Making Things Better

Wow! At last count, my photo is still in the lead with 135 votes so far! Voting ends Sunday night at 11:59pm, so if you haven’t already, please go vote! Mine is the CN Tower reflection on page 8, and you can find it by scrolling to the bottom of the photos on the first page, then clicking on page 8 in the list. You’ll see my photo at least halfway down the page, if not closer to the bottom. And I think it’s still in the middle of the row, though people keep adding more pictures at the front, which shifts things around every once in awhile. Anyway – please vote for mine! I’d love to win that GoPro, among other things!

In related news, a co-worker asked what the first place prize was, and when I showed him, he started mocking the GoPro, because it’s not the latest model, or something. He didn’t even look at the rest. I was, like, “Well, it’s more up-to-date than the none I have now!”

Not that I actually said that. I thought it, though. At least he’d already voted for my picture by then.

Moving forward with planning a radio play reading for next week, as well as the beginning stages of a proposal for applying to set a new Guinness World Record. My bear should be visit-able any time now, my new legit credit card should arrive any day now, I started my day with a spoonful of buckwheat honey and honey butter (okay, not a spoon-FULL, but a taste), I have to find time to get my thoughts on Carving The Light together before I meet with the Writer in Residence next weekend, and follow-up on a few more projects that I’ve started but haven’t really moved on for quite some time. I’ve realized that I could probably do well at a couple of things if I really focus on them, but I keep spreading myself too thin in trying to do bits of too many things. So if I can force myself to really do it, I will hopefully trim down my list of projects and things to try and just starting focusing much more deliberately on the ones with which I think I can have the most success.

Part of my difficulty is that I like trying things. I like learning and experimenting and I love accomplishing something, even when it’s something small. From breaking a Guinness World Record with an event I’ll always be proud of, to a sweet little display of Star Wars (mostly Luke Skywalker-themed) stuff in my apartment, to raising wildflowers from seed for the first time…I find I’m always trying to make my world – my every day life – better. More me, if you will. More attuned to the thoughts circling through my mind.

I don’t know if I’ll be good at something until I try. Unless it’s sports or otherwise requiring athleticism and/or grace. Then I know I’m not going to succeed at all.

On another note entirely, I think I expect too much of some of my friends, and should get back to seeing my therapist regularly. Maybe that will help me be a better friend all round.

Communication and Juggling

I started making a few notes for the two writing projects I am most excited about last night before bed. It was late, of course, because I had to see how the Raptors game turned out! And I was super tired as it was, but wanted to get a couple of things down so I wouldn’t forget them once real life started back up again this morning.

Even as I made my notes, though, I could already feel myself talking myself out of trying to work on either one. The spec script for the old TV series I love was the first to back away, followed closely by the screenplay for my first novel. I could sense how much work either one would take just to do at all, let alone do well, and as tired as I was/am, I’m not sure I have the energy I’d need to bother. My mind was still asking questions and coming up with answers, but my excitement was already waning. Part of me wondered if it was really just that I was so tired, but another part of me knew the problem had more to it than that.

I’m just not good at communicating.

I have always been more of a writer than a speaker. I’m aware that, when I talk, I either can’t get my point across at all, or I take forever to get around to it. I never liked speaking as a kid, and I guess I still don’t, but now it’s more because I am just so painfully certain I am not being understood. Or I’m boring. Or I have nothing useful to say so I babble. Or I struggle to sort out what I should say versus what should be held back. I always think about it before I say it out loud, and when I then screw that up, I wonder how I managed to suck so much that I couldn’t have anticipated such suckage.

Writing has always been easier in a way, because even though I can’t write as fast as my brain processes things, I can at least go back and correct something, or read over it again to ensure it makes some kind of sense, prior to sharing it. I mean, there are reasons why this is a blog and not a vlog, you know? Still, I am also painfully aware that even all of that preparation for thought-sharing doesn’t make much difference when I can’t string together the words I need to in order for another individual to absorb and understand whatever it is I’ve written. And when I share it and get any kind of feedback, it usually lets me know that I was not successful in expressing myself with the written word, either.

I mean, there are some things – I think I do slightly better with one-on-one conversations, because when the person is right in front of me, I can gauge whether or not we are understanding one another by how the conversation goes. I can take my time, and alter my wording to say the same thing a different way. My therapist usually repeats back to me what she’s heard, but in her own words, so that we can both check to make sure we are on the same page before we move on. I don’t really expect conversations with others to go that way, of course – therapy is pretty one-sided, after all – but you can still tell if the basics are being received on both sides of the conversation.

Adding even one more person to the scenario, though, increases the chances that I won’t feel understood. It’s hard enough checking in with one person to see if we are still connecting, let alone two or more. Everyone’s focus is split that much more when more voices and minds are included, too.

