Consumer/Creator

Lately I’ve been struggling to find a balance as both a consumer and a creator. This is a balance that I’ve been struggling with a lot, especially in recent years, but seems especially stark of a contrast since I’ve recently committed to making more.

I watch tons of TV, subscribe to nearly 100 YouTube channels, and go to the occasional movie; read novels, non-fiction, and comics; take part in events like VidCon and Comic Con, but don’t feel like I’m making nearly enough. I’ve been told at panels and events that creators need to be consumers too. If I’m going to make something I need to know what’s out there. While that’s true, I think for me I need to start focusing on the opposite.

Instead of watching, I need to write, shoot, and edit video to put up on YouTube. I need to be writing scripts that are never going to see the light of day in the hopes that one day I’ll come up with something I’m proud enough to share. I need to practice and do, not just in response to all the things I consume, but from my own thoughts and ideas outside of the mainstays of culture.

In a lot of ways I have no idea how to do this. I’ve spent so long trying to determine what I think of the world around me that to shift into my own thought process is an astounding transition. But absolutely necessary. I’m starting to journal more. I’m starting to write here. I’m starting with my YouTube channel. I’m not disillusioned to think this will be easy, but starting is half the battle.

Future-Tripping

Future-Tripping (verb) : Daydreaming about what the future will look like when one achieves all personal and professional goals (i.e. getting the dream job, finding the perfect spouse, taking the best vacation ever). See also: waste of time.

This term is one that a friend of mine introduced to me about a year ago. At the time I was dreaming about what it was like to be done with school. What it would be like to be able to find a job that will set me up for a career I want. Always thinking “Someday” and getting lost in “One day”.

It’s not that future-tripping isn’t fun. It’s nice to imagine a day when I am employed. When I can support myself and finally feel comfortable in this city of angels. But it’s not helpful; it’s not productive.

What is productive is making small steps toward the final goal. Helpful is taking those dreams and finding a way to make them a reality. And making dreams come true? That can only be done with your feet on the ground and your mind in the game, not off in the clouds.

I’m a dreamer, yes. But I also want to be a do-er. I want to reach for my goals and meet them head-on. From now on, whenever I find myself daydreaming, future-tripping, I want to pull myself out and determine what of my daydreams can be turned into reality. I want to write down my dreams to turn them into goals. One day instead of future-tripping, I’ll be reality-tripping.

Family of Hope

It has just occurred to me recently that as I plan on living here in Los Angeles for the long term, this is probably the place where I will settle down and start a family. At this point I don’t even know if that’s in the cards for me, but I certainly hope so. It’s amazing to me that this city that I am still getting familiar with could eventually be a place that I call home.

I have a million little hopes and dreams for settling down. Things like the kind of house I want to live in and the hope that immediate and extended families will get along. That we will be happy, that we will be safe. That we fight fair and that we are spontaneous and whimsical.

I hope that whoever I marry will be whimsical and adventure-some with me. I hope they will be able to treat everyone with respect even if they disagree. I hope they will be independent, because I can’t imagine putting my dreams on hold for someone else and I would never ask anyone to do the same for me. I hope he is a good man.

I know that even with the best of intentions that people are human. I know that I’ll mess up. People annoy each other and it’s only a matter of time before I’ll complicate things in my head and I’ll make some snap decision that should have been discussed before and everything will be a mess for a little while. I hope that whoever I wind up with will find a way to forgive me. I hope I will find a way to forgive him when he screws up too.

And so, a little prayer for my future spouse, my future family:

Dear Lord,
I am so excited to meet my future. I don’t know what it looks like yet, but you have everything planned out perfectly. Help me to find them. Help us to lean on each other when things are hard. Guide us though our lives so that when we meet we will be ready for each other. Help us build each other up and make each other better. To make each other more like you. Amen.

I Want to Write…

Lately I keep trying to come up with topics to write about here, but stopping myself from even beginning. How can I write about this new phase of life when I so clearly don’t know the rules yet?

I want to write about my internships about how the executives and partners might know my name. About how actors I recognize will wander in while I’m assembling a chair in the bullpen and I see internet stars on my lunch break.

I want to write about riding a scooter in LA. About how I’ve learned to lane split while the long line of cars is waiting for the light to turn green. How I can park ANYWHERE and it only takes $3 to fill up my gas tank.

I want to write about going to swanky parties where fancy cocktails are a part of the gig and I can squint and see the back of Mel Gibson’s head. About getting a little bit tipsy and stopping for tacos at 1am on the way home.

I want to write about whirlwind trips to San Francisco. About Japantown kareokee and bad turkey burgers and not having to look up directions because I remember exactly where the bus lines lead. About waking up in my own bed to fancy french toast and surprising old youth group leaders with my presence.

