And now for a special announcement from Captain “No Shit, Sherlock” Obvious:
It has been found that practicing what you preach is GOOD.
Okay, okay, okay, so in theory I always knew this. In theory I think everyone knows this, but when you have an “Aha!” moment about it, the feeling’s pretty glorious. And embarrassing, because what the hell were you doing before, right? But it’s mostly glorious, especially when you’re used to feeling embarrassed and humbled by your day-to-day life.
Back in April/May – okay, in reality it was probably more like January/February, but I lied to myself until April/May – I hit a creative slump. I was exhausted, not just physically, but emotionally, financially, and creatively. I started to question whether I had chosen the right career path, what I was doing, where I was going, etc. All of those great questions that make you feel awesome and confident (see: lost and depressed). I knew deep down that writing was my passion. I knew it because I’ve never wanted to do anything else more than I’ve wanted to be a writer. That’s not even the right way of putting it. I am a writer. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. I don’t feel like the two things are separable. But I hit that slump, and for a few months, I started to feel like I hated it. So I did what anyone would do when they hate something.
FORESHADOW: I didn’t hate it, guys. Turns out I’m human after all: I needed a fucking break. It struck me in May that I hadn’t had a summer off school since grade 8. (Yes, I had done summer school every year since grade 8, including high school, university, and my master’s thesis. INSANE.) Not to mention that most of those summers, I was also working – sometimes full-time – and writing, directing, and producing Fringe plays. I repeat: INSANE.
SIDENOTE: Maybe I really am Wonder Woman. You’ve never seen the two of us together, have you?
Anyway, I stopped. I stopped writing. For a while it was fine, because I dove into other projects that took up a lot of my time. I devoted most of my summer to spending time with my friends, family, puppies, and to becoming a Zumba® instructor. I enjoyed clearing my mind of pretty much everything: letting go of stress, unnecessary hangups, and the toxic people in my social circle. It was great. It was liberating!
And then September hit and I started to feel really empty.
And then I refocused on the idea of this blog, which I had been planning for months, and started to panic that I would never be able to do it.
And then I started teaching creative writing classes and I felt (partially) like a huge hypocrite. Telling my students about the importance of writing every day. Because if you’re going to be a writer, you do need to write every day. It has to be something that you do without even thinking. You’re at your day job and you realize you’re jotting down notes on a post-it or a napkin or in your smart phone. You’re grocery shopping and you see characters, conflict, drama. You’re out to dinner and you hear a snippet of conversation that sparks your next project. It all happens because it all just is who you are.
What I’m about to say is probably the most egotistical thing I have ever said, even though I don’t mean it in an egotistical sense:
I inspired myself.
Not because I think I’m amazing, guys. I realize how cocky it sounds. What I mean is that as I told my students these things, I was hearing them, too. I was reminding myself how I feel about writing – how it just is. And I found myself standing in class talking about writing, giving my students exercises and having crazy amounts of ideas coming into the back of my mind.
Vacation was over.
By October 1st I was already itching like a monster rash to start this blog. I had a notepad full of ideas. I started working on a new screenplay and outlining the novel I wanted to attempt for NaNoWriMo. By October 20th the blog was in full swing and I was freaking out waiting for NaNoWriMo to start. And now here I am, November 14th. I look forward to this part of my day – blogging – every day. The response I’m getting to my blog is incredible. (There are people – cool, people – reading it who don’t even know me IRL! Thanks, guys! I like you a lot!*) I’m nearly 25,000 words into my novel – holy shit. The screenplay’s coming along well and I’m narrowing down my options for a TV show to spec for a program application.
And most importantly, I’m writing. Always. Constantly. We’re talking on the phone? I’m scribbling down ideas that are coming to me mid-conversation. I’m driving places and typing notes into my iPhone at red lights. I’m working out at the gym and repeating lines of dialogue to myself to record when I’m done.
It feels amazing. Like I found myself again. (Cue the cheesy music. But seriously.)
So yeah, for me it’s writing. There are other things, too, but my passion of all passions is writing. But no matter what it is, do it. If you say you love something, do it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t complain about how you want to do it but you don’t have time or energy. Make the time. Find the energy. DO IT. And do it any time you have a breath, a moment, a second to do it, because I guarantee you’ll be a happier, more fulfilled person because of it.
And I say that knowing it.**
*I’d say I love you, but I’m a commitment phobe.
**And this time I don’t care if that sounds egotistical, because I worked my ass off to get here.
TOTALLY UNRELATED P.S. I just have to say that the joy I get from “FYI 2” always being listed in “Most Popular” along the right-hand side there is inexplicable. Euphoric may be the right word.