Ask the Coach: How Can I Focus On My Own Unique Voice? – On Script Mag

In this month’s “Ask the Coach” article, I’m responding to a question from a reader about comparison and embracing your unique voice as a writer.

Dear Jenna, I have a tendency to compare my writing to others. How can I focus on my own unique voice and style without feeling inadequate or inferior?

In the coaching world, there’s this phrase, “compare and despair,” which gets right to the heart of your question. It means that to invite comparison is to invite despair, aka feeling inadequate and inferior. There’s another related notion that goes something like this: When you compare, someone always loses. It might be you, it might be the other person, but either way, it doesn’t feel good, and it’s always a one-up, one-down situation.

Writing doesn’t have to be like that.

There’s room for a whole spectrum of styles of writing, even in screenwriting.

In my response, I discuss:

  • Making a conscious choice to choose inspiration over despair, envy, or jealousy
  • Studying the work you admire and parsing the writing to understand what makes it work for you
  • Determining which skills you feel inspired to grow into and which skills you admire but feel disconnected from or unable to master
  • Leaning in, hard, to your own lived experience by being willing to lay out rich, powerful emotional moments and undercurrents on the page
  • Letting your natural voice come through on the page

You’re not inferior or inadequate. You are different, with your own stories to tell, in your own unique voice and style. That’s ultimately what makes your work special.

Want the full scoop? Get all the details in the full article on Script Mag:
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.

Ask the Coach: Finding the Line with Scene Descriptions – On Script Mag

In this month’s “Ask the Coach” article, I’m responding to two questions about writing scene descriptions, including seeing it as an opportunity for your voice to shine, and where to draw the line with what to include and what to leave out.

Here are the main points I discuss in my response:

  • Scene descriptions can be a delightful way to design your pages.
  • Scene descriptions are a place where your voice gets to shine.
  • Include thoughts and emotions in scene descriptions sparingly.
  • Focus on what’s truly important to the story when writing descriptions.

Writing scene descriptions offers a unique opportunity for screenwriters to feature their voice, style, and creativity. Allow it to come through with all the choices you make, while striking the balance between creating the blueprint for the visual, cinematic world of your story, keeping your writing open and flowing on the page, and giving your readers and audience insights into the depths of your characters and the critical information they need to follow the story.

Want the full scoop? There are more details in the full article on Script Mag: 
Ask the Coach: Finding the Line with Scene Descriptions

If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels

Ask the Coach: Odds & Ends – Finding Your Voice, Getting Unstuck, and Abandoning Scripts for Books – On Script Mag

Welcome to the latest installment of my “Ask the Coach” column on Script Mag! This month, I’m addressing a collection of shorter questions about Finding Your Voice, Getting Unstuck, and Abandoning Scripts for Books.
“I think I need the most help with networking and finding my voice as a writer. What are some ways to find your voice and churn out script after script?”
“I have the concept of my script and my characters broken down but when I’m writing I get stuck at times. What can I do to keep my creative juices going in the process of writing my script?”
“How do I know if I should just ‘give up’ screenwriting and focus only on writing books? I’ve been writing screenplays on and off for 10 years… so tired of all the ‘It’s not ready’ B.S. but I still have many screenplay ideas. Thanks!”
As writers, we have a lot to navigate, from sorting out who we are and want to be on the page, to getting unstuck and keeping our creativity alive, choosing our creative projects, and more. My intention is to give you perspectives, tools, and questions to help you keep moving forward as a writer. [more…]
As we write, we build confidence in ourselves, which is expressed through our voice on the page. Therefore, to find your voice as a writer, writing itself — frequently — is the best pathway to pursue.
If you’ve got writing questions, please send them my way!
I’d love to answer them for you in my column.
Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

Me? In Charge of the Federal Reserve?

My dad apparently started a topic about me and my old job flipping hot dogs on his Cal Sports website last year and I thought it was funny enough to warrant sharing with you.

It’s true: I used to run a top dog in Montclair (Oakland, California).

