Save the Egg Roll

Chinese leftovers is king.

I love ordering out, they always give you more than you can eat, thus leaving plenty for the following day’s lunch. In the take out order, you get your main dish, your rice and an egg roll.

(There’s nothing like doing rewrites with a big plate of Chinese and an egg roll in front of you)

I always save the egg roll for the following day. This is very important, and it goes to show you how I live my life and how you should start living your life as well.

It’s about waiting. The egg roll is great. Even though I want to eat it as soon as I see it, I don’t. I let it sit in the fridge, waiting for me to eat it tomorrow.

I know, it’s just an egg roll and how can this possibly reflect life…?

PATIENCE. We want what we want, right now. Not later. RIGHT NOW. This is why we spend money right away; this is why we get frustrated and why three years olds throw tantrums — they don’t understand the idea of waiting for good things to happen.

And this is why saving the egg roll is important for writing screenplays. It’s about patience. For the past two years I’ve spent my days working on my scripts — writing everyday. It’s a struggle. Sometimes I just want to scream. Everyday it’s another goal. And everyday, well most of the days, I receive no instant gratification. So it would be easy to put it all down and walk away. Forget about it!

But I know, I’m laying the bricks, building my platform, becoming a better writer, so one day I can eat that egg roll — and I will be successful.

It’s not going to happen tomorrow. Not next week. It’ll be years. I’m prepared for that. But this is why you need to keep going. You can’t stop or give up. Now if it were as easy as grabbing an egg roll out of the fridge to be successful, everyone would be doing it. The analogy is the egg roll is there. You just have to earn it, if you want to eat it…you need to put it away and wait. Go do your homework. Go strive. You’ll know when it’s time to eat.

I just realized this is my second posting that has to do with Chinese food. Strange.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

I (don’t) envy those who have “lazy days”.

Browsing social networks, I often come across posts like this:

“Day off work, putting in a good show and being lazy, all day!”

“Lazy day, with wine!”

“It’s raining outside, so I’m not going to do shit, but sit my lazy ass on this computer and share my recent gaming achievements” — okay, I exaggerated that one.

I don’t know why these people, work their asses off, go to school, pay rent, raise kids, strive for all these things, to sit around and do NOTHING — when they finally have free time, they want to be lazy?

Why would you ever want to do that?

Hey, I love taking 2 hours off and drinking a beer in front of a good movie. But, even when I’m drinking that beer, watching that movie, I’m still thinking about all the things that I need to get done. All the writing I could be doing. And how the movie I’m watching could influence that.

Take that free time and progress in life where you haven’t…

Hey, we all work hard. Every now and then we need to sit back and relax. But it appears too many people are doing it way too often.

I sound so preachy, I know. But when it comes down to it, everyone wants something out of life.  Let’s face it, they want A LOT out of life. We expect so much. But often we get very little. You want something, you have to work for it.

So you hate your day job, but always wanted to (insert your dreams here) and possibly make a living out of it. Well then why in the hell are you taking a day off to sit on your ass and watch Vampire Diaries? What you do on those days off can change your life.

Take advantage of your day off. Get some things done. You’ll feel better. You’ll make progress and thus you’ll take one step closer to your dreams — being happy.

I suppose if being lazy makes you happy, then do it. But don’t brag about it.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

Take advantage of your emotions and write something Good.

You’re stressed. You’re tired. Confused and disgruntled. You maybe upset about something, maybe a loss or a big change.

Your body is reacting emotionally. Take advantage of these times and pour it all out, into your writing.

The pain will show on your page. The passion will shape the scene and words will flow.

Writing always helps curve my anxiety. Writing makes me feel in control — where in reality, I’m not. It’s not going to fix your problems, but perhaps writing will help you deal with your issues.

Before, when I was stressed, writing was the last thing I wanted to do. Let’s face it; it’s a job that few take the time to do. But as I practiced more and more, I began to see writing as a therapy session.

I suppose this is why adolescents journal their feelings.

I do journal, but I keep it to a minimal. Instead, I pour my emotions into my characters and my scenes. I try to instill those very feelings I’m dealing with, into the paper. I don’t always succeed. But I always feel better.

