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Write every day: Free meditations for troubled times

A huge thank you to the team behind the Calm app who made a set of their wonderful meditations available for free during these difficult times. Highly recommend them! I appreciate their kindness and compassion for our global community. Listen for free here:
https://www.calm.com/blog/take-a-deep-breath

Write every day: How can I help you?

Teachers, students, parents, what can I do to help? I have excess capacity and resources when many do not. If you need someone to chat online with your students, please let me know! Things I can talk about:

-Writing and storytelling
-Books
-Secret history
-Cool animals and plants that inspired products we use every day (biomimicry)
-Product design and development
-Paper collage art
-College prep including evaluating schools, college essays
-Business
-Theater, film, and TV writing and production
-Need something else? Just ask and I’ll learn it!

And hey, if they just need to talk to someone about anything that’s making them anxious or nervous, I’m here.❤

Write every day: Foster a dog and save a life in these crazy times

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Angelina Ballerina, a dog in need of a foster home through Hearts&Bones Rescue

Are you home a lot more now in New York City or Dallas because of coronavirus? You can do so much good—you can save a life by fostering a dog with @heartsandbonesrescue. A dog reduces stress & increases joy! And I can personally vouch for this wonderful organization & their amazing all-volunteer staff.

Sometimes the fosters are just for a night or two. Sometimes they are for a few weeks. Sometimes they’re a foster fail & find their forever home w/ their foster. Have questions? Get in touch and learn more below!❤🐶

From @heartsandbonesrescue: FOSTERS NEEDED! Are you working from home the next few weeks? Looking for something to take your mind off all this craziness? Well it’s the perfect time to foster! With so many dogs in need, including new rescue Angelina Ballerina, we’re continuing to save as many lives as we can. Our next group of pups will arrive in NYC on Saturday 3/21! We’ve cancelled our adoption events for the month and will be sending all dogs straight to foster homes – so we need more amazing foster parents on board to help than usual. And don’t worry, we’ll still be arranging private adoption meetings for approved adopters over the next couple of weeks and expect many of our pups to find forever homes 🥰

Approved fosters and adopters can email foster@heartsandbonesrescue.com to sign up and newbies can fill out our easy application at the link in our bio. And if you’re looking to find your forever dog, head to our website to check out all the new cuties!
Stay healthy everyone and let’s keep saving dogs in need together 🖤

Write every day: Creating joy and managing anxiety during coronavirus

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Central Park by Christa Avampato

Thankfully spring has not been cancelled.

Now that many of us are spending more time on our own and at home, there’s a lot we can do to keep up our spirits and manage our anxiety:

-Take a walk outside
-Foster a shelter dog (you’re home anyway!)
-Offer to watch a friend’s child if they need to go to work or get out to run errands
-Donate to a nonprofit
-Support your open local businesses
-Help a neighbor who can’t get outside
-Thank everyone who still has to be at work – from grocery store clerks to first responders to public transit works to parks crews
-Write
-Create art and music
-Read that book and watch that movie that’s been waiting for us
-Call or video chat with a friend or family member
-Work on a home improvement project
-Learn something new
-Exercise
-Cook and bake; try a new recipe
-Rest, relax, and meditate
-Spend some time thinking about what really matters to you and how you might bring some dreams to life

Times like this can be difficult on many levels for many people. There’s still joy to be had and to make for ourselves and for others, even during a pandemic.

What are you doing for yourself & others right now that makes you happy? I’d love to hear about it.

Write every day: Here’s 5 minutes of joy for you

Here’s 5 minutes of pure joy for you today. I happy-cried through this and it filled my heart. We all have something to give, especially during difficult times. Musicians, artists, writers – we have the role of lifting up others with our creativity. We’re needed now more than ever.❤️

Write every day: I can help you set up virtual events

If your event is cancelled because of #coronavirus and you’re looking for ways to deliver a high-quality digital experience, I’d love to help you brainstorm, set it up, and run it. Ping me and let’s chat.

There’s so much anxiety, heartache, and difficulty right now. As a producer myself, I really feel for my producer friends and colleagues. The upside is we have tremendous technologies at our fingertips and they can be powerful tools for connection and community when used well. I’d love to help you figure out how to run a version of your cancelled event that’s inspiring and keeps your guests safe.