I want to write about how buying a Kindle has probably tripled the amount of reading I’ve been doing. About how I am devouring a steady diet of YA books finished in single days.

I want to write about the experience of writing a NaNoWriMo novel amist all of this chaos.

But… (and there is always a but)

…what is the statute of limitations on writing about virtual strangers who are in the realm of well know? How do I write about the day to day lives of people who have an IMDb page? I don’t need or want to name names, but what if I write about someone and they then find it and don’t like what I say about them?

…I don’t know that three months of riding is enough experience to write about and even as I make plans to never get a car I can’t help but wonder how that will sustain though the years. Then I think about traffic and start an internal hate-rant.

…what is the policy on publishing things on the internet on famous people? I’m not sure. I don’t want to offend. I mean no harm.

…what is there to say about San Francisco that I haven’t already expressed? How do I convey both a trip with friends and a visit to see family in one sentiment when there were two different halves to it.

…this dependence is a shade embarrassing for a 22-year-old. Why am I up until 2am reading books meant for 13-year-olds?

…I’m not even sure I’m writing a NaNo novel anymore I’m so far behind.

This new life has new constrictions, a lot of which I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m not sure where to draw the lines and what those lines are made up of. When I started blogging there was no fear of backlash, no worry of my words coming back to haunt me, but now… what if someone finds this and uses it against me? What defense do I have?

I guess the question becomes: How do I move forward with this blog and share my experiences without accidentally rubbing someone the wrong way?  Perhaps the question I should be asking is: Who do I value more, my blog readers who I want to be honest with or the people I meet in real life who judge me based on that vulnerability?

Hitting Hard

Not even two weeks in and this semester is hitting me hard. I knew it would. I knew weeks ago that it would, but I’m somehow still surprised. I am working all day and have somewhere to be almost every night this week. Every night in fact, if I’d like.

I’m excited for this semester, and for the opportunities it is bringing, but I can also see that I’m going to have to give myself a bit of a break. I’m going to need to be kind to myself when school and interning come before other things. Which I’m thinking will be often. Or at least… more often than I’d like.

Looking at my schedule and the responsibilities I have. The ones I’ve committed to for others, and the ones I’m committing to for myself. I’m deciding what takes precedence and what I’ll allow to fall away. It breaks my heart, but this blog is one of the ones that I’m going to have to allow to fall.

Lately I’ve been falling behind; scheduling posts to day they’re going live, skipping days, and half-assing my social media output. And I hate that I’m doing that. Even though I don’t think I’ve ever made any outright statements saying what my posting schedule is, I’ve been consistently posting four times a week for a year straight. Unfortunately, this space can no longer be my top priority. I enjoy blogging and I love the feedback I get (even though it’s small), but I have to allow myself to not worry about it anymore.

This doesn’t mean I won’t still be posting. It will just be more haphazard. I’m going to stop beating myself up over missed days. I’m going to work on balancing my school and intern schedule with other commitments I’ve made to friends and to my church community. Because, while I value my online connections, I value my in-person connections more.

If you’d like to stay connected, please feel free to reach out on Twitter or friend me on Facebook, I don’t think I know how to quit those. For now though, I’m relaxing my blog posting, and focusing on living.

A Letter to My Future Self

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This time last year I was in such a different place that I can barely even picture myself. I had a normal, college schedule. I was working for Frequency TV and starting to plan out the semester’s worth of web series episodes. I was filling out applications for study abroad. I was spending long nights in with television and long Sundays with friends from church. I suppose some things don’t change.

Since my life right now would be hardly recognizable by my former self, I want to preserve where I’m at for my future self to remember better. I suppose this is a letter to myself in a way. A letter to my future self so that I can remember where I was and look back to see how far I’ve come a year from now. Perhaps more.

Dear Future Self,

This week in the first week of school. School is a loose interpretation of what’s started this week after labor day, the week after Terra Nova (was it as good the second time?). This week you started two internships in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The Hollywood office feels official and real. The Beverly Hills office feels glamorous and exotic simply because of it’s location. This is your life. You are really working, really living, and really existing in part in this industry. And I hope that’s still true. Plans for these two internships include working hard and finishing my final semester strong.

Meanwhile, you’ve also been starting to meet with your old class – Drama writing, SiLA – weekly. Not that you’ve got anything to show for yourself yet, but it’s a work in process. Writing hasn’t been coming easily lately, but you’re hoping that a more solid schedule with school will help that along. Or it will hinder it, it’s hard to know right yet.

You’ve been blogging fairly consistently for the past year. It’s been a great system without really putting much of a system in place at all. July and August were harder months, but you seem to be back for September…. for the most part.

Every day is a choice to either write or not write. Unfortunately, lately the choice has been not. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just a choice that you seem to be making unconsciously. Focus. I believe that it can happen and that means that you much believe too. Pray about it. Never stop praying.

