The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: writing life (Page 1 of 10)

Wanna Read My Novel In Progress…In Progress?

One of many notebooks in which I'm writing my future masterpiece.

One of many notebooks in which I’m writing my future masterpiece.

I’ve been on the DL about it this week, but I figured now would be as good a time as any to share!

As you may know, I’ve got a Patreon page where you can become a Patron of my work for whatever amount you like (though there are a couple of perks and whatnot), both supporting my public offerings (my blog, podcasts, etc) as well as Patron-only work! Well, I’ve been working on my first novel, and for the past week I’ve been sharing it with my Patrons over at Patreon, 250 words at a time!

Why 250? Well first, my hope is that this becomes something that Patrons enjoy reading every day; a short, serialized story that will eventually be a novel, but can also keep readers engaged and entertained daily.

Second, I need to get my ass in the chair and find time to work on this if it’s every going to get done. It’s difficult between The Mary Sue and trying to work on my scripts. But I was tired of this being the thing that always got dumped on the back burner, so I figured out a word goal that I could hit every day without breaking a sweat. That’s 250. Some days I write much more, but I never write less.

If all goes well, by the end of 365 days I’ll have a 91,250-word manuscript to tear apart! 

Wanna read as I write? As of right now, I’m on Day 5/365 and at 1,281 words! Want a new excerpt in your email every day? Head on over to my Patreon page and become a Patron! Remember, you can set a monthly cap so you don’t go over-budget, and you’ll still have access to this work.

I’m looking forward to sharing this with more of you!

The Incredible Girl Crowdfunding Campaign is LIVE on IndieGoGo!

FINALLY. After over two years of working on this project – and ending up with a pilot script that I’m immensely proud of – Aurora and I are finally ready to start sharing Incredible Girl with the world! And it all starts with the above video!

For more content, as well as to find out how you can help us produce the half-hour pilot of Incredible Girl, click on THIS LINK: http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl 

If you’re compelled to back the campaign once you’ve visited our IndieGoGo page, please BACK THE CAMPAIGN TODAY! Campaigns that raise 25% of their goal on the first day are statistically more likely to succeed in reaching their goal! Help us be one of those campaigns!

Also, it would just make us really happy and reassure us that we’re not just screaming into the void.  🙂

But seriously, even if you don’t think that the subject matter is your bag, check it out anyway. You may be pleasantly surprised. At its core, Incredible Girl is a story about love and finding your voice. I think those are things you all can get behind, right? 

Whether you can back us or not, remember that sharing is caring! Share the link to the campaign with anyone you know who wants to see more smart, female-led, inclusive, and sex-positive content in the world! http://bit.ly/IncredibleGirl 

And we’ll be releasing fun new content throughout our campaign! So if you’re not already, make sure you’re following Incredible Girl on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and on YouTube so you don’t miss a thing!

Stay tuned! The Incredible Girl adventure is just beginning!

(HUGE thanks to Jenny Doll for designing our awesome IG logo, Alec Bernal and Miguel Amodio of Inner Image Media for editing our pitch video, and Kevin Boot for shooting it!)

THE EXPERIENCE PODCAST, EPISODE 2: DO THEY FORCE KIDS TO BE COMMUNISTS?

London 1986 - Me and the Madame Tussaud's flower girl

TJE Podcast, Episode 2: Do They Force Kids to Be Communists?

In this week’s episode of The Teresa Jusino Experience Podcast, Teresa talks “toxic masculinity,” and shares a Past Experience called “Do They Force Kids to Be Communists?”, which is the full story from which she read an excerpt in Episode 1.

Show Notes: 

Watch the live-stream of my panel at ONA15 tomorrow beginning at 3:30PM Pacific. (and participate in the conversation on Twitter during the panel by using the hashtag #ONA15future)

(This podcast is supported by Patreon)

 

The Experience Podcast, Episode 1: Introducing the Experience

Heidelberg, Germany - 1986 - Me

IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE! (Finally!)

Welcome to The Teresa Jusino Experience Podcast, in addition to my new, fancy domain! 🙂 Check it out! It’s teresajusino.com from now on, y’all! Because I’m an ADULT.

