I think we can all agree we are lucky. Lucky to have found ourselves an industry in which our talents and ambitions can grow and thrive while entertaining and inspiring others along the way. We get to stretch creative muscles, push the boundaries of our comfort zones, explore new territory, get lost in the process, and meet amazing like-minded individuals who are on a similar journey. If you’re a creative type, you get to learn about the business side of things and if you’re behind the scenes, you get the chance to think and respond creatively to challenging and fluid situations. Lucky us.
Ok, but sometimes you just feel over it.
Sometimes the thought of getting a new set of headshots or rejiggering your reel (again) or getting into yet another class or workshop ($$$) makes you want to curl up in a ball and yell into a pillow. Or the notion that you have to start from scratch on that screenplay you’ve spent countless hours on because the basic premise is flawed, or the reality that the project you’ve been dreaming about directing is going to take a million years (or dollars) to fund….well, it can lead to a case of the “over its”. You feel like throwing in the towel, or at least throwing your hands in the air and letting out a big “HURRUMPH!!” (Try it…it’s actually quite therapeutic.)
This business has a lot of starts and stops built into it…each project is its own entity, which means it’ll eventually end and then you have to start from scratch on the next one. This, of course, can be very exciting! I mean, who doesn’t love a clean slate? But, starting over means brushing off battle scars and getting geared up, revved up, and energized enough to tackle the next one with the gusto that it will require to get the job done right. And maybe you’ve had a tough go of it lately.
So, when you feel you’ve hit a wall and are just feeling over it, what’s a Ms. to do?
- I say, give yourself permission to feel “over it” for a gosh darn minute! Having a positive, can-do attitude is absolutely key for longevity in this business, but your feelings are your feelings. Don’t deny them. But also don’t feed them. Look at your situation for what it is (not worse than it is), and if it isn’t the best at the moment, take a minute (or two) and wallow.
- Now that you’ve had a moment to feel sorry for yourself, whine into your journal, or whimper into a glass of wine…stop it. It’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be because you are a creative, resourceful, risk-taking, and hard-working lady! Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve reminded yourself of this fact, but it’s true!
- And here’s the annoying, difficult, no-fun part. You have to turn your thinking around. When you’re not in a good head-space, sometimes the last thing you want to do is get out of the funk you’ve created. But how many days or weeks do you really want to waste away in Sad-Sack Land with your “friends” Sweatpants, Take Out, and HGTV? Those things may feel good at the moment, but are they really the best things in the long run?
- Remind yourself of the dream. What inspired and excited you to start the journey into this business?
- Gut check time. If the answer “fame and fortune” popped out of your mouth…time to rethink life, cuz…
A) It’s not likely to happen (sorry), and
B) You should be inspired by the process, not by some fantasy end result.
- Revisit those moments that made you fall in love with the business in the first place. Was it performing in your first play? Writing an amazing scene in class? Seeing a project come together when you didn’t think it was possible?
- Give yourself permission to fantasize about every amazing and unexpected thing you can get out of life by reengaging whole-heartedly in your craft.
Listen, no one said this was going to be a cake walk. It can be a tough balance to strike between being realistic /practical and dreaming big, seemingly impossible dreams. Dealing with the nitty-gritty can be a buzz-kill when you are jonesing for that creative high. But, you know it’s worth it. Staying on the sidelines just isn’t your style, so be like Taylor Swift and shake it off, get inspired, and reengage with the career that you are, yes, lucky to have!