When Goal Setting Goes Wrong (Part Deux)

It’s been a while, but I’m back. Hmmm…maybe I should not use the word “BACK”.

Screenplay 001

When I last wrote to you, I was using my phone to share my feelings. I was unable to sit at my desk, due to what I’ve now discovered were two slipped/herniated/out of place discs that were applying unnecessary pressure to nerves. After a month of suffering (including one maddening day that included a trip to the ER) I awakened one morning with no pain. None. I’ve been advised to enjoy these good days. One day I’ll be in the process of brushing my teeth, or some inane activity that requires little physical effort, and that blinding light will reappear. I will scream out as many epitaphs as possible before I hit the ground, and then crawl to a corner to cry and await my release from my unphysical prison.

I’m rambling…sorry. It’s become apparent to me that if it’s not one thing…it will be another.

(Here’s a recap for the newcomers: I set out to write over 1,000,000 words this year. ONE MILLION GOOD WORDS. For me, a very possible goal to achieve if I average 3,000 words per day for the entire year.)

My personal goals included completing the Scenic City Cafè Series, along with three other novels and a collaborative novel with my friend and “Jocko” cover artist J.P. Harper. In other words, this was going to be a break-out year.

Looks like the only thing that has been broken are my enthusiastic plans.

Ten days ago, I awakened to no back pain. Repeat: NO PAIN! I stoked up the fires under my coffee pot and set to working on the screenplay that I wanted to finish before June 1.

Wait? Did I not mention my NEW desire to write a full screenplay, even though going into this year I had no clue how to write a screenplay? Yeah, add that as icing on the top of my one-million word cake.

Since January, I’ve made contacts within the film-making fraternity. I’ve asked the right questions, purchased the right books and even purchased the industry standard software. (More on that later)

Once I was assured that my back would allow me to sit in one place for ten or more hours, I jumped in with both feet and a mending frame.

Four days ago, I felt like a man on the ascent. Scaling my personal Everest, one word at a time. I discarded friends, shunned my social media toys. Locking myself within myself. Looking  toward that…



Seventy-six pages of a screenplay lost?

I’m gonna give y’all the short version. This had nothing to do with not backing up my work. It had everything to do with too many formats jammed into a program that was designed to write screenplays…not act as a stand-alone word-processor.

Oh…it was gone. Every single word of it. If I can say so myself, it was pretty good for a screenplay-writing-newbie.

Another setback. I could have cried…pouted…blamed everyone and everything…

I didn’t. Once that I realized that the words were gone, and they weren’t coming back…I just laughed. What could I do? Screaming and throwing things (which some of you know…I have a very good arm) wasn’t going to make everything better. My time machine is broken, which makes it difficult to go back and warn myself to not cut-and-paste different formats in.

There is a partial happy ending to my tale of woe and loss. I’ve called on a few of my friends to read my work as I completed sections. My last PDF save was on the 24th of April. A total of thirty-six pages. Half of my work.

So I sit here on this sunny Sunday evening, seven pages into the re-write of my first screenplay.

I’ve already found a few things that need changing…or adding…or subtracting.

Me thinks that this next effort will be my coup de grâce…

Or the beginning of my Part Tres…

P.S. I promised to tell you about my software.

I’m an avid-obsessive note taker. While you are talking, if you say something that peaks my creative soul, I’m making notes in my head which I will transfer to my favorite note taking software, Evernote. It’s synched to my computer so if I take notes on a trip, I will have them when I pony up in front of my laptop. Use it with Android, iOS and Windows devices. Sync two devices for free.


I use Scrivener to write my stories and novels. There is a use for every single writing style or project. The 30 day trial is free and is fully functioning. If you have any questions, hit me up at the E-addy at the bottom of the page and I’ll be sure to answer your Scrivner queries.


Finally, I’m new to this area of expertise, but everyone that I spoke with suggested Final Draft as the industry standard for composing screenplays. Scrivener does offer a screenwriting template, but–as I learned this past week–importing it into another program could be a recipe for disaster. The learning curve is short, and you’ll be composing your silver screen, or small screen masterpiece in no time.


Special Note: Like I said earlier, coming into 2017, I knew nothing about screenwriting. I am certain that I am making some errors, but when I want to learn something, I’m going to get all of the tools possible. I read a few books in January and the one that really impacted me the most is “The Screenwriter’s Bible”. If you want to learn how to write a screenplay, PURCHASE THIS BOOK. I’m on my fourth time through the book, in addition to using it when I have a question. I have it in hard copy and digital.

Screenplay 002

One more thing…if you’re still reading, you are really into my work, and I appreciate that. Everyone sees us artists at book signings, or gallery debuts, or styling a red carpet. No one sees the hours alone…thinking…creating…discarding and finally showcasing.

There is no greater pleasure than to have someone purchase my work and then to hear them tell me that they like it. Actually, there is one better…when a total stranger tells me that they’ve purchased my book because someone suggested it, my soul dances a jig.

Well, I’d better get back into the Attic. I feel a story in me that needs to come out.

Like me at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/A-L-Gates-518223168201942/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/algatesauthor

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