TJE Podcast, Episode 1: Introducing the Experience

In the first-ever episode of The Teresa Jusino Experience Podcast, Teresa shows you what you can expect from The Experience. She also fills you in on what’s going on with her writing, talks about why she loves Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project, and starts to tell you the story of the time she almost got left in Berlin when she was a kid. 

Show Notes: 

Check out my column at Beacon.

Find out more about supporting WriteGirl!

Incredible Girl online:
website
Facebook
Twitter

Follow Mike Schmidt (the composer of my awesome theme music!) on Twitter!

 

L.Aversary 4: And the Award for Most Change In a Single Year Goes To…

This was written in the book when I went to karaoke last year to celebrate my 3rd L.Aversary. Someone really likes Amy Grant.

This was written in the book when I went to karaoke last year to celebrate my 3rd L.Aversary. Someone really likes Amy Grant.

It seems like only yesterday that I boarded a plane at LaGuardia Airport in NYC holding a stack of letters written to me by some of my best friends, having had my three best friends drive me to the airport and watch me as I made my way through the security line. But it was FOUR years ago. That’s a high school or undergraduate college career. If my time in Los Angeles were a child, it’d be slightly older than a toddler.

And much like senior year, or the point when you figure out how to walk, it seems like a bunch of change has been crammed into the past year.

    • I joined a writing group with my writing partner and we wrote three solid scripts together
    • I went from being a solo writer, to half of a writing team, to a solo writer again. Still in the writing group.
    • I informed my family and friends that I’m in a same-sex relationship with a trans woman. Confirmed that my family and friends are super-cool.
    • I’ve made more use of L.A’s vast networking opportunities, and have met more people with whom I can collaborate and/or I can receive mentorship
    • The Incredible Girl ride is still going, but has gone through many changes
    • I’ve been given the opportunity to write my first TV movie
    • I’m currently employed in my first full-time staff writer position
    • Dat Chevy commercial, though
    • Because of the above two things, for the first time, I’m not drowning financially
    • Because of the above thing, I was able to go home to visit this summer under my own steam and being able to afford my own place to stay without needing to crash on a million couches
    • I FINALLY HAVE A DRIVER’S LICENSE AGAIN

It’s been an amazing year – one during which I’ve continually moved forward with minimal setbacks. And while I haven’t yet completed my Top 50 Things to Do in L.A. list (I’ve done 7, 8, 48, tried to do 13 but it was closed down, and I’ll be doing 50 this weekend), I know that I’m invested in this city enough now that I’ll have plenty of time to do the rest in the year(s) to come.

Thanks for being a crazy enough city for me to live in L.A. 🙂 Never change.

(Actually, there are some changes I’d love to recommend if you’ve got a sec.)

My New Gig!

Well, if you missed my RT of this tweet earlier, I can now talk about the new gig I’ve got! I’m now one of the assistant editors at The Mary Sue! 🙂 Geek friends rejoice!

I’m thrilled, as this is not only my first staffed writer gig, but my first real editorial position, so I’m excited for the challenge! And today’s already been super-challenging. It’s kicked my ass, to tell you the truth, but in the best way! The staff at The Mary Sue has been amazingly supportive, and as fast-paced as the job is, everyone is so efficient at what they do that I know once I learn the ropes it’ll be smooth sailing. Such a great team!

And I even got to write two posts today and take part in a third group post! Here’s my first post. And here’s the second. 🙂

Me and my first Mary Sue post!

Me and my first Mary Sue post!

So, huge thanks to Jill Pantozzi, The Mary Sue’s Editor-In-Chief, for the amazing opportunity. It’s gonna be a blast!

 

My New Status Quo

By the way, I’m completely IN LOVE with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. LOVE. 🙂

I’d made a decision at the beginning of this year. Freelance writing wasn’t cutting it for me financially, so after trying to make a living by cobbling several jobs together, I was willing to concede that it might be time to look for full-time employment. However, there were still reasons why I wanted to have a flexible, freelancer schedule – namely, that I wanted time to work on my writing, and I wanted the freedom to network during the day.

It’s amazing how important being available for coffee is in L.A.

BUT, I was willing to seek 9-5 employment as long as that employment served my ultimate career goals. In other words, I wasn’t going to be looking for barista jobs, or office work in an accountant’s office or anything. I wanted 9-5 employment in The Industry. If I was going to give up my free time, I wanted it to be with a purpose. So, I started seeking and applying for jobs at studios, production companies, and literary agencies. I reached out to friends who already work in this sphere asking them to keep their ears to the ground on my behalf, and many of them gave me a heads up about some great opportunities and very useful resources for my search! In the meantime, I still had my day jobs at HotPixel and at the other company I worked for one day a week.

