Habits are more practical than just stating resolutions or goals. The big picture is nice to have but we have to work at one part at a time. Build the foundation where the fortress will be built upon.
TURN LEFT! TURN LEFT, GODDAMMIT! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
First habit: write every day with a daily quota. I will start this year with a minimum of 800 words. My end goal in this section is to develop a daily quota of 2000 words. What’s important in the beginning is to build a manageable habit. I’m thinking 800 then 1000, then 1500 and ultimately, 2000 words. To help to keep this habit going, I’m keeping track of my word quota with fellow writers too. This can help to inspire each other to keep going. I believe after four to six weeks of consistent writing, this habit will stick. Creating this new habit will have priority over other new habits. More writing means I will have scripts done. More scripts done means more potential to make movies.
Second habit: read a lot. It doesn’t matter what I read as long as I do a lot of reading. From novels, textbooks, screenplays and graphic novels. I already have a habit of reading multiple books at once because this keeps me interested. I’m not going to time myself to read. Instead, I’ll always have a novel handy. If I’m waiting in line, I’ll read. If I’m on the toilet, I’ll read. If I’m on the bus, I’ll read. In a perfect world, I would love to read a feature script every day. Realistically, I’ll try to read one script per week.
Third habit: daily meditation. This will help me realign my mind and body. I will use the transcendental timing method of setting a timer for 22 minutes (2 minutes of settling in and 20 minutes for breathing). However, the actual practice will be influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh’s branch of breathing exercises.
Fourth habit: exercise. I was able to hit the treadmill at the college gym after classes during September and October. However, it takes out 2 hours of my schedule to only get 20 minutes of interval training. Instead, I will try to incorporate 20 burpees everyday and perhaps go for walks more.
Fifth habit: watching one movie a day or two movies per week. If my schedule permits, I will go for a daily dose of movies. If not, two per week will have to do. This way I can reflect on these films better. I put this habit last because I already watch a lot of movies.
Final thoughts. My first goal of the year is to complete the two scripts I’m working on. I hope to have both completed before April so I can do Script Frenzy. If successful, I will have three completed first drafts before May. From this pile, I will sculpt it into a working script for a first feature.
My personal goal of completing my first movie is to make it by the age 27 (I’m turning 24 in July). However, I am having good feelings for this new year. Perhaps it’s the new ways of making movies or revelations that I have been reading from blogs, twitter links, and books. Whatever it is, I’m feeling great about myself because I have a sense of direction again. Once I have my feet planted on firm ground in the world of making movies, I think my life will be heading toward a Woody Allen-esque lifestyle. That is, living life from movie to movie at an alarming rate. I don’t know what else I can be great for. Yes, I have other hobbies and interest but the core essence of myself is comfortably here.
Scott Meyers, from his incredible site Go Into The Story, has “a simple formula to do three things — Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Write Pages. — you need to do to expand and deepen your understanding of the screenwriting craft.” He says you only have to remember four numbers: 1, 2, 7, 14. Following this formula for a year, you will have read 52 screenplays, watched 104 movies and written 2 feature-length screenplays. To find out more, read his post: http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2012/01/1-2-7-14.html. I think this is an excellent formula that doesn’t take up too much of your time and great for the budding screenwriter.
Anyway, I hope you strive for forming new habits to reach your goals too. If you have any tips to share on keeping on top of habits or creating good time management skills, feel free to leave a comment. I have lots to learn ;)