2009: My Year in Review

It’s been an interesting year. While it wasn’t as tumultuous as 2008, a.k.a. The Year Everything Broke, it was still a bit of a hassle.  Which is rather normal, I suppose, because after a year where everything breaks, you have to have The Year of Putting Things Back Together.

I didn’t meet all my goals, but I’m OK with the ones I didn’t meet.

  1. Finish the first draft of Fairytale Redux. — This did not happen, and that’s OK.
  2. Adapt a novel for the screen. — I tried to make this happen and basically failed miserably.  I did, however, learn a lot in my attempt, and that certainly counts for something.
  3. Edit/re-write SoS. — I ended up rewriting about two-thirds of this before setting aside because I just wasn’t making it work like I felt it should.
  4. Rewrite M. Valentine. — I did indeed complete this, but I’m still not happy with the rewrite. It lost a lot of the screwball humor I loved about the first draft even though it gained in what can probably best be called “hanging together.”  I’ll likely revisit this AGAIN in 2010 because I love it, and some day I will break this story, damn it.
  5. Write a stage play or a comic book script for ScriptFrenzy 2009. — I was fully ready to write a stage musical for Screnzy. I had my beat sheet, my list of songs — everything.  And then, the day before, I got hit with a huge feeling of unease and the notion that I should be writing something else.  So I did.  That script is now sitting in a drawer, perhaps waiting to be revisited next year.
  6. NaNoWriMo 2009. — I managed my 50k, but the whole thing was like pulling teeth.  I started three different novels on the first day, which, to be frank, was dumb and sucked.  Instead of worrying about having something to work with at the end of the month, I eventually just used it as catharsis to write whatever I wanted.  I still like the premise, but this draft will never see the light of day.  That being said, it did help me get my screenwriting mojo back for December, and that’s a pretty wonderful side effect.
  7. Visit a place I’ve never been before. I vacationed with my family in Tampa and tagged along on my sister’s college visit to Sarasota. Not quite what I’d envisioned, again, since I’ve been to Florida plenty of times, but those two places were technically new, so I’m counting this as done.
  8. Read another 24 books.Done!
  9. Finish a themed short story collection. — This didn’t happen either, but I did write a good number of short stories (thanks in large part to #fridayflash), which was the point of the goal.
  10. Write another spec screenplay. — Done. I completed the first and second major drafts of TDPU, and I’m working on the third major draft as we speak.
  11. Film a short. — (I’m counting it as done, even though it’s not quite what I’d envisioned at the end of 2008.)

Despite being hit or miss on meeting those specific goals, I did a number of other things instead:

  • I learned the basics of horseback riding.
  • I brushed up on my French with an intermediate course.
  • I went to the symphony for the first time — specifically The Lord of the Rings Symphony.
  • I saw Spring Awakening, Wicked, a radio-style performance of Big River, two high school plays, and one high school performance of Footloose.
  • Watched 210+ films
  • Wrote 70+ blog posts (here and at Ditty Cooks) and moved to my own domain.
  • Attended a BlueCat 10-page Screenwriting Workshop.
  • Had a script (MUTE) make the first round of the British Feature Screenwriting Competition, the Quarterfinals of the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition, and the Top 15%/Top 1000 of the Nicholl Fellowship.
  • Wrote 10 short stories.

Lessons Learned:  Sometimes you just have to let things go. In screenwriting and writing in general, one of the first lessons you have to learn is how to finish a project.  In 2008, I got really good at finishing projects.  In 2009, I learned when to abandon a project (and when not to).  Sometimes something just isn’t working, no matter how hard you’re trying to force it.  If you’ve give it all you have, then it’s OK to consider perhaps setting aside and moving on to something new.  This, however, should not become a habit.  If there’s any doubt in your mind, keep going.  Carry on, brave soldier.  But don’t slog away at a project that you know isn’t working when you could be spending it on another project that will work.  This lesson doesn’t stop at work, though.  As hard as we might want to cling to things in life, sometimes it becomes toxic to do so.  You can’t always force things, be it a job, a friendship, a relationship.  In short, if something isn’t bringing you joy or satisfaction on a regular basis, then redefine the way you look at that thing.  Let go of the old expectations and accept the possibility of something new.

All in all, I can’t really complain about 2009.  It was really rough at times, but it was also really great at times.  I am ready to leave it behind, though.  Here are my goals for 2010.

  1. Read 24 books in 2010.
  2. Read 24 scripts in 2010.
  3. Finish TDPU & submit to contests.
  4. ScriptFrenzy 2010.
  5. NaNoWriMo 2010.
  6. Visit a place I’ve never been before (preferably in Europe).
  7. Write [secret project].
  8. Film [secret project].
  9. Write an adaptation.
  10. Keep up with FridayFlash/short stories.
  11. Watch 200 movies.

I’ve survived a couple of rocky years now, and I’m ready for something different.  I’m hereby declaring 2010 The Year of Awesome.  I’m ready for it, and you’re all invited.  Hats off to 2009 — it’s been real.  Let’s move on to the fantastic.

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6 thoughts on “2009: My Year in Review

  1. Sam says:

    Way to go on all of your accomplishments, Ditty! I, too would like 2010 to be the Year of Awesome! Let’s make it happen!

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