I’m Writing This Because

This is how I want to end 2019.

Typing away on my keyboard and letting thoughts flow out of me like, what I wish was water from a broken dam, but in reality is like sap from a tree in the dead of Winter.

But the words come out and flow and drip and play with my cursor and keep going because that’s how I want to end this year. Writing. Typing. Flowing and moving and earning them ‘writing gains, bro!’.

I’m writing now because I didn’t yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. But I did my journal, and my One Question A Day journal and I typed word on this computer but for someone else, not me.

These words are for me now. Because this is how I want to end 2019 and start 2020.

Writing.

So I type and try not to think about the words that are on the page and worry about what the meaning is or how they’ll be interpreted and taken and thought about. I type and let my fingers flow onto the little black keys with the little white symbols that, when struck, will turn in to some meaning and some words or paragraphs or stuff.

Because I want to write. This is why I’m doing this today.

2019 was a year of successes and failures. Hard ones. Both of those. So now it’s coming to an end, but the forward movement won’t. Because I’m writing this. Today. Right now. At the end of 2019 and in to the beginning of 2020.

Writing my New Year into manifestation, existence, purpose, being, doing, happening. Adelante!

So with a tip of my hat, if I was wearing one, and a nod of my head I lift my Christmas gifted Glencairn glass of Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky and say,

‘Thanks 2019. For all the love and pain and Art and laughter and lessons. Thank you for pointing out to me the things I still need to work on in me, my Art, my heart and mind. Thank you for the time.’

And this is why I’m writing this. To say ‘Goodbye’ to 2019 and ‘Hello’ to 2020. But I’m putting it in writing. With my fingers and keys and cursor flying across the white plains of the pixeled paper.

Writing it. Doing it. Because it’s time. Time to write these words and many more to come. Because 2020 is almost here and there is no better time to write than now.

Feeling Like A Fraud? Same!

Lights. An Actor sits at a table in a rehearsal room with other Actors, a Director, a Playwright and others. 

It’s the first day of rehearsal.

They’re all excited, thrilled in fact, to be in the room. Out of many, they have been hired. Chosen. Handpicked from a multitude of other Actors to be the ones to take on these roles.

After the introductions, handshakes and hugs from those who already know each other, it’s time to sit down and, they begin the table read.

The first time all of the talented creatives gather together to speak the piece into being.

And then we see the Actor is struck with an emotion, a thought. It hits hard. The Actors breathing changes. It’s labored. Short.

The Actor is hearing everyone else read their parts. And suddenly realizes how good they all are. How talented. How skinny, buffed, well dressed, pretty/handsome.

The Actors mind is filled with thoughts of, “What is that accent?”, “How did they think of that character?”, “Can they at least *try* to make it look hard to hit that note?”

Then the Actor speaks the lines for their character and hears,  nothing.

Because thoughts in the mind are loudly shouting, “What the hell am I doing here?”, “They’re going to find out I’m not right for this.”,  “They’re going to fire me.”

Sound familiar? It does to me. Because I’ve been there.

So many times. In fact, I’m there now.

I’m currently doing a workshop and having the time of my life. I’m acting, singing, laughing and collaborating. Helping to create a brilliant new piece into reality.  I’m working with some amazing talented people. I’m right where I need to, want to, be.

And yet…. there’s still that feeling.

That feeling, is called Impostor SyndromeAnd every Creative, at one time or another, has felt the exact. same. thing.

Breathe easy. You’re not alone.

Impostor Syndrome has been defined as “a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud”. 

I’ll say it again, You’re not alone.

“The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania, and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh god, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.”

 – Tina Fey

“I have written 11 books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”

– Maya Angelou

“No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point where you think, ‘How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?’”

– Tom Hanks

See?  There are countless creatives who have the thought that one day, some how, some one will find out they aren’t supposed to be “in the room where it happens.” 

So what do they do about it? How do they, and more importantly we, overcome that feeling?

Well, Good News, you can get past it. Bad News, it’s always around. Because the more you create, the more you might feel like you’re a fraud.

But what’s the alternative? To quit? To stop creating? ¡Chale!

You,

Get over yourself – Seriously. If you’re in the room, you were meant to be there. You’re talented enough, smart enough,  you are enough.

Remember to have fun – There’s a reason they call them “Plays”.

Keep doing the work – Create a character. Make a choice. Listen to direction and spend every day, every moment,  creating the work.

There are a multitude of other things you can do. Meditation, Breathing, Goat Yoga, Dancing, Going to the Gym, etc…

But nothing will ever build your confidence more than continuing to Do The Work and Have Fun.

I’ll see you in the room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaking The Tree

You know that feeling.

You’re making progress. You’re moving forward, upwards, in your day, life, career.

