Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What just happened here?

As we have established, it is nothing unusual to have periods where I write more, and where I write less, but this was kind of a long spell. It's not the longest I have ever gone without blogging, as the records show that a gap between January and September 2007, but since then the longest absence had been three months, until now, and just when I had been so on track! But really, all that happened was life. Life happened hard.

When we left off, I was settling into my new job, and finding out that it was not enough money, but having high hopes for the screenplay that I was working on, because someone with actual experience was interested in it.

Remember, I was working with a partner to adapt a book. My writing partner is a professional author. People have bought her books. The author of the book we were working on was in her writing group, and the producer was someone she knew, so the project would not have existed without her at all. Our writing styles are very different, but I know that I learned more that way. However, she was not always great at communication.

Initially she was forwarding messages from the producer with his feedback, and what he wanted, some of which I thought was questionable, but I was trying and then suddenly she sent me an update script where he was credited as a writer and if it was good that would have been one thing, but I hated what they had done with it. It had become really ugly, and I know you can't always follow a book one hundred percent, and we had not been trying to do so, but at least come up with something good! I really hated it.

Anyway, I had thought it would at least result in a paycheck, because he was all set to make a film. He had purchased the rights to one story that was set in New Mexico, but the script was not working out. We were working on a story set in New Mexico which we quickly finished, for him, and that seemed really perfect, but I guess he needed to find financiers for a filming budget. New Mexico had some good incentives set up, so it seemed probable, but I guess it didn't work out. I had soured so much on the project that I almost didn't care. Actually, I think this was probably really good experience for Hollywood, except when you are a professional and this happens, you at least get some money out of the deal.

That would have been nice, because I really was not making enough. When I first found myself unemployed, I did some math and figured out how much I would need to scrape by. When I got hired I was making a little more than that, but after one year unemployed and one year underemployed, I had a bit of a debt hole built up. So here I was working, with a really good team and great health care and yet I was still always running short and stressed out over it. I decided to try refinancing, though I was not sure if I would be an attractive prospect for it. This led to my next major source of stress.

I decided to work with my credit union, because getting the original mortgage through them had gone fine, and I was a loyal customer. Well, I don't know that shopping around would have helped, but it was a whole different process the second time around.

It is probably partly due to that whole worldwide financial collapse thing, and maybe partly due to the hits my own credit rating took. All I know is that my loan officer was cold and unresponsive, and she kept asking for money. They needed $250 to lock in the rate, $400 for a deposit and the new appraisal, and then the amount the entire loan would be shy for paying off my credit cards, which was done by the title company mailing out checks, even though I could have paid them off online instantly if they had deposited those funds into my account. I guess they did not trust me. Therefore, when I noticed one small credit line had dropped out of the agreement, I did not tell them because I did not want a demand for another check to pay off that also.

The frustrating thing was that with the delay waiting for the mail everything was in process but I had late payments and was getting calls, including on the original mortgage, through the same credit union. The stupid thing was amounts fluctuate anyway, so once all the checks arrived I still owed a small payment to one card, and had credits on two others. It is done now, but it was grueling while it lasted, and I have a lot of bad feelings towards my credit union now, but with a new 30 year mortgage, breaking away is not likely to happen soon. Honestly, I think they are becoming too much like a bank. If I do ever start getting writing income, I think I will start a new account at First Tech, and ease into the transition that way.

With my job, I hit the first round of overtime, which was welcome in some ways for the extra money, but then just as I was getting used to it, it dried up, and I entered this period where I was constantly having to learn new tasks just as I started feeling comfortable with the old ones. This was good in one way, because I learned a lot and I was certainly constantly stimulated, but it came at a time when I was exhausted and felt like there was too much change anyway. My sisters and I also changed the ward we are attending. This is nothing like changing religions, but it is change, and we had things we wanted to get done first where for a while there was a rush of self-imposed obligations, and there were some emotions involved.

This may seem like a lot of stuff, and it was, but the big undercurrent running through everything was that my mother could no longer avoid knee surgery, and that became an ordeal all in itself, with many appointments, and questions and fears. I knew it would be stress, but I had no idea the emotional toll the surgery would take, nor how much lost sleep it would mean, nor how much of an emotional toll the lost sleep would take.

Anyway, on top of the exhaustion, and stress about work, money, family, and aging, there were also health concerns and at least one round of depression (I can't decide if it was multiple rounds or one that ebbed and flowed). But things are much better now.

I have not been writing much, except for the occasional fevered journal entry, and I am itching to write again. Right now I want to focus on blogging. After I have gotten everything out, I should be ready to get back to screenwriting, but I have too much angst built up right now. Plus, I need to get into the habit of daily writing again, and the time management that makes it possible. Having a goal to write daily seems a little crazy, in that I am working some overtime again and I am feeling a need to focus on good nutrition, exercise, and rest to keep me functional. I mean, I don't know why I think I can manage all of those things at once. Maybe I will need to learn to be concise in my blogging. That would be a trip.

Still, I feel like it's important, and probably it will help me prioritize and use my time better. After all, if I can get all of my issues to date worked out, stand in better stead for my eventual career goals, and get to wear I can do a good job maintaining my health even during times of great responsibility and stress, that should stand me in good stead when Mom gets the other knee done.