Hey, I'm Still Alive

It's been a while, hasn't it? By my count it's been over a month since I last decided I had something to say here. The other day my mom asked if I was still writing, so I figured it might be time to catch the rest of you up.

I am, in fact, still writing. Every day for the last 125 days or so, if I'm reading my tracking app properly. It's not as good as the streak I broke a while back, but it's getting back up there.

Writing lately though has been an uphill climb. It's honestly been a challenge to make any progress on the project I'm playing with (which we'll keep a secret for now because why not?) and some days it seems to go only a sentence at a time. It's hard to come on a blog and say writing is going great when something like that is going on.

I also don't want to come around and complain about how hard things are because really, it's a pretty common thing. And really, I've written about it before, probably plenty of times.

So all is still well here. I hope things are good there. Now back to work, all of us. There's plenty to do.

Moments

I don't think we always know the most important moments as they're happening to us. I think it takes five or twenty or even a lifetime of years to look back and say "wow, that really defined me."

I had a moment, this morning, that felt important right away, just as it was happening.

I have a dog, a big dog at that. She's loud and she looks like she could hurt you if she wanted, but on the other side of that, she's also terrified of storms. And I mean terrified. I'm talking jump on top of your head just to get away from whatever it is that's making those noises and flashes.

Which doesn't work, of course. And she's big, so it's even funnier.

This morning, though, we had quite the thunder and lightning show. Even the rain coming down sounded angry. I went upstairs to take a shower and she was all over me. She had been sleeping, or at least trying to, by my wife at the foot of the bed, but she was anxious.

I called her up on the bed laid down, sandwiching her between me and Mikayla. She was still whimpering, but we both held her tight. Eventually, she calmed down enough for me to feel like it would be okay to get up to shower.

I don't know why the moment felt significant then or why it still does now. Maybe, in this case, that's what I'll get to see in five or twenty or a lifetime of years from now.

Dusk and Summer

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to see a few of my favorite bands from high school live. It was the Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour, something that has a name like an event I'd never in my life attend, but Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional were bands I couldn't stop listening to in younger years.

The night went much later than I expected and I paid for it the next day, but I had a thought in the middle of the show that I thought worth sharing.

The night started with The Early November and Saosin, both bands I'd heard of but didn't know much about. Mikayla really loves an Early November song and she thrilled when they played it. Neither of us knew anything by Saosin. Both bands had a ton of talent, even if they didn't get me on my feet.

After Saosin and a short break, the opening song to Lion King began to play and that's how Taking Back Sunday came out, diving right into my favorite song by them, "Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)". I've gotta admit, it thrilled me a bit that they sounded good in concert. Maybe a little cynical, but I expected them to sound much better in the studio than live. Luckily, that wasn't the case. They, to use a too-easy phrase, rocked.

Then Dashboard Confessional came on the stage. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't lean over to my wife and wish out loud to her that Chris Carrabba would just come out on stage with his acoustic guitar and perform the whole set that way, but this was full band. It was full band, electric guitars, flashing lights and videos on the display. The videos were frantic montages of cities and roads, sometimes ticking clocks or just flashes of light.

It was thrilling.

Many of these were songs I was used to hearing unplugged, stripped down to the bare essentials of their music. These were the fully built versions and they soared on the night air.

In the middle of the set, when I knew my throat would hurt the next day, I realized something I'd forgotten somewhere along the path to getting older.

Some emotions need to be sung at the top of your lungs. There's no other way to feel them than fully and embarrassingly. Anything else would be dishonest.

From Outta Nowhere

Sometimes, dare I say it, good things happen.

I've written about a hundred and fifty thousand times now (rough estimate) about how writing is hard and I can't write and blah blah blah. There were times where I'd try to come back to write a post, realize that was all I had to say, so I'd turn around and give up. 

Now, I have something to report. It's slight, but it's something.

I have written a few script pages. The first in I can't even remember how long. At least, it's been a while since I wrote any script pages I've been happy with. These are more of a "get to know the characters and how they talk/act" than anything that might end up in a final draft, but they're good. I'm happy with them.

Not being so hard on myself makes it easier to sit down every day and get to it. 

I still wake up tired and I still often have other things on my mind, but it's nice to remember that I can actually do this.

Set a Goal, Any Goal

Recently, my friend Josh asked if we could set goals for ourselves in the morning and check in towards the evening to say if we've accomplished them.

We both picked writing goals.

So far, it's been immensely useful. I'm realistic in the morning. I know that I'm not going to knock out 5 pages. I tell him I want to write down a certain beat of the story or just what the next plot point will be. If I get that, I've accomplished what I meant to.

Accomplishing what you mean to, even if it's a small meant to, is rewarding.

What's in front of you right now that seems overwhelming? What seems like you won't get it done? How can you break it down into small goals?

When you do that, and you reward yourself with a good feeling with each small accomplishment, you get one step closer to actually getting something done.