Speaking of prayer, this month you are set to join the church you’ve been going to in LA. You’ve been going to MOSAIC since Easter, and from then to now you’ve joined two community groups (one neighborhood, one college), gone on two retreats (SHE retreat and Terra Nova), and have been attending the early evening service and the mid-week service. They’ve just begun a weekly Wednesday gathering.

The community there is fantastic. Lean on them when you’re uncertain. Grow into those relationships. I hope you have already, but always lean in. Lean into your MOSAIC community and the old Columbia friends in whatever way possible. Go play Ultimate Frisbee. Because you haven’t been to a yoga class since you left San Francisco and it’s starting to show. Because what you really need is a good session at the climbing gym, but no one seems interested. Because living alone can be great, but also isolating.

In fact, I don’t even know that you live alone still. You do now. With a tiny studio apartment and no air conditioning. It’s a love/hate thing. Perhaps you are settled now into a house with four roommates. An apartment with one. Or still the same, ever the same. Whatever it is, right now you are living alone and for the most part that is a good thing. All the mess is yours and there’s no one to tell you to clean it.

You have been using a scooter to get around. It’s a wonderful thing. The time that’s lost in speed (not much) is gained back by squeezing between cars while they wait at a stop light. Your scooter seems a bit rickety sometimes, but it gets the job done. Once or twice a week you park it at the pump closest to the convenience store, pay two dollars in cash, and fill the entire tank. You don’t think that will ever get old.

I hope you are still living, working, and thriving in Los Angeles.  It wasn’t quite what you had been imagining, but it seems that God’s imagination is better than yours.  Go where he leads you, always say in reply, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

Here is what you were, and here’s to whatever you’ve become.

Much love, and God Bless,
Your Former Self

This Will Be: September 2013

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September is my favorite month. Probably because it’s my birthday month. And TV premiere month. And Emmy month. And the beginning of school month. And the beginning of jacket weather (well, in normal climates). Gah, I just love September so much.

Things that will happen this month include a few things that were teed up in August that will come full circle in September. In September I will become a member of the church I’ve been going to. I will be starting my final semester in college, despite being hundreds of miles away from the college I’ll be attending. And of course, this month, I’ll be going on a camping trip that I am in the process of planning.

I constantly seem to be forgetting my word for the year, fearless. I realize that what I need to do is set an even more specific goal each month within the larger goal for the year. September will be to set fearlessness. That sounds a little bit odd, but looking at what I want for this month my goals seem to mostly be to set more goals. Is that silly? Maybe.

But it’s also really timely for me. The beginning of the school year always seemed like a more logical time for me to set goals then at the beginning of the calendar year. Coupled with my birthday, setting goals is the perfect goal for me this month. A month of goal setting and routine making.

Some routine setting goals include washing the dishes, making my bed, and doing quiet time every day. I’d like to go to the library once a week. Coincidentally, DVDs can be checked out for only a week, so if I get one DVD every time I’ll be all set to come in every week. I will also have a lot of scheduling to do once I get my syllabus’ for my classes (syllabi?).

I am also going to spend some time out of the next two weeks coming up with goals for being 22. It seems that the new year is the time to set specific goals for the year, and my birthday is a time to set intentions for the year. I’ll use this time as a way to check in with myself on my calendar year goals as well as ponder what I’ll be doing with myself a year from now.

What are your plans for September?  Any big goals you’re got in mind for the month?

This Has Been: August 2013

I can’t remember the last time I was so productive during the month of August. Really. It’s been a long time. Usually August is just a throwaway month, but this year it’s been fantastic. And hot, but like I said the other day, I’m dealing with it. A few favorites from this month:

The beginning of the apartment tour
I got and lost a kitten
I talked about how second screening is awesome
A summary of summer
My TV list for the summer

Now, to tackle my crazy long to do list for August. I’m glad to say that I did pretty much all get everything done, and then some. Besides the planned things, I also got a fantastic new haircut, hosted my sister and one of my best friends, and started to keep much better track of my finances then I ever have before.

The big two, the ones that really needed doing were getting myself a mode of transportation and an internship, both of which I now have. I got a scooter mid-way through the month, and as of Monday this week it’s registered in my name. I’m going to hold off on information about my internship, but I do have one and will be starting next week when the school semester officially begins. I also have a lead on a second, but I’m still waiting to see how that pans out.

I got started on all the things I wanted to this month, some of them wont fully pan out until next month. For example, the writers group I started is full of people who went out of town for the last week or so. We met a few times, but we’ll kick off once everyone gets back with a writer’s lock-in. I set up a facebook group for a camping trip and in talking to people who want to go we decided to wait until it’s a bit cooler in September. I also attended all the sessions to become a member of the church I’ve been attending, but wont be confirmed until next month.

