Peer Production: PARAPHERNALIA

paraphernalia short film

Having trouble getting your foot in the TV (or film) writing door? Yeah, it’s rough out there, we know.

Over the years TVWriter™ has seen new creators win and also seen ’em, well, drop out. (We’d never say “lose.”) And we’ve seen new creators find satisfaction just by doing, by creating their own films and bringing them to an audience w/o having to kowtow to the Old Media TV and film doorkeepers.

So, if we may, we’d like to offer a suggestion for starting 2013 off right:

Show yourself off by making your own film.

And by film we mean video.

And put it on this crazy little thing called the web.

John Williams made this little gem (as well as several others), and he’s now somebody TVWriter™ will recommend to just about anybody who asks.

And he made it the way he wanted to. No studio notes.

We don’t know John. So we don’t know how he’s doing, commerce-wise. But artwise? To us he’s a smash.

If we’d made this we’d feel very, very proud.


The Doctor Puppet’s 1st Appearance in 2013

Doctor Puppet Stonehenge New Year's
The Doctor Puppet’s Tumblr Page

Uh-oh, hope he loves us even if we aren’t on Tumblr. After all, we love him.

Erm, kinda, in a manly sorta way. You know how it is.

And we love Stonehenge almost as much.

Hope you have a great year, Doc Pup!

Peer Production: A Video About Boredom That Isn’t At All Boring Itself

ETA video

We didn’t think it was possible. Then, while strolling through Vimeo, we spotted this:

We think this is quite a find…and we/re only 5 years late.

12 Ways to Kick-Start Your Writing

If there’s one thing new writers love, it’s articles about getting their reluctant/fearful/who-the-hell knows selves to actually write. Charlotte Rains Dixon, doyenne of writer-advisors, offers her take on how we can all kick ourselves in the pants:


by Charlotte Rains Dixon (

We are writers.

And writers write.  No matter what, we write.  No matter if the world seems like it is going crazy or if we’re going nuts within, our job is to write. To pour it all out on the page.  To be chroniclers and bear witness.

And yet.

Sometimes this writing, this flinging words at the page, is beyond us.  And no matter how hard we want to do it, we just don’t seem to be able to.  The words won’t come.  We can’t drag ourselves to the page.  We sit at the computer and stare off into space.

But here’s the conundrum: when you’re a writer, the only thing that makes you feel better–the only thing that makes you feel like yourself again–is to write.  So when you’re not writing, you feel even worse.  Oh, it’s a vicious, mean cycle, I tell you.  And the only way out is to get started writing again.

So, herewith, I present you with 12 ideas to kick-start your writing.  The only thing you have to do is experiment with them and see which one works for you.  Promise me you’ll do that next time you’re stalled and not just sit pretending to write when you’re really playing Spider Solitaire.  Because one of these ideas will lead you back home again.

1.  Switch it up.  Write by hand if you’re used to doing drafts on the computer, or vice versa.  Every time I get stalled on my novel, I switch to writing in a spiral notebook, et voila, the words flow once again.  It’s magical.

2.  Choose a random word from the dictionary.  Combine it with another word or use it as a one-word prompt.  It works great if it’s a word you don’t know because then your mind can go in any direction it wants.

3.   Use a sentence box.  This takes a bit of advance preparation.  Cut apart old manuscripts into sentences and put them in a bag or a box, then draw one when you get stuck and use it as a prompt.  You can also do this with words and draw several, then string them together.

4.  Pick a prompt.  The key with prompts is to pick one, any one, without thought or emotional investment.  And then just write like crazy.  Don’t try to stick to the topic of the prompt, just write and see where you end up.  I’ve got tons of prompts on this page.

5.  Use the first line of a favorite poem as a prompt.

6.  Use the last line of your WIP as a prompt.

7.  Re-read your recent work.  If this doesn’t get you back in the flow, go over notes you’ve taken.  Look through notebooks you’ve compiled about the work.  Maybe something will strike you in a new way.

8.  Read a book on writing.  Often I don’t finish reading writing books because I get so many ideas from them I go to the page and never get back to the book.

9.  Draw a card for guidance.  You can use a Tarot deck or one of the gazillion types of guidance decks from various authors.  I once went to a psychic who used a regular old deck of cards.  Have no idea what she saw in them, but the reading was fantastic!

10. Create a ritual.  Light a candle, put on some soothing music, drink a glass of water–whatever works for you.

11.  Cut out images to inspire you.  I describe this in more details in my free Ebook, Jumpstart Your Book With a Vision Board, which you can download to the right.

12.  Doodle to get your mind going.  I’m a doodler.  I doodle when I listen to lectures or in meetings.  It doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention–to the contrary, it keeps me anchored in the moment.  Lately I’ve been reading about the positive effects of doodling, and I think it’s beneficial for writing, too.

Those are some of the ideas that work for me.  How about you?  Do you have any sure-fire kick-starters that you rely on to get you going again?  Leave a comment and share.

Childhood Fantasies vs. Adult Fantasies

Our thanks to Zach Weiner. (Wonder if his fantasies include appearing here on TVWriter™?)


This could be too true to contemplate. We’ll take childhood any time.