You read that right. I typed “worked.” 

Because in a whirlwind couple of days last week, I was offered and accepted a new full-time job! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly what it is until tomorrow. Here’s what I can tell you:

  • It’s a 9-5 job, but I’ll be working remotely from home.
  • It’s salaried with benefits.
  • It’s a writing job.
  • It’s related to pop culture.

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you recently go out of your way to say that you were no longer going to be doing any pop culture writing, because you were burned out on it and you wanted to spend your writing time working on your own stuff? Yes I did. But here’s what I’ve realized since then: I wasn’t actually burned out on pop culture writing. I was burned out on freelancing. I was burned out on having to hustle for each and every piece I wrote. It was exhausting, and made me not enjoy the writing I had to do. But once I was offered an opportunity to write full-time – for ONE employer – suddenly the topic makes less of a difference.

As for the connections that can be made with a 9-5 job in The Industry vs a full-time writing job outside of it…the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it doesn’t make much difference. After all, all of the Industry connections I’ve made up until now (and there have been several!) I made as a freelance writer. What’s more, I feel like the connections I’ve made, because of the nature of my work as a pop culture writer, were more organic and friendly than they might be if I were to become, say, a receptionist at an agency, or some executive’s assistant – jobs where you’re required to blend into the background. As a writer, I can engage with people on my own terms, which has served me pretty well so far. Point is, networks can be built any number of ways. There’s no one right way to “break in.”

I gave my notice at HotPixel and my other job last week, too, which was kinda sad as I really enjoyed working at both places. I wouldn’t have left the jobs were it not for a better career opportunity, as my bosses at both places were extremely kind, and just cool people. It’s rare that you have an employer you can hang with, and I feel like both places offered me that. And as sorry as they are to see me go, they were extremely supportive and proud of me, and they totally get why I had to accept this new challenge.

I’m thrilled about this new opportunity, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow! 🙂 My days are going to be much more structured, and it will force me to get my personal writing done before and after my job, which actually might help me get more of it done. After learning the hard way, I’ve realized that unstructured free time is my kryptonite, and I think that this new gig will allow me to flourish in other areas.

I start tomorrow! Wish me luck! 🙂

 **This post is Funded by Patreon**

Seeing the World in Stories

bowl cut

When I was about 5 or 6, I paraded around the house – seriously, paraded. The rooms were all connected to each other in my family’s Corona, Queens apartment, so that I could go around the whole thing in a circle, and I marched around and around several times – chanting:

In search of old things! In search of old things! In search of old things!

I should explain that I come from an old family. Not Old Money – just old age-wise. I was the youngest of three children by fifteen years, which meant that my parents were much older than the parents of my peers, and had built up a history long before I was born. Whenever my Mom would clean (or whenever I’d snoop in the name of “playing”), old things would turn up: Photos, old clothes and jewelry, random artifacts of lives lived long before I ever existed. I was fascinated by these things, because as the (much) youngest, I was the furthest removed from their original context. Whenever one of these Old Things would turn up, I would immediately start to imagine how it was used in its glory days, before it ended up in the back of one of our closets, or in the jewelry box my mom never used.

I would give it a story. Where it came from, who it belonged to, what it meant. These stories would eventually go beyond my family and into the realm of uncharted islands, or royalty, or street-wise kids trading it to get by. Yeah, the stories I created weren’t always happy ones depicting perfect fantasy lives, but they were always adventurous, or fun – usually both – even if they included hardships or tragedies.

Hardships and tragedies make good stories. So do adventure and fun.

Anyway, there came a point where it seemed like our apartment had run out of story-treasure. I’d seen everything in the closets, everything in all the boxes, everything in all the cabinets. There was nothing left – no more unknown old things. But I wanted more! Old things were exciting and mysterious, especially when no one seemed to care about them except 5-year-old me, so there was no one else to ascribe meaning to them. To make them relevant again. That was my job.

By creating stories for them in my head, I was keeping them alive.

And so I chanted while marching around the Jusino apartment: In search of old things! In search of old things! In search of old things! 

