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10 Sure Fire Ways To Make Sure You Don’t Get Any Writing Done

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There is nothing worse than starting to write and actually getting something down. Personally, I prefer to distract myself with a million different things to make sure that I don’t accomplish anything. I mean, why write when you can catch up on shows that you’ve been meaning to watch or petting your dog for a weirdly long amount of time? Being productive is vastly overrated and here are ten awesome ways that I’m intentional about not getting my daily writing done. 

1. Watch a movie you’ve never seen before while you write

Writing with a movie on that you’ve seen before can just turn into white noise and help you get in the zone. No way Jose. You need to turn on something you’ve never seen before that intrigues you. Preferably something so complicated that you have to pay absolute attention to it. This will really help make sure you don’t even know what you intended to write in the first place.

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How To Find The Best Sketch Director in Five Easy Steps

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Finding the right sketch director for your show can be difficult.  There are lists you can get from various comedy theaters, but how do you know which to chose?  Also, I found that most people on those lists are already too booked up.  So, how do you find the right person?  How do you find someone who can bring life to the show, showcase your unique abilities, and has passion for what you’re doing?

My team got lucky.  We found Adam McCabe who is, without question, the best sketch director/ coach/ friend that our team could have asked for.

Maybe you can be that lucky too? I can’t definitively help you sort through the lists and chose which director you should go with, but I can tell you the five things I cared about:

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Creating Content

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.”  – Leonard Bernstein

“I don’t have time.”  “Really?” I asked my brother, “You can’t carve out even a few minutes?” “Oh, I don’t know.” He responded.  “I might.”

This is my challenge to you and slightly a back handed public challenge to my brother.  Start creating content.  Not tomorrow, or the day after, right now.  There will always be excuses to why you won’t start.  Notice that I didn’t say “can’t,” because you can and you should.

What’s the difference between someone successful and you?  They didn’t need to get paid to do what they love.  They did it for fun and they did it a lot.

Life is complicated.  Most of us have either busy jobs or jobs that we dislike that drain us.  It’s not often that you work 40 to 70 hours a week then decide that you want to make something.  However, as an artist, you can’t grow if you don’t take the time to create something.  Is your dream important to you?  How bad do you want it?  Do you keep telling yourself that you’re going to quit your job and then you’ll have time to do what you love?

You’re full of it and you know it.  Stop making excuses.  Whatever kind of artist you are needs to be cultivated.  If you don’t practice you’ll never get good at what you love and you’ll never get to do what you love full time.  That’s a promise.

You don’t have to start big.  Decide that you’re going to wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and do what you love for just 15 minutes.  Drink a cup off coffee then paint, write, practice monologues, etc.

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Seriously, coffee first. Writing second.

 

Starting small will make doing what you love a habit and will give your life purpose.  You’ll be surprised at how 15 minutes will turn into 2 hours and how inspiration and passion will fill your life.  You’ll start to be you again.

There is never enough time.  You’ll never find it no matter what job you have.  Find your passion and pursue it or you’ll live in the land of “what ifs” forever.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/5632644156/

The Power of NO

In college, a professor once told me, “Saying yes to everything means that you’re saying no to something else because you don’t have the time to do it.”

A while back, I quit a job because it made no money.  I worked as a barista to bring in some extra income.  I didn’t want to take the job, but honestly I felt the pressure to survive and my photography business hadn’t taken off yet.  So, I took it.  It paid too little and I had to quit.  It was a dumb move to take the job in the first place, but I needed something and I had high hopes that I’d get a raise.

Dumb Topher.

Anyway, I quit right as my photography business was starting to take on some steam.  Things were going great at first…  Then work slowed down.  So, I started trying to get creative to bring in some extra business.  At a random chance meeting, a local business owner was telling me about his struggle to maintain a presence in social media as well as getting high quality photos of his clients.  My ears immediately perked up.  After asking a few questions I offered up some help.  I told him that I was a bit of a social bug and a photographer and he was thrilled to set up a meeting with me.

I was excited.  “Look at me,” I thought, “I’m so clever.  I can make lemonade out of lemons.  I’m a real Guerrilla marketer.”

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If I market well, do I get free bananas?

 

When we finally met, I went over what we had talked about, but then suddenly I was asked if I had experience with web design.  I told him that I had some but I wasn’t able to create anything.  He insisted that I do some minor tweaks to his site.  I didn’t want to, but I’m a giant push over with the inability to say no.  So, I agreed.  That turned into major tweaks, redesigning whole pages of the website, filling out spread sheets, making a video, working on creating logos and signs, and basically being completely in charge of the financial stability of his store.

Wow.

What had started as a small offer to help out, turned into me running the show.  Not only that, but I felt so much pressure to make everything perfect and have immediate results.  We had agreed that I would be paid hourly and when I spent hours and hours  getting everything running and presented him with an invoice, he was upset because he didn’t see a lot of results and he didn’t want to pay for something that wasn’t making him any business.

