Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A sense of purpose

I wrote on my Facebook wall that despite my best efforts to simply relax over the holidays, I'm working full steam on the scripts I'm writing and developing. There are four of them, each a different genre.

Research, story structure, character development, color palette, music - all the tasks of a writer/director for every project.

While I'm totally present in the company of people I'm around, as well as tending nearly 24/7 to my aged Pomeranian - 15 year old Mistletoe - as soon as I'm on my own? It's an instant fall into creative work mode.

One friend noted that my work might actually be relaxing for me (as much as it ignites my passion, it actually is very relaxing).

Another friend told me it must be wonderful to feel such a sense of purpose - and that rang the loudest bell.

Experiencing the sensation of fulfilling my purpose is probably the most rewarding aspect of anyone's work. And I can only say once again how grateful I am to be able to do what I love and lead a purpose-driven life.

I've actually pursued my filmmaking purpose for many years; my writing purpose much longer - but those purposes were accompanied by other necessary tasks and work I also loved that were at least related to my passion in order to pay the bills.

As I've said many times before, we who do this work (paid or not) do it because we have to. Because that is our purpose, even if there is the rare wish that we could simply have a steady job with steady hours and steady pay after yet another rejection of one sort or another.

Few of us ever receive much, if any, support (especially from family) while we're in the midst of the grist of studiously advancing our craft.

Sacrificing is part of the job description - the most important thing to learn is exactly what we're willing to give up in our pursuit, because there will always be the need to sacrifice something valuable as we lay it all on the line for our quest.

And nothing less than putting it all out there for the world to kick around will do.

But now for me there is a sense of completion, since I'm able to (like all other self-employed folks) work on what I love to do most nearly 24/7.

Even when we can kick back and relax if we wanted to.

There's that sense of purpose that drives us; a desire to get better and better, for me it's also a desire to put a lot of people to work, and I have to admit - even on the very worst day, it's way more fun than any other job I've ever had.

It's something I wish for everyone who is pursuing their art, their craft, their dream.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

If you love what you do ....

... you never work a day in your life.


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Monday, March 05, 2007


What are your priorities?

Basically, we create priorities based on what we believe we have to do, what we believe we "should" do and what we actually want to do.

Pursuing our passion deserves our attention - do you make yours a priority?

To become great actors, writers, directors, stand-up comics, etc., growing artists need to make doing homework, finding time to audition and work a priority.

Note I say, a priority, not the main or only priority.

Everyone has a myriad of matters that need to be made a priority throughout the day - relationships, families, pets, children, home care, health matters, physical activities, and so on.

For me it's a matter of lining up tasks and activities on a daily basis - then reprioritizing them constantly throughout my day because there are so many variables and changes that can occur over which I have no power.

No two days are *ever* the same.

Someone needs an emergency coaching session, an unexpected meeting (via phone or in person) needs to take place immediately and lasts far longer than I thought it would, someone becomes ill, a friend needs a ride to the doctor, etc.

I've so many tasks that need to be prioritized daily, it's become second nature over the years.

When I prioritize I understand that some things on my list need and receive longer periods of time to complete - and others may just receive a few minutes (or even seconds).

When I prioritize I realize it's important to do certain things just about every day - even if it's just a few minutes.

That's the key - attending to things for just a couple minutes a day makes all the difference.

I recommend to writers I coach that they start with as little as ONE MINUTE a day. Do you realize how much you can write after months of just committing yourself to 1 minute a day?

Before you know it, one minute doesn't seem like enough so you bump it up to three or five - reprioritizing the other time or tasks in your day to accommodate those "lost" two to four minutes.

When he was just getting started, novelist John Grisham wrote in the mornings before going to work as a prosecutor for as many minutes as his schedule allowed - standing up with his laptop (or typewriter - I forget which) sitting on the top of his dresser drawers in his bedroom.

Often when I speak about making something a priority, I'm misunderstood to be saying that it should be catapulted to the top - as the #1 priority, when all I really mean is that it needs to find some time in a day's schedule - even if it's for a minute or two.

One thing about prioritizing - for me, it's like living in disciplined chaos. I feel like I have a little more control in this otherwise uncontrollable thing called life!

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