And remember it could always be worse…

Often the scripts we write are nearly absurd. Character’s issues are always worse than ours. For example…TAKEN… My problems are nowhere close to Liam Neeson’s. His daughter was kidnapped! Poor guy. Thank god he had all that prior training…

Horrible movie by the way.

So when I hit the keyboard and realize life could be so much worse, the challenges I face in reality become manageable.

Suddenly, your life doesn’t seem so bad. And after you leave your computer, you’ll have a little more confidence.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

Warming up, before a long writing day

I like to schedule a 30-minute time slot to warm up before writing.

On further reading, this appears to be the practice of many writers and I would highly recommend it.

But I still have yet to find that one warm-up I prefer. And let me be clear, I don’t necessarily always WRITE to warm-up.
At one point, I was going for a jog. Doing sit ups and push ups. My mission is to get focused. Clear my mind and ease into the project ahead.

Finding my favorite warm-up proves to be difficult. I’ve experienced them all:

Exercise. I ran a mile and half every morning. With sits-up and push-ups. But it got cold and I found myself crashing around mid-afternoon.

Free writing. Using Penzu — I journal my thoughts. Sometimes I have trouble getting them out. I use this more on my off days.

Grammar practice. I had a lesson-a-day grammar book — this helped tremendously and I ended up doing every day for a full year.

Luminosity — this cost some money. Using their regimented brain exercises, it really helped me with my math. But, it often wore me out. And eventually I dreaded doing it.

I have experimented with them all. Some mornings, I just sit there and drink my tea, read my horoscope and skim the headlines. This helps.

I also seek out blogs and articles that can inspire the muse for the day.

The important thing is to write. And no matter what warm-up I did, I always ended up writing.

If you have a special way of warming up, please share.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

Succesful writers have one thing in common. And it’s so obvious.

There’s one thing that ALL successful writers do. And they do it a lot.

THEY WRITE.

I know this is an obvious point. But too many times I come across people who claim to be writers, that don’t actually write.

Writers write. That is all.

And then again, I come across too many talented “writers” who don’t write enough. Or at all.

If you want to be a writer, you actually have to write. From what I’ve read and heard, you have to write everyday. Or it’s recommended I should say.

I have developed a habit to do so. I sit at my desk, I make the time and I write.

There is a yearning in all for us for greatness — and by greatness I mean happiness. And by happiness I mean fulfillment of one’s desires. If you’re a writer, or a want to be writer, then make sure you write. I’m guessing there is a lot of you “writers” out there today who know they don’t write enough. They don’t have the time. Or they don’t make the time. They tell themselves everyday or every week — how they will write more. Or write at all…

Before I wrote everyday, I wrote when I felt like it. When my heart desired, I sat down and wrote. What happened was that I only wrote, two or MAYBE three times a week. There were weeks where I didn’t write at all.

Saying, acting and yearning is not enough. I chose this to be my path of desire. In order to get there, in order to make money doing what I love to do, I understand I will have to take and make the time to do that exact thing!

It all seems obvious, I know. But I’m sure there are a lot of writers who know, they don’t write as much as they should.

I hope you write today. I hope you write tomorrow as well. And then so on for the next fifty years of your long writing careers.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH

Lincoln to Sherman: Nothing Risked – Nothing Gained

After his tyrannical march to the sea, the capturing and burning of Savannah, Sherman sent a letter to Lincoln, giving him what he called a “Christmas gift”. This was the ultimate gift, as the Civil War would meet its finale some months later, when the Confederate Army would surrender to the Union forces in early April.

Lincoln was reluctant on Sherman’s burning march to the sea. But on his “thank you” letter back to Sherman, Lincoln wrote and noted that he remembered “Nothing Risked – Nothing Gained”.

This idea: If you don’t risk, you will gain nothing — goes a long way. It’s been said in various ways through out history in philosophy and beyond. And is the basis for any avid gambler.

We must take chances. We must put ourselves out there. We must risk our dignity and ego to gain something in return.

When Sherman marched through Georgia and burned everything in sight – perhaps he risked his reputation. He risked losing the war. Lee was pinned to the North. On the other side of the country, another confederate army was awaiting Sherman’s next move. Sherman was forced to make a decision to not engage either of these armies, but instead, he captured Atlanta and marched onto Savannah, where he evacuated civilians, burned crops, infrastructure and left behind complete wreckage; the south’s capacity of warfare was broken. It was nothing short of complete brutality.