This was a disaster.  Not only had I wasted my time, was not getting paid, but I was also doing a ton of work that I wasn’t qualified to do nor did I want to!  I didn’t even take one picture which was my entire goal in the first place!  I hadn’t set up any guidelines and when I was asked in the beginning if I could do something that I wasn’t good at, I didn’t say no.

The worst part of all of this?  It was all my fault.  I had to pay a stupid tax.  If I had been clear from the beginning about what I was willing to do and what I could do well this would have never happened.  And why did I do this?  Because I needed to survive.  The problem was, I needed money and when you need money you tend to take jobs that you would never take.

If I could go back, I would have just been honest.  I would have been tough.  I would have said no in the beginning and saved myself tons of stress.

Say no.  It means saying yes to what you actually want to do.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucumari/5980792927/”>ucumari</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Eliminating the “Yes Man”

When I was in college, I thought I was a real writer.  I had taken a screen writing class and I was deeply inspired.  I had all sorts of glorified images in my head of what it was like to be a screen writer.  I thought they all smoked cigarettes while drinking coffee huddled over a computer in a crappy diner all night long and for some reason I loved this.  I have always and will always hate cigarettes, but everything else seemed great.  I would fantasize about writing an oscar winning screen play.  I would imagine myself as a mad artist, all disheveled and dirty, scribbling ideas on a wall that would change the world.  Because of this I would spend several nights in a Waffle House writing.  This was nothing like I imagined.  Waffle houses are gross.  Everyone smoked around me and it was completely unnecessary to write all night because I had plenty of free time during the day.  I was just a kid trying to be cool.

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I believe it’s spelled “Awful House.”

 

During this time, I got an offer for a show runner of a popular sitcom to critique a short film I’d written.  I gladly jumped at the chance.  I went to a film festival where he taught a class on screen writing and at the end he critiqued my script and two others.  During his critique he complimented one thing about my story.  He said that it was clear what my character’s goal was right from the beginning.  After that he literally had about 400 negative critiques for about 10 pages of writing.  *Insert weeping and gnashing of teeth here*

For the next year, I was terrified to write anything.  Whenever you create something, it becomes your baby.  Your creation is an extension of yourself.  If someone insults your baby, they’re insulting you.  Have you ever insulted someone’s baby?  It doesn’t go well.

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Even he thinks your baby is ugly.

 

Later on, I started writing again, but I never wanted anyone’s help.  For a while it was fine.  Then suddenly I realized that everything I wrote was super crappy.  Mostly because everything sounds good in your head.  When you say it out loud, however, you realize that you just wrote a story about two cows running a fortune 500 company.

That’s when I realized that I needed help.  I needed someone who I could trust to read what I wrote.  That led me to meeting three types of people:

  • The Pessimist

Whenever, you meet a person who says, “Not a pessimist, I’m just a sceptic,” that person is wrong.  He/She a pessimist.  He/She is lying to you because no one wants to admit that they’re just mean.  This person thinks everything is dumb.  Every one is doing everything wrong in their mind.  They critique and commentate on everything that everyone is doing, but they don’t actually do any kind of creating themselves.  This person can not help you.  They never say anything positive and they’ll make you want to stop doing anything because you’ll start to believe that they’re right.

  • The “Yes Man”

This is the worst kind of friend you can have.  This is the friend that is either trying to impress you or has no self esteem.  Why are they the worst?  Because they’ll let you think that everything you do is GOLD.  They’ll get you excited about the worst things you create and that is neither constructive or helpful.  They don’t make you better, they make your mistakes more obvious.  Instead of you producing something awful that you think is good and showing it to a few friends, you produce something awful and you show it to the world because your friend has let you to believe that it’s incredible.

  • The Confident

I’m fortunate.  I have a wife that I love.  Not only is she beautiful, but she’s smart, professional, talented, creative, and funny.  Not to mention, she a COPY WRITER.  She’s incredible at everything she does.  When she reads something, she’s great at finding ways to improve it and make it look more professional.  The best and worst thing about my wife is that she’s honest.  She critiques everything I create.  When it’s good, she sings my praises to the moon.  She tells her friends and family and helps make whatever I’m doing even better.  However, if it’s not good, she’ll be the first to tell me.

Her – “This sketch isn’t funny.”

Me – “What?  It’s hilarious.  Don’t you get the joke?  It’s about sea captains and-”

Her – “Oh, I get the joke.  The joke is kind of racist against pirates and I don’t think you know what ‘booty’ means.”

I need that in my life and so do you.  You need someone who can tell the difference between something amazing and something that’s just garbage.  You need someone who will tell you honestly what could help it become better and what you should remove because it just doesn’t work.  If this person is only telling you that your material isn’t good, and not helping you add things to make it better, than you’re working with a pessimist, but…  If you find that one person that will be honest with you and bring creativity to the table as well…

You’re in business to create something that you’ll be proud of.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/dollar_bin/2340605507/”>Dollar Bin</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ldgermain/558538200/”>ld_germain</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>