I remember my brother laughing at my ridiculousness. Hell, even I knew I was being a little ridiculous in my methods, but that didn’t make the search itself anything less than serious biddness. I explained my search to my brother and asked him if he had anything, and he told me he didn’t, but that he’d keep an eye out in case he saw anything.

After about 3-4 times around the apartment, I remember my mom telling me to give it a rest. 🙂

But that’s the thing – my family let me chant and march around the apartment a bit before telling me to stop. And while I don’t remember if I found any new Old Things in my search that day (I vaguely remember finding things that were technically “old,” but nothing with a sense of History), I do remember that my family let me search, loudly. They might not have understood why I had to march around the apartment looking for stories to tell, but they didn’t stop me either. Whether or not it was important to them, they knew it was important to me.

I see the world in stories. I’m fascinated by people, because each individual is a deep pool of stories to tell. I’m fascinated by places I’ve never been, because they each contain the stories of millions. I’m fascinated by found objects, because you don’t always know where they’ve come from, or how they got there, and there’s immense pleasure in making it up. In giving things life.

Next week, I hope to start telling even more stories. I’ll be starting a podcast – The Teresa Jusino Experience. Original, huh? 🙂 In it, I’ll keep you posted on whatever news tidbits I’ve got going on in my writing life, and I’ll have a Teresopinion on some topic or other. But each episode will always end with a story. Because there’s nothing like telling stories to keep us alive.

**This post is Funded by Patreon**

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #5: Cinderellas Need Their Animal Friends

Well, we’ve all made it! This is the last day I’ll be blogging about my Patreon page in this way. 🙂 While I didn’t come close to my original goal of 25 Patrons in the first day (HA!), or my secondary goal of 10 Patrons in the first week, I have managed to average 1 new Patron a day! 5 days, 5 Patrons. That’s not bad at all! At this rate, I’ll have 34 by the end of February, 65 by the end of March….healthy, steady growth. As I hope this will be a long-term endeavor, I don’t mind at all if growth is slow and steady. We all know what wins the race, after all. 🙂

If you’d like to catch up, here are the previous 4 Reasons to Be a Patron:

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #1: YOU WANT MY WORK TO CONTINUE

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #2: AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE AS YOU LIKE

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #3: MONTHLY LIMITS

5 REASONS TO BE A PATRON #4: COMMUNITY

And the fifth reason? Because Cinderellas can’t become Cinderellas without the help of their animal friends. 

The other day, I got a tiny bit of “backlash” after promoting my Patreon page on a Facebook writing group of which I’m a member. It went a little something like this:

Backlash person: “If you don’t mind my asking, what “resources” do you require in order to keep writing scripts? I’ve been writing for ages and I’ve never needed additional financial support to do so. I just write when I’m not at work.”

Me: “That’s great! 🙂 I was doing that for a long time, myself. However, I found that, when I had a full-time office “day job” I very often didn’t have the energy to go from 8 hours in front of a computer all day to switch gears and spend several more hours at home writing something that I then didn’t have time to adequately shop around and get paid for, because I was busy 9-5 when anyone I’d want to meet to potentially pay me for my writing would be available.

To answer your question specifically, the resources I require are money and time.

Point being, I want to be paid for my writing. (and I write other things in addition to scripts) I don’t want to write for free while doing something else. When I say I need financial support, what I mean is: I write, readers read and enjoy, readers pay me for my work, and the process starts all over again. I’m not simply talking about the physical act of writing. I’m talking about making it my living, and having the audacity to expect to be paid for it rather than continually doing it for free while killing myself working other jobs to support myself. I’ve done the day job/write on the side thing. I’m over it. I expect readers to pay writers for their work. It’s as simple as that.”

This person’s issue seemed to be that if they could be happy writing on the side while doing another job, then everyone should. Here’s why that doesn’t work for me: I don’t believe there’s any good reason why I should have to wait for a gatekeeper to put a stamp of approval on my work before it finds its way into the hands of people who’d like it. This doesn’t mean that I would never work for someone else, or go through a traditional gatekeeper. I’d LOVE to be staffed on a TV show, or have prose fiction published by a traditional publisher. I’m working towards those ends, too – did this person in the FB group believe that I was putting all my eggs entirely into this basket? I assure you all, I’m not! 🙂

This is not an anti-traditional anything screed. This is a statement against inaction while waiting around for some Fairy Godmother to make it all happen for you. 