We come across these obstacles in everyday life. Whether it has to do with our careers or our relationships. We must take risks if we want to gain — easier said than done. We face the uncertainly of failure and humiliation. We have to ask ourselves, is it worth it?

The risk of losing can weigh heavy on the mind. We often choose the path of certainty. The path that is easy.

Today, we see so many talented people choose a career path that will just get them by. One that offers confidence of money and a limited struggle. They wrap themselves in a blanket of this security. As humans, we often yearn for more. More satisfaction and greatness, yet we often do very little about it. We often dream and speak of this yearning of greatness and satisfaction. We talk to our peers about what are plans are. We speak in hindsight and in hypothetical situations. But yet we seldom take the actions to make these things come true.

This is where the risk factor seems to come into play. Is it worth it?

Now this is where the lines fade. Each person has a different definition of what makes him or her happy? What they want or wanted to do? So when I speak in terms of “settling” you can choose whether or not to agree or not agree that you have settled.

You want to make music? You want to go to the NFL? You really like art, but the employment outlook isn’t good for a sculptor?

Yet you don’t think you got it — you think you’ll be poor. I’ll struggle and risk everything… you could have.

But stand back and look at what you’re risking. When you settle for the easy route, one that doesn’t challenge you, one that doesn’t test your will and ability to strive, you risk your happiness.

This route may offer happiness in the eyes of others, but often you’ll find yourself dreaming bigger and imagining the hypothetical day of change. If that’s what you’re willing to risk, then make music. Put yourself out there. Exit that bubble of self-security and try too something that REALLY satisfies you.

What happened to being an astronaut? Or a firefighter? There was a point in our life, where suddenly those BIG dreams faded and “reality” kicked in. Maybe it was when we started to understand money and how much it matters. How much we need it. Or maybe it was when we discovered sex. It changed how we dressed and acted. If I want to have sex, I need a job, I need money. Therefore being a musician or a sculptor or an astronaut is a tough route — I’ll have to risk things; I’ll have to take this security blanket off; I’ll have to work and strive and suffer and struggle — is it worth it?

We need to go back to when we were eleven. We need to again look forward to future and leave the cynical attitudes at the door. Find what makes you happy. DO what you enjoy and fight for that. This is life and there is only one at bat. There is no second chance. There is no other “time around” when you’ll be able to try something different.

If you dream of fame, money, glory or you just do prefer living in a cabin somewhere in the woods, in peace and harmony — then why aren’t you doing that?

Why wouldn’t you risk it? If you don’t risk it, you will gain nothing and therefore you will living with regret and continue to dream BIG, without ever reaching those dreams.

Sherman risked everything he had. He set his goals and he literally burned everything in his pathway to reach those goals. He had to win the war. It was his mission. His obligation. His risk…

He followed through.

It can start now. It can start tomorrow. It can start next Monday. You owe it to yourself.

-REH

If you’re going to start something: Start Monday

I think this is a great practice.

Even know, I’m all about saving time and getting the most out of my day, starting Monday is the best idea when you take on a new goal.

Whenever I finish a new project. Or perhaps promise myself to start to working out; A new healthy diet. Or something that I always mean to do and never do…I tell myself  “I’ll start Monday”.

Now this only works if it’s not Monday. Then it becomes “I’ll start next Monday”

Allow yourself time to prepare for your new goal. Plan it. And tell yourself I’m going to do it. If you give yourself a couple of days, it gives you no reason to not do what you want to do — It doesn’t allow for any excuses.

For instance: my girlfriend wants to start eating only vegetarian.

Today she said, “Well maybe tomorrow I’ll start”. I said “NONSENSE! Start Monday.”

Monday is a great day of reckoning. It’s the beginning of the week (not technically). It’s the beginning of a workweek. It’s new. So much lies ahead.  You got the whole week ahead of you… to accomplish your goal.

When I finish a script on a Wednesday or Thursday…I never jump back into my next project the following day. I find other things to write. I still make progress but I tell myself: “On Monday… My next project will begin.”

It’s a mental thing. I jot it down in my schedule and there ya go. No excuses. No procrastinating. The three or four days I have to “think” about starting something new, is the procrastinating. It’s an excuse to procrastinate and think about the upcoming goal.

Always be writing. Everyday.

-REH