Your numbers are adding up and matching. Your art is a cleaner. Your word count is in the triple digits. You’re in a state of Flow. Birds are singing. The sun is brighter. Your kids are well behaved. Your spouse wants to eat where you want to eat, and has even taken the garbage out. Everything is groovy.

You’re climbing that tree of success joy and happiness.

Then something comes along and shakes the fricking tree.

Suddenly you’re falling. Down you go. Grasping at branches. Trying to hold on to whatever you can. Only to keep falling, tumbling, twisting. Until finally, you crash to the ground with a thud. Breathless. Scratched, bruised, battered and torn. Staring up at the tree.

It’s not the first time.

You’ve been on that tree before. You’ve fallen before. And it hurts. It sucks to fall. It makes you sad. Angry. It makes you think about hating trees and moving where you’ll never see another one again.

But that’s too easy. It’s too easy to never try to climb again. It’s too easy to never think about trying again. It’s way too easy to walk away. Put the paint brush down. Press ‘Delete’ on the keyboard and erase the pages.

But you can’t do that. Neither can I.

So we stand up. Brush off the dirt from our clothes. Pull the leaves and broken twigs from our hair. Give the tree a great big hug. Then we reach out, grab a branch, and climb. Because one day, despite all the tears and bruises, we will climb to the top and see the view.

There’s a great song by Peter Gabriel called Shaking The Tree. Listen to it. Watch the clip in the link. Although written for a different purpose, some of the lyrics have helped me keep climbing. I hope it hits you and inspires you to not only climb your tree, but not to fear the shake.

 

 

Why Do You Turn Your Back On Creative?

Seriously. What is the problem?

There are hundreds, millions, of artists out there. Creatives that just want to make stuff. They want to paint, write, direct, produce, dance, make music and more. Some times even all in the same project.

They feel it in their bones. They feel it deep within themselves. They wake up with a need, a desire, a hunger that can’t be satiated with food or drink. Some times they don’t even wake at a reasonable hour. The Muse strikes at 3 a.m. or 10 p.m. and keeps them up all night with things they must do.

They feel it in their souls. No matter how many times they try to silence it with busy work, or distraction, there is always something there that is pulling. Pulling so hard on their creative heartstrings that it makes them sick to do anything else.

So they finally sit at the easel, or keyboard, a mirror in a ballet studio or wherever they feel their creativity is about to flow onto. They start with one brush stroke. Or one keystroke. Or one chord, one step. Then another and another.  They’re creating something that they have to get out of them. Because it’s not actually coming from them. They are the vessel.

Then when it’s done, they put it out into the world.

And that’s where you come in.

You tear it apart and say how they’re not doing good work. You tell others that they’re not doing the right work. Whatever THAT is. You talk bad about them in front of others. You say how they sold out, cut corners.

Then when this Creative needs your help, has been brave enough to not only make something but has also humbled themselves to ask for your support, you don’t.

You hold tight to your wisdom that could’ve benefited them and you. You have a Kung-Fu Death Grip on your latté money.  So you don’t give a little to contribute to a project, because of what? You weren’t a part of it? You feel it’s beneath you? You don’t even hit Share on your social media to help get the word out.

Why?

What are you afraid of?

Who cares if it’s not a project you don’t fully believe in? What does it matter? Someone you know, you’ve had lunch with, spent time with, hugged, needs your help to do something that could only grow to benefit us all. Yet you hesitate.

I’ve hesitated. I’ll be honest. There were times I could’ve helped but I didn’t. But no more. Because this world is big enough for us and our ideas. All of them.

I will support you. I will help in any way I can. It might not always be financially. Some times it’s best if it’s not. But I will always give you my support. Because you’re doing something.

Here is my promise to you:

  1. I’ll hit Share.
  2. I’ll click Contribute.
  3. I’ll read your stuff with an audiences perspective and not with a jealous glare.
  4. I’ll watch your film.
  5. I’ll go to your show.
  6. I’ll applaud your work.

Because I would expect that because you’re my friend, my Brother/Sister In Creative Arms, my familia, that you would do the same for me.

But here’s what I won’t do:

  1. Lie to you.
  2. Pretend your stuff is great for everyone when it’s not my cup of tea.
  3. Always click Contribute
  4. Always click Share
  5. Stop you from creating.
  6. Talk trash to others when you put something out there.

Because I would expect you to do the same for me. I know everything I write won’t be good. I know every performance I give won’t be either. But I hope to have your support, even if it’s just a little. Because life is too short and Art is too good to not be in the world. Yours and mine.

We’re all creating something. We’re all afraid, or nervous, of putting our stuff out there. The least we could do is help one another. Even if it’s a with a hug, a high-five or Like to let each other know to keep going. Keep making stuff.