Week 11 Goal: Screenwriting

One of the many reasons why I started blogging daily was to force me to actually sit down and write something every day. Sometimes just sitting down and knocking out a quick post is enough to get the fingers moving and the brain working.

Sometimes, though, for me at least, it’s not always enough. Sometimes I need a bigger push to put pen to paper and get some words down.

I decided this year on another personal challenge for myself. I made it a goal to enter writing competitions. As many as I can handle. Regardless of focus or genre. I was going to make myself work outside my comfort zone, with deadlines and rules and such.

And this was how I discovered NYC Midnight. They run a series of various writing challenges throughout the year. Just the kind of thing I was looking for.

That brings us to this week’s goal. I’ve signed up for NYC Midnight’s Screenwriting Challenge, which starts on Friday. The tricky part is I have never written a screenplay. I have never read a screenplay. I have a vague understanding of how they are structured, but not enough to try and actually write one myself. But come Friday, that’s exactly what I need to start doing.

So that means that, this week, I’ll be learning about the craft of screenwriting. And I’ll write about how that’s going here. Because this seems to be keeping me honest as I go. So if you’ve been curious as to how screenwriting works, stay tuned, because I am too! If all goes well, I’ll have learned enough over the next few days to write up an acceptable screenplay for the competition.

Cornerstones Part II

I cannot count how many times I have set myself up for failure. Many times it’s rooted in my firm devotion to procrastination. So often I’ve found myself in a situation that could have been made infinitely easier if only I’d done something different earlier. In these moments of clarity, a single thought echoes through the distance of time.

“Past Me is a dick.”

I’m guessing I’m not alone here. We likely all have these moments. But today, I was treated to a nice little surprise. Past Me had actually done something useful! I know, nobody is more surprised than I am.

I started the day fully prepared to draft up and post some cornerstone pages on my WordPress site, Due By Friday.

For some backstory: this is a site I’ve self-hosted for a few years, and have done very little with. I had big plans for it to be a place where I could document projects I’d work on every week. It ended up being a place where I’d log in once a year or so and post an apology for not keeping up with it, and promising to do better that year. I know you know how this goes.

Anyways, I looked at the site and discovered, to my surprise more than anyone’s, that I’d actually set up some cornerstones already. And not only were they there, but they’d been there since New Year’s Eve, 2015! Thinking back to 2015, I am certain I had no idea what a “cornerstone page” was. Yet here they were, already waiting for me to recognize their awesomeness.

I’d planned on setting up three pages. An About page, a Contact page, and a /now page. What I found was an About page, a Contact page, and a Projects page.

So two out of three done already! Good job, Past Me!

I reviewed the About and Contact pages, and decided they’re good to go as they are for now. The Projects page was written mostly to serve as an archive of past completed projects. Sadly, this page was devoid of any such completions. But that’s okay. It’s not like I haven’t done things. I just never took the time to write about them and keep the site up to date.

I decided to keep the Projects page to serve as an archive, and I set up a /now page to show what projects are currently being worked on. I updated the Projects page to provide a pointer for where one could find current projects, and that was that.

For me, the best part was that I was able to do all this, post new pages and update older pages, all within MarsEdit. Which is great, because the WordPress admin interface makes me bleed from my eyeballs a bit.

This is actually one of the big reasons why I never did much with this old WordPress site. The admin panel is such a friction point that it would negate any forward momentum I may have had any time I actually wanted to write something. Between lost text from a bad browser refresh to being lost in settings hell because I wanted to tweak a thing, I rarely found any kind of flow when working within the WordPress admin page.

Once again, this is where I’m finding MarsEdit to be a lifesaver for me. There’s just enough and not a bit more. I can write, I can tag and categorize, and I can post with one click. For me, that’s the sweet spot. I know everyone has their favorite tool, and good on you to everyone who has found their own, whatever it may be. But if you’re still looking for one, give MarsEdit a try.

So yeah, that’s this week’s goal essentially done! Tomorrow I’ll post a bunch of links I found useful throughout the week while working on this. And Sunday will be another weekly roundup.

No clue what next week will bring. I’ll think about it over the weekend. But I’m open to suggestions, and now you all have a way to send them. Just check out my Contact page 🙂

Laying Down the Cornerstones

I’ll keep this one brief. Spent the day drafting up and ultimately posting the three cornerstone pages that I set out to do. Now I have an About page, a Contact page, and a /now page.

And I’m really happy with it! They’re just a start, but it was incredibly easy to get it done. I’ve been using Daniel Jalkut’s MarsEdit throughout this project, and imagine my delight when I discovered that you can draft and publish pages from MarsEdit just as easily as you can blog posts! Such an excellent piece of software that does one specific thing better than anything else out there.

One fun fact: I’m actually working on this personal website project across two different sites currently. I’ve got a Micro.blog-hosted site as well as a self-hosted WordPress site. I’ve been cross-posting to both sites (also easy thanks to MarsEdit) just to see how I like the outcome on each platform. I don’t know if I’ll ultimately choose one over the other, or if I’ll use them both but differently, or what. Right now I’m still just getting my sea legs.

Today I worked on setting up these three pages only on the Micro.blog instance. And it really was so easy. The only glitch I came across in the whole process was when I was putting together a test page, just to see how it’d work.

I drafted and published the test page through MarsEdit, and it showed up as expected on the Micro.blog site. Then I deleted the page through MarsEdit. But when I went back to my M.b page, I noticed that the Test page never went away. So I went into my admin portal, only to discover that the Test page wasn’t there. It was now some strange ephemeral ghost, only showing itself on the published site but unable to be altered.

I scratched my head over it all day. Ultimately, I decided to see if I could draft and publish another identical Test page at the same URL via MarsEdit. And it worked. Then I made a point to delete the page within the M.b admin portal. And that did the trick. So for anyone out there who may have or may in the future run into the same problem, here’s your fix. Learn from me!

Tomorrow I’ll work on getting the same pages up on the WordPress site. And of course I’ll let you all know how it goes. Feel free in the meantime to check out the new pages and let me know what you think. Because you can now. Because I’ve made a Contact page. 🙂