“Sunday Lunch”, 52 Films/52 Weeks Project, 2011, LA
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.
– Albert Einstein
Okay, okay, so I know that everyone is writing about how this time of year is when you are supposed to “get it all together” and “redefine your life” etc., etc., etc…
I will trying not to tell you all to do anything that I myself am not prepared to do….especially as I am the world’s worst procrastinator.
In the spirit of the New Year and with one eye on my ego and the other on my rather sarcastic sense of reality, I will endeavor to avoid annoying you.
But I make no promises…
Perhaps it’s safer to stick with my epic plans for this year
1. Dust off my old projects.
I find nothing more inspiring than taking a look at ideas never realized. That might sound counter intuitive, but it works for me! I make notes on every idea I have, however small or ridiculous. I put these notes in little folders and those folders into my Film Projects folder on my MacBook, and there they stay…until I need inspiration or a laugh. You can pinch from your own work just as easily as you can pinch from other peoples after all. The entire idea you had three years ago while waiting for your kebab at three in the morning might not work, but one aspect of it could be the inspiration for something that could work brilliantly. It’s the smallest of things that make all the difference, and if you are anything like me you will forget these precious gems the moment they flit through your fabulous brain. Write them down, keep them safe and rediscover them when you most need something amazing, original and unique.
2. Get more organized.
An old standard. I am not organized, although I think I am and it may appear to some, but clearly not many that I am. At least when it comes to my creative work.
It might seem to go against the very essence of creativity, but organizing your work, ideas, time and even writing area, can really help the process….process. It’s very easy to pretend that chaos produces genius leaps in your art, and that may well be true from time to time, but most of the creative work is actually work, and that can be made easier to achieve if you are able to see the woods for the trees, or the desk for the mess…
3. Commit, commit, commit.
But only to what you feel a deep passion for. Sometimes saying “yes” to everything is a mistake, I have certainly felt that way many times. Everyone needs help and sometimes it’s enough just to do that, but as the years ahead of me grow fewer than those behind me I have decided to be far more selective with my time, precious as it is.
4. Do something important and meaningful.
We are all moved by one thing more than another, we have our own unique patterns and purpose. What better than to use what is most important to you as a starting place to create. I suppose this is more of my lyrical waxing on getting older, but everything I am drawn to recently is more meaningful and less trivial. I find I have no time for the trappings of the temporary and no interest in the stories of narcissism and vanity. We are all fairly selfish, but there’s a very distinct difference between self-exploration and self-obsession.
5. Stop procrastinating….no really…I mean it…
As previously mentioned, I am the worlds worst, or should it be the world’s best, at putting things off, or finding a reason to do something else instead of doing what I really should be doing. Which is, I have discovered, actually one in the same. Since I can’t completely change my personality overnight, or probably at all, I will have to resort to the extremely tiresome ‘making an effort to change’. I wish I had a dogged enthusiasm for one solitary thing, I would even settle for less ‘stuff’ to do, so at least I would have more time to work, but I know by experience that on the occasion that I do have more time, that it’s no sure antidote to procrastination. On the contrary in fact, it only makes my procrastination muscle work all the harder, oh how I wish that well developed muscle was located in my abs…
So there you have it!
My plans for the New Year in all their glory.
You will notice, I am sure, that I have taken great care to be very nonspecific. I have not actually laid out in any detail whatsoever anything that I can be held to when, at the end of the year, anyone who might have the interest, looks back to see what, if anything, I have accomplished. This is called “working within one’s own limited expectations”, or, alternatively, “deep self-knowledge”. It’s taken me my whole life to know myself this well.
But you never know, I might surprise myself this year and finish one, or even all of four screenplays, in various stages of development…..or I might paint the kitchen…It’s anyone’s guess!