Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Finding Your Creative Kindling

I've always had day jobs to support my creative life. Sometimes part-time, usually full-time - all desk jobs. Cubicle, computer, the works.

After a full day of staring at spreadsheets and analytics, my energy is often sapped, which is unfortunate because that's when I have to hunker down and write.

And it's always tough. I'll have a writing to-do list a mile long and very little energy left in my tank. My day job extinguishes my creative fire. It's up to me to get the fire started again.

Thankfully I've learned that just like when you're building an actual fire, you gotta start with kindling. Something to get the creativity flowing and ease into the real work.

Tackling my inbox or checking social media – that's not kindling.  Listening to podcasts, watching TV, or talking to friends – not kindling either.

In my experience, the best kindling for stoking my creative fire is writing and/or reading.  Writing this blog post in my journal - that's kindling.  Reading a few pages of a script or novel, brainstorming new ideas in my notebook, or even reading something I've written in the past – that's all kindling for me.  Meditation works too - or a good power nap.  (Power napping is one of my super powers.)

Creative kindling is anything that gets you disconnected from all the noise and distractions around you and connected to your inner voice.  It's the writing warm-up period.  And it's not optional - it's necessary.

Sometimes it takes me an hour to get the fire going. Other times, only 15 minutes.  It all depends - I just keep on feeding my fire with kindling until it sparks.

So the next time you're sitting down to write and you feel like you "just can't get into it," consider what your creative kindling might be.  And more importantly, learn to recognize what it's not.  Try and find a few things that work, so you can rotate if necessary.

Now start that fire and start writing! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The 5 Stages of Staffing Season Grief

All experienced in the last 48 hours...

1. DENIAL - The jobs can't be all gone. Surely that NBC midseason whatsit needs a diversity staff writer.

2. ANGER - I didn't get hired because I suck! I should've worked harder to make my scripts better!

3. BARGAINING - I don't need 6 hours of sleep a night. I can write more if I only sleep 4.5 hours.

4. DEPRESSION - Now I'll never get to pitch my hostage situation bottle episode idea...or my Chinatown episode that's really about the Hispanic line cooks...

5. ACCEPTANCE - I'm not the only writer who didn't get staffed. C'est la vie. Gotta keep moving forward. Keep the faith and keep writing. Never give up, never surrender!

Congrats to my friends who got staffed this year! To the rest of us, our breakthrough is just around the corner...