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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shoulder to shoulder

I'm not talking about marching or working together, I'm talking about tension.

Stress. And the management thereof!

I've had a lot on "my plate" recently, and I finally realized how much when I looked in the mirror and saw my shoulders were up past my ears, plastered against my head. They're so high my arms reach out several inches above everything I'm trying to touch, pick up or hold.

Time to de-stress. Relax.

Interestingly, my four pets don't tend to reflect my stressed out periods. They continue to be chill, which is *great.* I'm not sure what I would do if all 5 of us were on our very last nerve!


Perhaps that is why pets are supposed to be so good for our blood pressure. They know what's really important - naps, pets and hugs, food, water, toys, access to a yard, safety - and not necessarily in that order.

I sent the first draft of my screenplay to the committee in LA, so that's a huge relief. While I was writing it, I outlined another screenplay to work on now. Or I could also work on the rewrite of another script that is a kiss away from being sale-able.

The story/outline for my new story reads like it's a drama, but I want to write it as a comedy because watching the drama would be less enticing.

So, back to deep breathing exercises, meditating, massages, taking a jacuzzi, a nice bath with candles at night, planning meals and having meals on at least somewhat of a scheduled basis, more walking, working out at the gym, getting a full night's sleep, putting my house back together, cleaning it, paying bills and socializing!

I'm getting together next week with a dear friend for an extended period of several hours over a meal through the evening, which I just love. Chat, chat, chat. And that includes a simultaneous animal play date for our pets!

Movies and Mariners games, visiting a friend and her baby, walking around Green Lake, tennis, going to a batting cage and more. Whew. Back on track.

Something I want to change: when I work on the final writing stages of any project - which can take from one to three weeks - I tend to become tunnel-visioned about working on it, and I'd like to make it more of a strategic, streamlined schedule.

That's a little difficult when I spend several hours a week coaching and working on a variety of other projects, such as my column for movieScope magazine and other exciting ventures people ask or hire me to do. And I love being a think tanker. Or a thinker tank person. Or a thinker tanker .. or .. Anyway, it feels good to be asked for my opinion of this or that and get paid for it!

So I want to keep more careful track of my working schedule with all I have going on, and I'm getting very good at saying no to things I simply can't do because I need not to overextend myself - that puts me in the stressed mindset to get so much work done in a short time, because even though I'm pretty good at everything I do, something loses in its quality and I can't tolerate sacrificing quality for anything.

My work, projects, coaching, relationships or life.

Balance. Scheduling. Being flexible but not to the point of breaking from trying to respond to too many jobs and too many requests. And naps. I have a very good friend who is a best-selling author and screenwriter and wonderful, charming individual who swears by her naps, and I'm getting in the swing of them now!

It also makes a difference that my hair is finally growing back in after being done with chemotherapy more than two years, now. That stuff is finally, finally working its way out of my system in a noticeable way. That feels great!

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mustn't overdo...

I don't know if you do this, but when I try to push myself to do too much, nothing gets done.

I'm a big "to do" list maker.

However, if I jot down every miniscule thing I believe needs to be finished or accomplished? The list gets so long it looks like ancient scrolls of infinite tasks that become humanly impossible. It ends up feeling too overwhelming. I think, "Who am I kidding? I'll never get all this done!"

Then I tend to bag it and do something I enjoy instead.

Success comes when I write down only the very important - few - things that need my attention. With a short but crucial (and realistic) list of tasks, I tend to not only complete those items but every little thing that comes to my mind along the way and still have time to pursue activities I love.

I'm sure there's an insightful, psychological reason for sabotaging myself when I write those ridiculously long "to do" lists, but I don't want to take the time to figure it out because 1) it's not on my short list and 2) there are more enjoyable ways I prefer to spend my time.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

I work with *such* dedicated actors!

As of next week I start my day conducting coaching sessions at 6:30 a.m. (that's in the morning) every weekday morning. Well, except Wednesday, when my actors start coming at 7:30.

These folks have day jobs and my evening slots are full .. not much turnover there .. so if they want a slot...

The vast majority of my coaching sessions take place during the day, so there are days I coach from 6:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

At least my beloved coachees know I'm as dedicated to helping them as they are determined to become terrific camera actors, performers and writers - especially since I will be limiting my practice at the end of the year because I'm spending more of my time writing and directing since I've joined the professional screenwriters' group and production company headquartered in LA.

And it is very kewl these artists are willing to show up so early to study with me ...

Either I'm the best coach evah, or I'm just plain certifiabl-

Hey! I *heard* that!


Note to self: Get. More. Sleep.

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