I’m going to call both networking and yoga studio finding a draw. I went to a few networking events, but not a ton. I mostly networked and grew friendships that already exist. I kept my eyes peeled for yoga studios and found a few that I wanted to try, but didn’t get the chance to actually try them. Not a complete failure, but not quite what I had in mind.

Overall I’m really happy with how things went this month, and I’m even more excited to get started on next month, but that’s a post I’ll leave till next week.

How was your August?  Anything exciting happen?

This Will Be: July 2013

Looking at my goals this month it seems that July will be very career and future focused. Which is exciting, but also a little intimidating. I hope that all this industry focus isn’t too overwhelming before I even begin. Though I suppose my anxieties can be saved for another time.

I started a new block of classes July 1, so I’m already on day two of the semester. This round is called Transmedia Development. When I’ve explained this to people I’ve mostly described transmedia as cross-platform development (developing stories that stretch over TV, social media, video games, ect). This month I’m going to learn how accurate that description is (or is not).

School in this city and industry means networking. I’ll be doing a lot of that this month, and I’m excited to see where it takes me. I’m unashamedly hoping that it gives me the opportunity to intern with a production company or media group I like. That’s goal number next, find a fall internship.

Of course, there will be a few non-school/industry things planned this month too. I’ve got the basics of my apartment down, but I would like to spend some time to make this new space more of a home. I’d also like to host some people for dinner or a movie night. I’m not sure what yet, but I love having people over and playing hostess.

After last month, I think it’s best I keep any vlog-making goals the same as last time. Since I will be focusing more on school, I want to be sure that the majority of my efforts are on my school work. So two videos. We’ll see how it goes.

Other than that? I will be headed to Comic Con for at least a day this month through my school and I’m wildly excited. I’m trying to determine what to cos-play as. Poison Ivy? Mrs. Reynolds from Firefly? (I’d have to cut my hair) I’d like to use my natural hair color, but if a character is red-headed, they’re usually all the way red, not halfsies like me. I know, first world problems.

There’s also a possibility that my mom and or sister will come down to LA to hang out with me for a weekend. I haven’t seen the sister since Christmas, so it would be awesome to see her, and fun to show off my new place. As complicated as my feelings are on this city, I’m starting to have favorite places that I’m simply itching to share with people.

What are your goals for the month?  Any wild plans for this craziness?

New Approach

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My word lately seems to be focus. I’m so worked up in the questions of what do I want to focus on, and how I want to focus my time. And my biggest focus this month has been this blog and this space.  Figuring out in more solid terms what I want from it and what purpose it serves.

I started this blog without a plan. In a lot of ways I’m still not sure if I have a plan. This month one of my goals was to come up with one. It quickly became clear that my plan needed to start with more focus on what I wanted the blog to be for myself and for my readers. With a little help* I set off refining my “About” page, which has redefined how I go about creating content for my blog.

I want this blog to be a place where I can share my story, but also a place where I can encourage others to share their story. That said, while I will continue to post my Writing About Writing Mondays and my monthly goals and reviews, I want to turn more of my focus outwards for other reoccurring topics.

One of these topics will be cooking and how to get around the kitchen. I’ll be posting monthly under the title “And the Kitchen Sink” about cooking and baking, tools and recipes. I have a handful of ideas to start out, and I’d love to hear your ideas of what kitchen/cooking related things you’re curious about. I thinking working in the kitchen teaches us so much and I want to share that passion in a way that is accessible to others.

For now I’ll be sticking to four days a week of posting, Monday through Thursday at 10am PST. The only set formulas are Writing About Writing on Monday and media-related on Wednesday, after that I’ll set reoccurring topics (Kitchen Sink, What I’m Reading, and monthly reviews) and fill in the blanks with events, ideas, and other goings on. I’ve created pages for each of the reoccurring topics I’ll be covering, which you can find above the header on my site (while you’re there check out the updated television page).

While I’m not yet at the level of blogging that I’m striving for, I feel like I’m starting to get the response I was looking for when I started blogging 2 years ago. With 1 year on WordPress and 10 months of consistent (4 days a week) posting, I’m so excited to see this space grow into what I have envisioned, and I have my handful of readers to thank for this growth.

I know a small handful of people who follow my blog, but I can see from my stats that there are more of you, and not everyone is coming by mistake. If I don’t know you personally and you’ve become a follower I’m so grateful. I’m glad for each and every comment, and reference that I can see in the numbers. I’ll welcome old hats and newcomers alike to leave a comment letting me know how you found my blog and I can’t wait to see the ways that this space will grow in the coming months and years.

*I used Alexandra Fragen’s “Great I AM worksheet” to help figure out what I wanted out of my about page.  She’s pretty awesome and is a great resource for people who are trying to define themselves and their work.