Almost every year, I spend the first few days (or weeks) of January planning. This year was no exception, as I broke down my goals and resolutions into monthly and weekly lists, researched acting classes and planned out my next two novels. As often happens, by the end of the month, half of it had changed. Here’s how I spent my first month of 2020.
With the trilogy plotted in detail, my current task is to write it. It was hard to get started because another story was begging to be written, but I gave myself a few days to plot out that series, then hunkered down on the Owens Chronicles. I try to write consistently, at least a chapter every day, which sometimes means lunch breaks, waiting for people to be ready, etc. Hopefully I can establish writing habits where I write all morning, then have the afternoon to deal with stuff like admin tasks, marketing and editing. This would leave my evenings free to spend time with the people I love, train, and write things for fun, or at least out of sequence from what I am currently working on.
Speaking of marketing, I recently realized that I know nearly nothing about marketing my books and getting people to buy them. Since then, I have watched a bunch of webinars, completed a 5 day Challenge for AMS ads and signed up for another one. My current plan is to keep learning until I have released the third book in my Owens Chronicles series, at which point I will put all the knowledge to use. I will start with all of the fabulous free resources I saved onto my computer with the promise of getting to them later. Then I’ll sign up for the big, hard-core courses that are way out of my budget, but necessary if I am going to treat my writing career as a business rather than a hobby.
I was happy to spend half of January in Montreal, working the Auto Show. It gave me the opportunity to hang out with my family and make some money. While there, my mom and I went to see Little Women, and got our hair cut beforehand. Mine ended up a lot shorter than I was hoping, but I am getting used to it. Plus, it’ll hopefully be a more useful donation with its bonus inches.
At the end of the month, we went bridesmaid dress shopping for my brother’s wedding. It was a lovely way to spend the day and get to know everyone. I am pretty sure I found my dress, but they didn’t have my size, so I will go and try it on at a different store before ordering it in the proper color.
This is where the biggest developments happened. My plan was to prepare a package in January, send it out and get an amazing agent in Toronto, and one in Montreal, and work like crazy this year. I am recently a full ACTRA member, so I thought this would be the push to get me into all the rooms. My first issue came when I realized that chopping off 12 inches of hair meant I would need to redo my headshots before getting an agent rather than after aligning our game plans. This got me thinking about how little I have actually been doing for my acting career since my last agent and I parted ways. At the time, I was going to concentrate on publishing Shards of Glass, then update my materials and find a new agent. A combination of excuses, some valid and others just excuses, led to me doing mostly nothing. I did get my two final ACTRA credits and work with some awesome people, but I wasn’t really working on my craft.
Fast forward to last week, when I tried to figure out if I should do it right and re-commit to my acting career, or put all that time and energy into my writing career. I asked for advice and got different responses. Someone asked me if writing gave me the creative fulfillment I needed, and to be honest, it does. I still hope to turn my books into movies and play the roles I wrote for myself, but I’m not sure one would necessarily lead to the other.
I could be incredibly happy spending the rest of my life writing, with some background days to keep the set magic alive. But I know that every day on set, I would dream of one day being an actor rather than an extra, and wish I hadn’t stopped trying.
I don’t like setting deadlines to give up on things, but I also don’t want to spread myself so thin that I’m not doing anything properly. I am going to do one last send out, with updated materials, the awesome demo reel Johnny made for me and some extensive research, then see what happens. If someone I connect with signs me, I will put in the work and invest myself fully to the acting career. If not, I will take it as a sign to invest my energy into the writing. I won’t completely give up, because I don’t think I’ll ever completely rule it out, but I’ll officially consider it as a hobby rather than a career.
I got an HST number!!! It was actually super easy, I just need to make sure I use it all the time. Work-wise, I did some brand ambassador work, gave out free coffee at the Montreal Auto Show, and have some fittings and sensitivity training for really cool projects that are coming up.
Get-together is now completely done, so Johnny and I made our concrete film festival plan and started submitting it to festivals. This is equal parts terrifying and exciting. I can’t wait to share it with everyone, but I will be absolutely crushed if we don’t get accepted anywhere.
My February goals are to finish writing Cursed and start writing the third installment, as well as to do a few agent sendouts.
“Letting go of what you love is difficult, but holding on to something that isn’t meant for you is impossible.”