Creativity When It Hurts

I woke up last Monday morning and thought I was going to pass out right there.  Oh lord… I am so not getting out of bed this morning!  

I’d managed to miss the worst of the flu epidemic that had raced through LA – but whatever I’d caught was clearly not going to play nice with me.  The war was on. 

Ugh.  Can I please just crawl back in bed, only to emerge when I want to have a chicken soup and Gilmore Girls marathon for the day?  

Sadly, that’s not the way the world works. 

This is what my desk looked like for 4 days:

So how can you be creative when it hurts? 

As much as we artists would love to live in a world where creativity just falls from the heavens at random intervals, the truth is sometimes creativity is on a schedule.  I have deadlines to hit. 

Sometimes – you gotta just suck it up and keep going.  With a full year’s supply of cough drops and Pressed Juice.  (Have I talked about Pressed yet?  It’s the world’s most pricey juice, but I am in love.  Grapefruit mint?  Spiced almond milk?  Come on now!  I need to invest in a juicer.  But that’s another blog for another time. Where was I?) 

One of the many secrets of creativity is that it comes in bursts.  

I’ve woken up  having dreamed my next pilot teaser.  My record for first draft of a pilot is 7 hours.  The story was just there.  It ended up being one of two pilots that got me signed with my manager.  YES!  I completely live for those moments!  But you know what?   Those are two of a handful of times that has happened to me.  Ever.  

The rest of the time, creativity is work.

I read, absorb, imagine, dream.  For hours and hours and hours.  Sometimes I love it.  Sometimes I want to throw my computer out a window.  I can work for an entire day and come up with nothing.  I can work for an hour, smooshed in between meetings, and come up with an entire storyline that gets written in the next two days.   

As a creative artist – everything you do informs everything you write.  You just have to keep doing it, day in and day out.  I always joke that I need to write all the bad stuff first – just as a way of getting it all on the page so I can get to the good stuff I’m going to keep. 

Creativity is an investment.  

I don’t always want to spend a Saturday sitting at the coffee shop working through yet another script.  Sometimes I want to just go to the beach with friends instead!  But the truth is – if I don’t practice good creativity habits now, I will totally break down later.  But a couple hours traded in for an awesome idea or line or future script idea?  Totally worth it. 

And at the end of the day – I love writing so very much that I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It’s not always easy or fun.  But it’s my heart and the thing that I love to do most of all.  

So – what am I trying to say? 

I think – at the end of the day – this is just a reminder to all you creative types out there.  Keep going.  Keep writing and singing and acting and dreaming.  Invest in your art. Even when you’re sick, even when it hurts, even when you’ve barely slept for a week because you’re staying up all night to get through everything. 

Do it.  

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