When Cinderella* wanted to go to the ball, she was told that she couldn’t go without a dress, and her stepmother wasn’t about to buy her one. SO SHE MADE ONE. Or rather, she started to. But then her wicked stepfamily (aka, her Day Job) continually kept her from it. So she got help from her friends. And even after that, her family tore the finished dress to shreds, but Cinderella’s effort got the attention of her Fairy Godmother, who saw that Cinderella was willing to put the work in, but needed a little push resources-wise to get where she needed to be.

Her goal was the ball. Mine is to be able to earn a livable income from what I write.

If I can make money by producing my own work in another way, why shouldn’t I? If there are people who already enjoy what I do, why shouldn’t I reach out to them directly? Why shouldn’t I, if possible, exchange my work for money without a hoard of intermediaries, each expecting a cut?

There are plenty of people who write, or create other art, “on the side,” or as a hobby, or “for themselves,” and that’s amazing! Art should be a part of everyone’s life in some way. But it makes no sense for someone who wants to be a professional artist to wait around for someone else to package, market, and sell them.

While you’re waiting for Simon and Schuster to take notice of your novel, compile those short stories you’ve got lying around into a self-published tome and sell them online, or at local flea markets, or at local open mics where you can do a reading. While you’re waiting for a big network or new media outlet to take a chance on your brilliant pilot, or a studio to take notice of your killer screenplay, create a digital series, or a podcast, or a short film to tell that story you want to tell, and figure out how to monetize it.

Nothing gets the attention of a Fairy Godmother (or an agent, or a publisher, or a network) quite like someone who’s already working to making it happen on their own. And the Fairy Godmothers always get the credit for magically transforming the Diamond in the Rough. But chances are, even if Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother never showed up, she would’ve stopped crying, and figured out another angle for the next ball.

Because anyone who knows their own worth, is kind to their friends (even if she can’t make them all little hats and shirts), and is willing to continue making things and working on their craft in the face of adversity won’t be kept down forever. 

And that’s what Patreon is. It’s a home for Cinderellas making their own dresses for the ball. 🙂 And as we know from the Disney film, Cinderella wouldn’t have been able to do it without her only friends – the mice, the dog, and other woodland creatures.

Be my little Gus-Gus. 😉 Check out my Patreon page HERE.

* That’s the Disney version. In the original Brother’s Grimm version, she did even MORE work to get to the ball, and got help from the animals and a magical tree. Oh, and haters get their eyes plucked out by pigeons. 

5 Reasons to Be a Patron #4: Community

Not this kind of Community. Though that show is hilarious. :)

Not this kind of Community. Though that show is hilarious. 🙂

We’re almost at the end of my Week of Promoting Like Crazy! What am I promoting? I’m glad you asked – my Patreon page!

By the way, I was told today by one of my Twitter followers that my Patreon video was accidentally set to Private when it shouldn’t have been. Sorry about that! So, if you’ve tried to watch the video, and haven’t been able to – YOU CAN NOW! 🙂

So far this week, I’ve given you three good reasons to become a Patron:

5 Reasons to Become a Patron #1: You Want My Work to Continue

5 Reasons to Become a Patron #2: As Much or As Little As You Like

5 Reasons to Become a Patron #3: Monthly Limits

Today, I want to talk to you about one of my biggest reasons for joining Patreon. Community. 

Sure there are plenty of crowdfunding sites, or other websites that have comment sections and whatnot, but Patreon allows you to share intimately and exclusively with the people who love your work. My goal with this page is to not only expand my readership, but to nurture my relationship with the people who take time out of their busy lives to read the stuff I’ve written. I want my Patreon page to feel like hanging out at a friend’s house to commiserate over some book you’ve read, or TV show you’ve watched, or movie you’ve seen. I want to get to know you as much as I’d love for you to get to know me. I want to create a community. I already know some of you are out there! The people that send me messages on Twitter or through my Facebook page. The folks who’ve come up to me after panels I’ve moderated. Join me! Let’s build a treehouse and start a club! 🙂 Who knows – there might even be surprises and presents in it for you!

Though, I really hope you like me for me, you guys. 😉

Check out my Patron page by clicking HERE. And thank you!

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