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Joy today: I received a TopShelf Magazine 2020 Book Award Nomination

46503287_10104647880412206_2671404984494456832_oI don’t know what lovely person made my day on Saturday, but they sure did. I found out that my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was nominated for a TopShelf Magazine 2020 Book Award. I received an email with the happy news last night and I’d really like to thank the person who nominated me. If it was you, please let me know! For now, I’m just tossing copious amounts of gratitude and joy into the universe.

Joy today: Writing feedback is a gift

I wrote my first TV pilot script this month—an adaptation of my young adult novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. I’ve entered it in a few screenwriting competitions. One of those allowed the option to pay a bit more to get personalized feedback on the script. I jumped at the chance to get feedback from experts in the industry. Feedback is such a gift and so important, especially since I’m just learning how to write for this medium.

I just got the feedback and it’s 3 full pages of insights and suggestions on how to make the script stronger, specifically for TV. Immensely helpful! It scored 7.6/10 which I think is pretty good for my first TV script. I did a little dance, tossed up some sincere wishes of gratitude, and am now getting back to editing and refining. 

Joy today: My TV pilot script for Emerson Page

46503287_10104647880412206_2671404984494456832_oYesterday I clicked submit on my TV pilot script for my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. Thanks to the encouragement of my friend and mentor, John Bucher, I sent it off to see if Emerson might have a TV life. I loved the structure and editing process of writing for TV, and am excited about all the possibilities for stories told in this medium, especially for streamers like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Here’s to dreams, written and made.  

Joy today: Adapting my Emerson Page novel for television

46718934_10104658469711166_9080861620359397376_oInspired by the masterful adaptation of Good Omens on Amazon Prime (have your watched yet?!), the Masterclass with Shonda Rhimes, and encouraging tweets from my friend and mentor, John Bucher, I’m adapting my Emerson Page novel into a TV script. Given its visual nature and dialogue, I’m already halfway there! Thanks to so many of you who have loved Emerson’s story and supported my writing. It means a lot to me and this adaptation is for you! I’m about 30 pages into the 50 page pilot. I’ll finish all the editing this week and then submit it to a the screenwriting competition in L.A. that John Bucher told me about. SMH that this ideas was here all along. I never thought about it for TV until seeing Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens work. He made me realize books for TV can work!

Joy today: Talking to 4th graders about writing

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Me talking with 4th graders about writing

I had a blast chatting with a class of 4th graders via Skype yesterday about my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, about all things writing. It’s a gift to be an author and encourage young people to tell their stories. Also, teachers inspire me and are the very best humans. Amy Artl is so passionate about helping her students understand the writing and revising process. I’m glad that I could encourage them by explaining that all of the things they have to manage in their writing—finding inspiration, the struggle of editing, and dealing with conflict—are all things that every writer manages, especially me!

Yesterday was their last day of school, and Amy promised them they could finish the book before today was over. They cheered and my heart melted! Want me to chat with your school about writing via Skype or Google Hangout? I’d love to. Get in touch with me and let’s set it up!

Joy today: 2 pages a day gets a book written

Writers, are you ever overwhelmed by the enormity of your work. Hi, that’s my natural state of being all the time. I love being a writer. I love writing. And sometimes I feel the weight of my responsibility to do justice to a story to the point that I feel paralyzed.

My friend, Laurie, posted about this advice she got years ago from a writing group: write two pages every day. That’s it. Just two small pages. You don’t need whole days to write. You need tiny, focused windows on a consistent basis. One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. In a year you’ve got a book, and a pretty big one at that.

Two pages. I can do that any day. So can you. And we will.

Joy today: How I keep writing with a 2-inch picture frame

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My 2-inch picture frame by Christa Avampato

Whenever I’m overwhelmed by my writing, I tell myself a story I learned from Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. Right now, in this one small moment, I don’t need to write the whole novel. I just need to write enough words to fill a 2-inch picture frame. That’s it. And then when I finish that, I’ll write another 2-inch picture frame. And that is enough. That’s how every book gets written: one word at a time. This little frame to the left has seen me through every case of writer’s block, every creative panic attack, every lack of inspiration. And I’m so grateful for its wisdom (and Anne’s!)

Joy today: Masterclass with writer Neil Gaiman and many more inspiring classes

As a gift to myself to spur inspiration, I signed up for Masterclass’s All-Access Pass. I’m obsessed. Masterclass is basically Netflix for online learning. Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors, teaches a class on storytelling class and it’s wonderful. I’m about half-way through and I’ve already learned so much that is immediately helping me as a writer and author.

Given my new job for a film production company, I’m so excited to take the film and TV classes with:

  • Jodie Foster
  • Mira Nair
  • Ken Burns
  • Spike Lee
  • Judd Apatow
  • Werner Herzog
  • Ron Howard
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Shonda Rhimes
  • Aaron Sorkin
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Helen Mirren
  • Natalie Portman
  • David Lynch

Other classes on my “I need to take this” list:

  • Comedy with Steve Martin
  • Writing classes with Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood, and Dan Brown
  • Cooking with Alice Waters and Thomas Keller
  • Adventure photography with Jimmy Chin
  • Conservation with Jane Goodall
  • Space exploration with Chris Hadfield
  • Tennis with Serena Williams (I don’t even play tennis, but if Serena’s going to teach it, I’m going to take it!)
  • Jazz with Herbie Hancock
  • Fashion with Diane Von Furstenberg

What I can’t believe is that for just $180, I get all of these incredible classes and more for a year. Each class also comes with a downloadable PDF workbook and there is a mini-forum and office hours where you can post your comments and ask questions. Plus there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee so there’s no risk to try it out.

And I’ve got some good news for you! When I bought my 1-year All-Access Pass, they offered me a link to share with others to give you $30 off an All-Access Pass. So you can get all of this for $150 for a year. Just follow this link, and check it out for yourself: https://share.masterclass.com/x/5d9sN3

Joy today: I accepted a new job…at the movies

I’m absolutely THRILLED to share that I’ve been offered & accepted a new job as a Development Manager at a TV & film production company in New York City to develop, produce, and write. I’m over-the-moon excited about this new adventure and dream job. I’m literally pinching myself to make sure this is really happening! A year ago I never would have believed this was even a possibility. It’s been a huge lesson for me that if we live our passions and share them, our lives can change in ways we can barely imagine.

Joy today: Sometimes you have to start over with your writing

This morning I realized that I’m going to have to start over. Or rather, my second novel has to be tossed and I have to begin again. I’ve been trying to patch together the pieces for months. Maybe some of them will prove useful down the line. Maybe some of them can be recycled and reused and reformed. But now what I need to do is begin again, all over again. For a split second, the weight of despair was heavy. Months of work just evaporated. And then very quickly, my heart moved from mourning to excitement. A fresh start, a new beginning created by a new ending. This is the creative process. It takes time. It takes patience. You have to be willing to go back to the beginning, reset, and try again. That’s where I am today: at the edge of the cliff, and now I leap.

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