Which makes trying to get something across via a blog kind of difficult, too, really, because I can’t even look a reader in the face to see if what I’m saying is being received the way I want it to be. I mean, I know it’s never exactly as I intend, because we all come from different places with different experiences under our belts. But it’s very one-sided, as well, in that you put something out there, and either get no feedback, or feedback that let’s you know your efforts didn’t work. Sometimes you spark a longer conversation, which helps, but essentially, it’s just throwing things at a wall to see what sticks, and whether it does or doesn’t, you only find out after the fact. You’ve already posted it, so if it’s misunderstood or misinterpreted, it’s already done, and can’t really be redone with any sort of effectiveness. You can go back and say, “I meant blah dee bloo” but it’s ridiculous to think you can have one-on-one written comments with everyone who read the initial post. You have to accept that putting something out into the world in writing does not in any way guarantee that everyone – or anyone – will understand what you were trying to say. It’s just not possible.

Same with writing in general. Like, I think a couple of people have read my short film script, but I haven’t requested any feedback, and for the most part, the whole thing exists in my head. I guarantee that no one who has read it can see it the way I do, because there’s much more in my head than was written down, and I don’t have the words to make that all apparent. I felt a visual medium would be a better way for me to communicate, and while it’s early yet, it may well be better, but that doesn’t make it great. It doesn’t mean I’m even capable of being an effective communicator; not to my own satisfaction, at least.

Which is also part of the problem, I’m sure. If I don’t really feel like I am being heard or understood, I get frustrated, and end up closing myself off all the more. I live inside my head, and when I occasionally try to communicate and fail, back in I go. Maybe practice makes perfect, so this blog might help, and writing might help, and talking might help. It might not, but it can’t hurt to try.

Okay, it can hurt to try, and often does hurt to try, but there’s no real point in not trying. Because as frustrating as it is when other people don’t quite get what I’m trying to say, I recognize that the issue is really just with me. The frustration is with myself, really, and I definitely can’t expect to be more effective at communicating by not communicating, so I write to be less frustrated with myself in general.

Still, I already have a lot on my plate, and I am not sure adding two more is a great idea.

Maybe one more, though. I may yet focus on the screenplay adaptation of my novel and see if I can get around to giving those characters a better story than the one they currently have. Not that anyone else needs to think it’s better, but I definitely want to. It’s still on my mind all these years later, so at some point I do need to address it.

The spec script would maybe be fun to write and post online as I do so – it could be kind of a cool exercise. No idea when I’d have the time, but you never know. I’ve never really gotten a lot of feedback while writing. It’s usually after the fact. It might be interesting to see what would happen if people were weighing in throughout the whole first draft process. It might make it feel less like it exists solely in my own head, at least. I don’t know. We’ll see.

When you’re already juggling a billion things, does one more really make much of a difference?

Too Many Side Projects, Not Enough Side

It’s difficult to get anything done when you watch as much TV as I do.  A fair point, and one I’ll readily admit to.  I like my TV friends, though, and definitely require some downtime every day.  Some days more than others, but always as much as I can, because it just never seems to be enough, no matter what.

However, such downtime also gives my brain a chance to work on things while I’m not paying  attention, and the damned thing keeps coming  up with ideas.  Sometimes even ones that seem pretty good!

So, as I sit here watching stuff from my PVR, here’s a breakdown of some of the things I’m trying to work on these days:

  • this blog.  A post a day for a year is the intent/goal, so technically this counts as multi-tasking, right?
  • cut and post clips from 2014’s Guinness World Record attempt on the special YouTube channel I set up for it – and try to keep my poor old computer working long enough to get through it
  • work on setting up more interviews and other opportunities for The Mind Reels
  • continue processing rounds for the Reelie  Awards and work on how the actual awards show will go
  • finish crafting pitch to tun an unpublished novel into a TV series – for pitching practice
  • work on more crafts to sell through my Etsy shop, and promote the shop online
  • solve puzzles and mysteries contained in my first shipment from the Mysterious Package Company (okay, is one is more for fun)
  • make notes for possible children’s picture book I thought of this morning
  • work on a time-consuming yet awesome surprise for someone who may or may not read this, so I won’t say more here
  • get help making a sweet Halloween costume for Brody
  • send GWR codes to guests so they can order copies of the official Certificate of Participation, if they wish

And, you know, chores around the apartment, spend quality time with the critters I live with, go to the zoo, keep up with appointments, transfer more stuff from my iPhone to my Android phone, and nurse this stupid head/sinus cold so that it hopefully goes away quickly.

I should get started on some of that, but I also need to keep my PVR clear for new recordings. So maybe I’ll do a bit more work later.  Hopefully, my brain won’t come up with anything else before then!