s still a month away, and while that one week out of the year is nice in SF, the rest of the world is gearing up for the chilly autumn. Are your fingers too cold to work on your screenplay? Can you see your breath in front of you as you try to work out your plot and dialogue? (Probably more a sign you need a space heater than anything else). Well, read on for some of the coziest autumn essentials to make your writing and life much comfier as the days grow colder.

(This article contains regular links and some affiliate links; I’ll let you know which is which. If you purchase through an affiliate link I make a small commission that keeps this blog running at no cost to you!)

Cozy Clothes!

“Nutty for Fall”

Nutty for Fall Sweatshirt

Lookhuman is actually one of my favorite places. They’ve got cute designs for every time of year, but now that it’s autumn the pullovers are where it’s at!

No Article This Week

My computer died. (It was so dramatic. It froze, and then the start up disk disappeared. I was texting Apple tech support for about three hours before they decided it was better to just send it in to be repaired.) It’s been a little hard to try and get anything done with my phone, and very ancient iPad, so I’m foregoing a main article this week. I can kind of type stuff but it’s just like pulling teeth.

But I’ve got some article ideas for you to look forward to! Are you excited?!

  • Cozy Autumn Essentials; great products to make writing more cozy and comfy in the coming months!
  • Finding Your Voice; exploring some of the super unique voices in cinema (think Joss Whedon’s works and shows like Hannibal). And how to balance between making your voice your signature and telling your story.
  • A review of the podcast, Dead Eyes! I’ve been listening to this and it’s a really interesting, funny look into the actual reality of Hollywood.

That’s what I’ve got so far. Anything pique your interest? Is there anything you’d like me to write about? Comment below and let me know!p

Also! I’m trying to reach 100 followers on Instagram! I’d love to get in touch with you there. Find me on there, betsythegremlin!


I’d be super chuffed if you joined my email list. Get the latest Gremlin news and exclusive downloads! I never spam and I’d love to keep in touch with you!

How to Work and Write and Not Go Crazy

Finding a balance between following your dreams and working to pay the bills.

Writing is amazing if you love it. But for most of us trying to break into the business, it isn’t lucrative. (In fact, I wrote a whole dang post about things I do to manage my money specifically so writers can keep writing.) Maybe your novel will be the next big thing and get on Reese’s book club list, but the chances of that are slim, and in the meantime, you gotta pay the bills. Work comes first. And that’s okay.

In the past few years, I’ve had a myriad of jobs; service-oriented, administrative and editorial, and a few weird things in-between. Working full-time (while also balancing depression, anxiety, and PCOS, ugh) made the idea of coming home from work and writing seem utterly ludicrous. I imagine it’s the same for many of you.

Balancing life and a passion for writing is so freaking hard.

As I reflect on my past, working full time and writing, I’m surprised by how much I was able to get done. (Right now I’m living at home and not working and feel like I’m getting nothing done! Thanks, Covid-19 angst!). I had a whole slew of projects and was pretty productive on all of them. I realized that I had worked out a few little systems to balance my writing life with my work life. Again, it was hard; I wasn’t having the best time, but I knew I had to keep going up that mountain.

Here are some things I’ve learned that make the climb a little easier;

Write 100 Words (or 3-5 screenplay pages) before work.

(or after work, it’s your life)

Every day, sit down and try and write 100 words. It’s that simple. Usually, by the time you hit 100 words, you’re on a roll and can keep going until you lose steam. It’s not a lot of words, I get that. In fact, it’s a downright negligible amount of words if you’re trying to write a novel. Even then, sometimes 100 words can feel like pulling teeth. If that’s the case, hit your 100 and walk away; you’re still 100 words richer. (And if you’re one of my screenplay audience, 100 words is comparable to 3-5 pages of screenplay. If you can get 3 pages of screenplay done a day, you’ll have a 90-page screenplay in a month.)

It doesn’t have to be good either. Just getting the words on the page is an accomplishment. You can edit later

(And look, this section was about 130-ish words! See? it’s not that bad!)

Gremlin’s Adventures in Influencing

I’ve been trying my hand at ‘influencer’-y things (ugh) and trying to get over my massive amounts of self-consciousness. It feels futile; I’m not influential. My 75 followers probably don’t want any influencing. It’s just kind of a silly experiment. Especially since I can’t go out and see things and take pictures in cool locations, considering the current plague going on.

But one of my favorite Instagram users mentioned that they were self-conscious sitting down. It’s a challenge to be sure. I must’ve taken like forty pictures and these were the only three I was happy with. But also I can see what I actually look like — overcoming the huge disconnect between my mind and body (the dysmorphia is real), as well as being a plus-size person in front of the camera. It’s interesting to challenge myself this way. I’m pretty good at writing, and I’ve always been good at moving my body (I’ve got a black belt in karate for Pete’s sake), but looking at myself and being in front of a camera is a completely different hurdle.

But I kind of like it.

I kind of feel good about this, flub and thunder thighs and all. I’m never going to be a size two. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t celebrate my body for all the gifts it’s given me. I’m cute. I’m pudgy. I sit down and look okay doing it!

The thing I’ve gleaned from this more than anything else is just keeping trying things that scare you. I was terrified of posting these pictures to my instagram, but it all worked out in the end.

Try something terrifying. Try something that makes you a little apprehensive. It’ll work out, I promise.

If you’re going through hell, keep going…

It’s odd that just last week I was worried about submitting to screenplay competitions. That was the main thing and a real source of almost stress.

I say ‘almost,’ because my father had a health scare last Saturday; he went to the hospital. He’s fine now, but I thought I knew what stress really before it happened. I had some tough college years and experiences but it was nothing compared to this. It was surreal too in a post-Covid19 context; how do you experience a family member in the hospital when you can’t go in and see them in the hospital? Again, he’s fine now, and that’s also a source of stress because the doctors cannot tell us what happened. I know nothing about the world of medicine but how many possible causes are there for a person’s lungs and heart to fill with fluid?

