It's easy to get lost in the big dreams - the major goals - and forget to celebrate the small victories.
Small steps add up, and each one is a step closer to the big dream. The key is to embrace every victory and never, ever give up.
It's time to change my perspective.
Recently, I stumbled onto an article about being a writer, more specifically knowing when you have become a writer. Even after writing several plays and books, I still struggle to see myself as a writer. Because I am too focused on the big goals. Too focused on whether or not I am talented. This article brought up a great Stephen King quote from his book, On Writing.
"If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented." - Stephen King
Am I talented? If I go by this quote, the answer is yes, so I'm going to agree with my favorite author and stop worrying about it. Worrying is a waste of energy.
I'm pretty excited because a couple of my plays are being performed around the U.S. An Empress, A Faun, and... Olive Loaf? is being performed in Texas and West Virginia. It's been produced several times before, including a couple productions in Australia. I love seeing different interpretations of my words. It's thrilling. This is one (awesome) version of my script.
One of my self-published plays, The Worst Play Ever, is having it's debut in Illinois. I'm very excited about this one. I love this show so much, and I'm glad others will get to enjoy it. I can't wait to see what they do with it!
Small steps. Big dreams. I am so grateful to be able to share my stories.
I've had a really nice Mother's Day. I started the day with a long walk and some time with my weights. I had a lovely breakfast delivered to me in bed while I read. I'm reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, and I cannot put them down. I've spent most of the day reading. Normally, an hour of uninterrupted reading time is hard to find. Several hours is almost unheard of. It's been an incredibly relaxing day.
When I haven't had my nose in a book, I have been working on the first draft of a new book. It seems like all of my projects come in waves. I am currently revising SuperGym, developing a first draft of a musical, working on an outline for a new play, and yesterday I started the first draft of a new book. I couldn't ignore it. Even with everything else I am working on, I had to start. When I have an idea that I think is good, I have to write it while I can. Ideas tend to fade over time.
Time management is my biggest obstacle right now. I work. I have a family. I am directing one play and auditioning for the next. Life is crazy busy. But, I still have to find time to write. I've been working on putting it into my daily schedule, and I am doing pretty well with meeting my goals. I only work on one project a day. My writing is better when I am focused on one project. I just need to make sure that they are all progressing. I have set my own deadlines for most of them, and I am working hard to stick to the plan. My new job has made it a little more difficult, but I am determined to stick with it. I'm not giving up on the dream.
Feeling uninspired? We've all been there. Sometimes the creative juices are flowing so freely that there are stacks of notes and several unfinished projects covering your desk. Then it happens. The dreaded writer's block. You stare blankly at the computer screen. Your notebooks are covered in doodles but no words. You feel like you'll never write again. Here are some places to find inspiration when the well runs dry.
1. Read anything you can get your hands on. Books, magazines, internet articles/stories. It helps to read what others are writing. New characters or new information might spark something for you. If nothing else, you'll get to read some great writing.
2. Brainstorm. Sit down and write. Set a timer and write without judgement. You might remember this technique from school. It's a great way to get your thoughts out there. You can always organize them later.
3. Meditate. Sit down and get in touch with your mind. Daily stresses can get in the way of creativity. Let your mind wander freely without distraction and see what comes out.
4. Hop in the shower. There is no better place to think than the shower. This is my personal go-to when I need to work out a plot point, and many of the ideas that sparked a book or a play came up in the shower. Just make sure you write it down immediately after drying off.
5. Hang out with people (especially kids). Different ideas, personalities, and dress will give you lots of new ideas to apply to your characters. Just make sure you don't make it too obvious. Combine bits and pieces from several people to create a new person. I love working with kids because they are uninhibited creativity. They have funny ideas that can give you a new perspective on life.
6. Art/Dance/Theater. When in doubt, immerse yourself in someone else's creative endeavor. The arts have always inspired, and what moves you can easily be worked into your writing.
7. Remember your dreams. Write down the strange snippets and odd emotions of your dreams. They may not make sense in real life, but there might be something in there that can be turned into a great story or character.
8. New experiences. When life gets mundane, try something new. Not only will you benefit from challenging yourself, but you'll have a whole new world of writing inspiration.
9. Go for a walk. Or a run, bike, yoga class, etc. Exercise clears the mind, lowers stress, and can help get the creative juices flowing.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.