Plans for 2018

As we finish up this first week of 2018, I’ve spent some time day dreaming and planning some of the bigger things I hope to accomplish in the coming year.

At the moment, there isn’t much to do around the homestead other than making sure the chickens stay warm and their water doesn’t freeze when the temps dip below freezing. I’ve enjoyed spending copious amounts of time around the fire reading a few books and enjoying the rest.

But with the receipt of our first seed catalog for the coming year and the sun starting to fight its way back toward longer days, I can’t help but begin to think about the coming spring and all the things I hope to plant.

I’m enjoying the rest, but have already started making project lists.

And while I will always be someone who has to have something to work on, this year I’ve actually scaled back my intentions and plan to mostly maintain and enjoy the homestead as it’s currently setup rather than try to add any major infrastructure, animals, or big projects to the farm.  Instead, I’m looking forward to simply planting seeds, tending to the garden, and watching things grow.  Sure, there will be one or two things pop up that will need to be addressed, but things are now to a manageable state where we can simple enjoy the daily life on a farm without continually thinking there is more we need to build or get in place before we feel like we’ll have what we need.

At this point, we have enough.

And that’s a nice state of mind to live in. When you feel like you’ve got everything you need, all your systems are in place, and the day-to-day doesn’t feel overwhelming, I think you should take the opportunity to enjoy it. No need to continue to grab for more. No need for a bigger this or better that. Simply appreciate the simplicity that comes with contentment.

So, no major projects other than trying to finish planking the bridge and burning the last of a junk pile on the list for this year.

In terms of writing, I’ve finished the second draft of my screenplay. Now that I’ve gone through and tightened up a few structural pieces, I feel the foundation is solid. My next step is to get it into the hands of a few trusted readers for some initial feedback.

Also, I’ve kicked around the idea of taking this story and writing a novel adaptation for it. I’ve actually got a head start on this part, so I’d have some momentum at working toward a first draft.

Overall, I’d like to finish and submit the screenplay, write the novel adaptation, and possibly write one more screenplay in 2018. With a fewer number of projects on my list on the farming side, I think I’ll have time to accomplish most of my creative goals.

Anyways, that’s just some of the plans for 2018. I’m sure some things will change along the way, but I’m hoping this year will be a nice, slow-paced season where we can enjoy the farm and I can spend some extra time working on some of my creative endeavors.

Here’s to a happy and hopeful new year. Cheers.

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Fun Fact – I wrote most of my screenplay in a mini van

Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

Bet you thought I was tucked away in some idyllic cabin on the lake surrounded by pine trees and snow-topped mountains while the fireplace quietly crackled in the background as I listened to Beethoven’s 9th symphony and sipped perfectly roasted coffee, huh?

While I desperately wish that were the case, the truth is – I don’t have a lot of free time to light candles, contemplate my navel, and get my mind into “the zone” before I can put words on a page.

Ain’t…gonna…happen.

So, I steal time wherever I can and try my best to not be a slave to ceremony when it comes to writing.

And in my case, rather than banging out that first draft in a picturesque setting under ideal conditions, I had to lug my laptop with me while I took my kids to gym class. I would simply drop them off then race back out to the car, scoot the seat all the way back so that I had enough room between me and the steering wheel for my laptop, and wrote a large majority of the first draft in the driver’s seat of my mini van, under the glow of the street light while I waited for their classes to be over. One hour at a time I ate the elephant.

Until one day, I reached that final scene and wrote those coveted words – THE END

I guess the lesson here is – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Screenplay First Draft – DONE

So, it’s 12:28am and the only reason I’m posting something this late (early?) is because I just wrote “THE END” on the first draft of the screenplay I’ve been working on over the past few months.

I have to be honest, this is a big milestone for me. I’ve tried writing numerous screenplays over the years, but none of them got over the finish line. I’ve written a few novels to completion, nothing worth publishing yet, but for some reason I’ve never been able to complete a full draft of a screenplay.

Until now.

Feels good to finally reach this creative goal that has eluded me for years.

The working title is called “The Scout.” Here’s the brief elevator pitch I wrote up at the start of the project:

The Southern Province has been reduced to rubble and is now ruled by a merciless tyrant who is hell-bent on extinguishing anyone who gets in his way. Struggling to survive on the outskirts of the city, a refugee boy becomes a pawn in a rogue bounty hunter’s plot to subvert the new empire. In an adventure laced with fear and broken loyalties, Paulo is forced to trust the very one who gave him over to the brutal regime, as he races to save not only his own life, but the lives of his fellow refugees.

I’d probably revise it a bit now that I’ve through the first pass, but it’s a good summary of the main storyline.

Now, it’s time to let the manuscript sit for a week or so. Then, I’ll print it out and do my first read-through to begin doing structural edits. The good news is that I think the story is pretty sound, structurally. I don’t see a lot of major overhauling that I’ll have to do when I go back in for rewrites. I may have to add a scene here and there to explain some things a bit better or to set up a few scenes properly, but I have a feeling that the bulk of my editing will be layering in more world building and character development.

Anyways, time for some sleep!  I expect good dreams tonight after celebrating getting this one over the finish line. 🙂