I’ve been less than productive so far this week because of what happened. The face of a parent’s mortality can do that I guess. I’m taking it easy, hoping I can come up with my screenplay articles by the end of the week.

Life is weird and comes at you from unexpected places.

At least my dogs are cute. What a boon a ding-dong poodle is.

Competition conniption.

I’m trying to decide if I want to tweak and submit one of my pilots to competitions again. There’s a few that are due on the 31st, and the pilot did okay last year (AFF Second Rounder good! Yippie!), so it’s not a completely impossible option. Hell, it might be a good shot even. I’m almost optimistic. Almost

I just don’t want to get my hopes up. That messed me up last year. Even when I got the email saying I was a second-rounder, I felt bad about it. Good, but not good enough. I’m older and wiser this year, but I know if I submit to anything there will still be that small flicker in me that says “This is it! This is your chance.” When it isn’t “it,” it ain’t great.

This industry can be a real kick in the pants sometimes. Just a real wallop of angst.

And I feel kind of duplicitous because I tell my clients and anyone reading this blog that a good screenplay can go a long way. But I’ve had a few good screenplays under my belt, (like actually good, I’m not just being arrogant), but they haven’t made it very far.

I’ll figure this all out, but I also don’t want to be dishonest about how draining this career choice can be. Everyone’s writing screenplays, which means competition is fierce. And I’m probably the least competitive person on the planet. If nothing else, getting into screenwriting has been an exercise in not just rolling over onto my back and letting the world mow over me.

I’ll do it. The submission fee isn’t that pricey, and every little bit of exposure matters in this industry.

Wish me luck, and tough skin.

The Best Financial Resources for Poor Writers!

Financial resources for writers heading

God’s honest truth? Writing is hard work. Harder still is writing to make money. Establishing yourself in your niche is no cakewalk. Promoting yourself, especially as an introvert, is nightmarish. Having every family member ask, “Remind me why you decided not to go to law school again?” is a root canal with no novocaine. I’m struggling with all these things. Some days feel like just putting one foot in front of the other. Something more lucrative would mean I wouldn’t have to write a whole article about the financial resources I use!

If you’re like me, however, writing is it. It’s what I do and I truly love it.

But loving it doesn’t necessarily make it any more lucrative. Here are a few solutions and financial resources I’ve come across that help me manage and make money, both as a writer and as a plain old Jane. Plus a few additional self-care resources at the end that might make you days a little easier.

{This article contains affiliate and referral links; I make a little money if you use the links to sign up or purchase at no cost to you}

Financial Resources for Poor Writers!

Upwork

Upwork Logo. Financial resources #1

A real boon for the freelancer. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’ve had some great experiences with this site. I don’t use it often (though I’m looking into doing it more in these pandemic times). Chances are you have a sellable skill that will translate into something someone on Upwork is looking for. Can you speak two languages? Boom, translator! Do you know how to do some basic coding? Boom, coder! Can you write blog posts on a variety of subjects? Boom, freelance blogger!

Sometimes a few bucks can go a long way and Upwork is a great way to earn a few bucks for sure. Some people even do it as a full-time job and make full-time money. As far as financial resources go, this is a great place to start! Be smart about it and you’ll have some supplemental income in no time.

Digit (referral link)

Digit Logo. Financial Resources #2

Well gosh, now what are you going to do with all that money you made on Upwork? As a multi-dollar-aire you have to put it somewhere, right?

This little app really saves the bacon. You connect your bank account info and they put aside a few cents to a few dollars each day depending on your preferences. (Or not, it’s up to you. For example, I manually save to Digit once a month when I have a bit of extra cash. I’m currently foregoing the auto-save because I’m dead broke!) After a time, those little bits of change add up and before you know it, you’ve got a tiny bit of savings for a rainy day. Digit also offers services like overdraft protection and savings bonuses! It’s delightful! Plus, once a week they send me a cute little text showing me how my financials are doing which helps make sure there’s nothing squirrelly going on.

Gremlin’s Five Year Plan

I was recently inspired by The Huntswoman (amazing blog! can’t recommend enough!) who posted on their instagram story about how to really dig deep and come up with a five year plan. There’s nitty-gritty detail work and going through everything step by step to try and reasonably come up with a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be in five years.

I know where I want to be in five years. The dream is to write for a Pixar project.

That’s a big ask. I’d probably be happy with a real writing job, but Brianne (the Huntswoman) said to imagine your ideal life.

So far here is what I’ve come up with;

  • I live on my own, either in New York (a pipe dream) or LA (a more reasonable place for my general career choice). A two bedroom apartment with exposed brick and interesting built ins.
  • I have a dog. Probably a poodle or poodle-mix because I’ve grown up with them and they’re so fluffy and sweet.
  • I’ve sold screenplays, I have an agent who gets me, I’m working in the industry and am making a name for myself enough so that Pixar might notice.
  • I may be blogging professionally; at least making some supplemental income from blogging and selling an eBook or something.
  • I’m in a relationship that is fulfilling. This is not as important to me, but it’d be nice. Frankly I’m more invested in having my own dog and place first.
  • My family is taken care of; my brothers are able to support themselves, my parents are retired/semi-retired and living comfortably. I don’t know what steps I have to take personally for this to happen, but is the ideal.
  • Maybe I’m a little thinner, but mostly I’m wearing better clothes.

How I get there is the hard work; I’m slowly chipping away at planning and implementing. It’s hard to break down five years into month by month steps. But for the first time in a while, I’m feeling hopeful.

Wish me luck!