 

Write every day: The upside of coronavirus for writers is time

In the worst situations, I acknowledge how difficult things are and also try to find some kind of value. In New York City (where I live), coronavirus is a serious issue. We all take public transit and it’s a crowded place. A virus that has community spread is not an issue to be taken lightly here. My inbox is filling up with cancelled events, happenings that I was really looking forward to in the coming weeks and month. I understand—it’s for our safety and I know event organizers don’t take these decisions lightly. As a producer, I feel their pain.

To keep myself motivated, I’m reminding myself that coronavirus, for better or worse, is giving me a lot of dedicated time at home and that means I have a lot of time to write, read, and research. I set some very ambitious writing goals for myself this year to complete a number of large projects. I’m committed to making good use of this time. I’m reading a lot, writing a lot, and doing everything I can to keep up the spirits of others during this time.

Has the coronavirus impacted your daily life, work, and writing? How are you doing? Let me know in the comments.

Write every day: How to know where to begin a huge story

For a few months, I’ve been wrestling with an idea for a TV pilot I want to write. The trouble is that it’s a period piece (which are notoriously expensive because you often have to recreate a world that no longer exists) and the story is mammoth. I’ve been making lists of ideas, notes, and sources, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. And then last night, a break through.

I was reading a book about the heroine I want to showcase, and there is a key moment, a turning point where a choice she makes sets in motion a set of tumultuous events. So I’m going to start right at that key moment. I can see it so clearly now—how everything unfolds from there and changes the course of her life forever. The moment is small but the implications are huge.

With mammoth stories, it’s often those tiny moments, that one decision that tunnels into an entirely new world, that should be the beginning.

Write every day: Write your dreams into existence

There’s something to be said for envisioning the life and career we want, and then authentically reaching out to people we admire with whom we want to collaborate. We can create our own kismet. We can make our own luck. What a world!

Write every day: Feedback on my first feature-length screenplay

I’m over-the-moon with the feedback on my first feature screenplay. In 2 competitions, it scored in the top 5% for concept, top 20% for originality, & got high marks in plot, characterization, voice, & for its ability to be sold to producers. One reviewer compared it in concept to the film Hidden Figures and another to the film Mona Lisa Smile, both of which I love. More editing ahead to further improve it to producers, production houses, agents, and managers before I live pitch it in Chicago in April.

Thanks to everyone who’s been cheering me on in this process and special thanks to John Bucher, whose advice on this project (before I even really had any kind of concept at all!) is worth its weight in gold. ❤️🎥

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A friend sent me this beautiful card of encouragement about women of fire. Ironically, I had just read this story by one of our favorite artists, @brianandreas, a few nights before as I was scrolling through inspirational quotes, a meditative pastime in these times of quarantine. Over a decade ago, my apartment building caught fire and I almost got trapped inside. That fire literally and figuratively forged me the way a blacksmith forges iron. I developed intense PTSD as a result, and went into weekly therapy with a wizard of a therapist. I sat with him every week for 3+ years and looked at every dark corner of my mind and past. It was a brutal, painful initiation. I had to do that heavy work on myself. I had no choice. I ran out of places to hide. I ran out of coping mechanisms. The fire burned them all away. All that was left was me. Not what I do or who my friends are or where I went to school or any of my accomplishments. Just the iron core of who I am. It was messy, dirty work, and I'm so grateful for it. I didn't do it because I wanted to. I did it because I had to. I'd never wish it on anyone; I also wouldn't change it for myself. I've been into the darkness of my own mind, heart, and past. I lived there with a powerful flashlight in-hand, shining it into every hidden place. There, I found my own light. There isn't anything I don't know about myself. I know exactly what I'm made of, and how I'm put together. It's powerful knowledge. It made me courageous. That courage informs my biomimicry research around plastic. That courage also informs my reaction to coronavirus now. NYC is in a dire state, and the circumstances of our essential workers is horrific. Just as I came through my fire a far better person than I was before, we have the chance to come out of this dark time a better community that helps many more people, especially our healthcare workers on the frontlines. To do that, we have to do the hard work of transformation. Together, we have to be committed to finally fix and heal and reinvent the many broken systems that have been broken for decades. We have to be committed to make all this difficulty mean something. I’m committed.

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