Although I was generally quite fortunate in 2014, I do have some writing goals that, I hope, will make 2015 even better.

My overall creative writing goal for 2015 is to establish a routine by the end of the year, one that doesn’t interfere with my day job. In other words, I want to get to the point where I can consistently set aside a certain amount of time on a regular basis for fiction and screenwriting. Have you had any particular luck with this? How did you do it? I’m open to suggestions.

I know there will be lots of challenges along the way, especially deadlines. Since I finished my MFA and I’m no longer in a classroom environment, I saw my creative writing productivity drop in 2014, as it’s difficult to stay motivated without deadlines. But, thankfully, that’s not to say I didn’t get any writing done last year. In May 2014, I started a monthly movie review column at Monologging.org, and then I did some freelance writing toward the end of the year. In that respect, I managed to get quite a bit done in 2014. I realized, however, that the freelance work was getting in the way of my creative writing, so in 2015, I won’t be actively seeking out freelance gigs, although I will continue to write my movie reviews. I’ll put more of an emphasis on my creative writing, and more importantly, I’ll set small goals and deadlines because nothing will get done if I don’t.

The main issue I’m trying to avoid is burn-out. Because failure’s not an option. Right now, I’m hoping for an average of a page per day, for a total of about 365 pages by the end of the year. I think this will be a gradual process, so more than likely, I’ll start slow (a few pages per week) and possibly end up at a pace of several pages per day by the end of 2015. But sometimes writing isn’t that straightforward, since a particular stage may call for “development” rather than the actual writing of the story, so perhaps a daily time goal is another good marker to have. So essentially, I’m working toward a routine of writing for an hour each day—and for writing tasks where the page count is quantifiable, a page each day.

To supplement my overall goal, I have some specific goals, which are as follows.

First, I need to write two new drafts of a movie—so about 200 pages—that I’ve been trying to write for over a year now. No more excuses, and no more delays! Second, I hope to come up with a draft of another movie, so that’s another 110 pages or so. I also want to write some shorts to hone my craft, as well as a few short stories that I can submit to magazines or put in a new collection. All of this is to prepare me for an intense writing and marketing campaign in 2016, in which I’ll make my first real attempt to break into Hollywood by 2017 (i.e., make a deal of some sort, whether it’s a sale, an option, or a writing assignment).

And that leads me to one final point I want to bring up: my first foray into Hollywood with “Our Father.” I had the pleasure of connecting with Linda Palmer at Runaway Productions in July of 2014 and becoming a co-producer on her Oscar-contender short film “Our Father,” which she wrote, directed, and produced. This incredibly moving film—based on a true story—stars Michael Gross as a man whose late-stage dementia takes him to live with his estranged son, played by Michael Worth. During a moment of clarity, the father reveals long-buried secrets about himself that force the son to reevaluate everything he thought he knew about their fractured relationship.

My description doesn’t do it justice. Check out the official trailer below.

“Our Father” is currently running the festival circuit and seeking distribution, and we are so proud of it. The film has already won two awards from festivals: best actor, for Michael Gross, and best directing.

In December 2014, I flew to Los Angeles for a screening, Q&A, and casual lunch with the cast, director, and some of the other producers. (It was also my first week-long vacation in years, which made it extra special.) At the event, I finally got to meet Linda in person, and I spent quite a bit of time talking to Michael Gross, Aaron Stall, and several other members of the film’s small, tight-knit cast. It was my first real experience with Hollywood actors, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one; they were all so kind and gracious.

Now that I’ve had a taste of Hollywood and met so many great people, I look forward to many similar experiences in the future as I meet my writing goals and make new connections. I want to thank Linda Palmer for instilling this fire in me and helping me get back on track with my writing. Here’s to a great 2015 and an even better 2016!

What are your goals for 2015 (and beyond), and do you have a plan for achieving them? I’d love to hear about it.

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