It was pretty much the antithesis of the textbook job for a sensitive soul — loud, busy, rushed, etc — but I have to say, I loved it. Plus it was so good for me — it helped me find my voice and learn how to manage a crowd. The job consisted of taking hot dog and soda orders from a busy crowd of customers, yelling at the top of my lungs to coordinate all their requests and money and everything, and trying to keep a jam-packed grill of orders straight in my head. Crazy fun. :)

(N.B. The names listed here are the user names they all use on the sports forums. My dad is GreyBear. I’ve edited the thread a bit for relevance.)

“My daughter – Top Dog Manager”

GreyBea: Years ago – [she] ran the whole store, managed employees, cooked dogs, etc. Could we maybe start a draft movement to get her to run a concession at Cal/Memorial? That’s the one sure way I know to get the kind of dogs we all want to have available there.

(Investors needed.)

(She won’t do it.)

KoreAmBear: I’d be interested in investing. Congrats GB. Someone who can run a food business is someone who can make things happen. [Editor’s note: so true!] So you’re talking about after the remodel? That would be stinkin’ cool.

OneTopOneChickenApple: Will it still be $3 a dog?

Calumnus: I’d love to be involved. Great dogs and the best non-alcoholic beer we can find.

OneTopOneChickenApple: Greybear is The Man. Direct Hotline to Athletic Department and Top Dog and BearInsider boss. Count me in too, although I may only be able to invest in napkin and ketchup packet supplies.

sctawndawg: I wont invest any money but ill buy a few hot dogs every other year when SC goes up north to beat you guys.

GB54: Your daughter must have developed a lot of skills you don’t learn in books. I’ve always wondered how they hire these guys who can remember and have 58 orders going.

FremontBear: If your daughter ran Top Dog, then sight unseen, she’s better than the outfit running Memorial concessions. Ten bucks for a Polish and a drink??? Costco sells that combo for $1.50! I don’t mind Cal sports make good prfits, but at least give me the illusion my $10 is actually not that bad a ripoff. What kinds of numbers are we talking about as investment…?

GB54: Hell, if she was a top dog manager she’d be wasted in Memorial. I’d put her in charge of the Afghanistan war.

FremontBear: And the Federal Reserve too!

On Being a Mass of Contradictions & Shrugging Off the Constraints

I am a mass of contrasts and contradictions – a big shot and a sensitive soul, a hermit in the spotlight, a medieval sorceress in kick-ass sci fi garb, a tech geek and lover of the metaphysical and spiritual realms, and a big picture thinker who knows how to Get Things Done.

I love being “in” at home, and then there are times when I feel so limited and constrained that I just want to rip down the walls of my house to get out.

One of the constraints I’ve been wrestling with lately is being “too nice.” I’ve been “nice” for a long time.

It’s pretty boring.

I’ve been nice because I was told I should be.

I’ve been nice because I thought that’s what it meant to be spiritual. And a coach. And a coach for sensitive souls.

But I’ve also watered myself down in the process.



I’m less full of my selfness than I mean to be. I’m holding back and playing it safe.

I haven’t MEANT to hide or play it safe, exactly, but I have.

I’ve been hiding my critic’s eye, for fear of offending people.

I’ve been hiding expressing my real feelings about things publicly, like the times when I want to give up or the times I lose my way, or the times when I just plain old don’t agree with something someone I admire is doing.

The side effect of all this is that not only am I not sharing things I know will help you and me both, I’m also hold back the part of me that wants to kick ass, take names, tell the TRUTH, and get people into ACTION. Intuitive action — action based in deep inner wisdom and inner guidance — but action nonetheless.

So, I know you’ve seen me doing this already, but I wanted to tell you a little bit more about WHY I’m aiming to embrace my messy, delicious, complicated self so publicly, and how I’m hoping to inspire YOU to do the same. The more real we each are, the more full of our selfness, the more truthful and real and whole the world can become.

What part of yourself are you ready to express more fully?


Related Posts: Band of Misfits, or Voices of Reason? Guest Post by Kristine Carey


What’s Jenna Up To?

~> March 15th, 2011. My Artist’s Way Accountability & Support Group continues. Details.

~> March 26th, 2011. First broadcast of my brand new Radio Lightworker radio show on “Dreamification.” Find out more and submit your questions.

~> April 29th & 30th, 2011. My next Voice Your Vision retreat will be held in Berkeley, California. Early registration is now available. Special savings if you’ve already had your hands analyzed.