We’ve all heard the phrase “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
What does that mean for us as we begin to think ahead for 2019?
I am a spring/summer person. Born in May, spring not only gives us flowers, warmth, sunlight and new life, but brings along the promise of summer. Summer is fun, vacation, endless sunny days with warm weather spent on the beach or on the back porch with a good book. It means barbeques and volleyball and picnics and time spent enjoying yourself with friends and family.
Then there’s fall…..
Fall is glorious, but it’s the last rallying of nature before the final cycle of winter sets in. It’s taken me many years to appreciate the gifts of winter, and I admit I’m still not totally there. If only life could be an endless summer (without moving to FL or CA)! But since I’m speaking metaphorically, winter is part of our life cycle experience. Like sleep, it’s meant for the renewal of life in order to move forward.
I can appreciate that, and incorporate winter’s lessons to rally my own internal resources. I’ve learned to grow as an artist and as a person in the beautiful respite from the daily hustle called “winter break.”
You know what I mean; it’s when everyone seems to shut down regular life to turn their attention to what really matters. The holidays, close friends, family, introspection. Meditation. Winter’s darkness encourages quiet evenings at home in pursuit of comfort, reading, and taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.
What Gifts Are You Giving to Yourself?
Amidst the holiday bustle is a parallel intention of showing and giving love to those we love the most.
Are you on your own love list? What gift can you give to yourself this season to show love to yourself? Do you think about that? For many years I was last on my own list, if I even made the list at all.
My love for my family and friends is so strong that I struggle with what to give them. I never have had the resources to truly give the gifts that would help the most: payment for a year of college, a decent car to drive, a clean bill of health from their doctor. Instead I try to create a beautiful family memory of love and connection, and give what I can to surprise and delight them within my budget.
What “dream gift” could you offer yourself this year? What gift given to yourself could surprise and delight you the most? You have the capacity to envision an amazing year for yourself right now, so that this time next year you can acknowledge the gift with gratitude and love. You have the power to give yourself an amazing 2019!
The Power of Pre-Paving
What if you had the magical ability to write out a scene – and poof! – it would actually happen?
You have that power. Creatively envisioning your future, or scripting out your experience, isn’t exactly magic, but comes darn close.
if you were a character in a play, what would you write for your 2019?
Let’s get to work here and take action.
It may take some time, so I’ve built this series over four blog posts to digest at your leisure over the holidays week by week.
Step 1: Your Stasis
As every writer knows, the “world of the play” needs to be established first in order for the audience to understand the setting, time period, the main characters in the play and their basic motivations at the beginning. We need to see onstage where the characters live and breathe and see their place in their world.
So, where are you right now?
YOU are the main character in your own play. You know where you live, the culture and times within which you live. You understand how you live and breathe and “have your being” within your own world, and understand your basic motivations and needs. You need to live, have a purpose, make money somehow, be connected to a community or family, etc.
BUT your main character (you) also needs a BIG DREAM to propel themselves into the future (and the rest of the story).
What is your big dream?
What is your super-objective that is big enough to overcome tremendous obstacles and give you the internal power to go the distance? What does “go the distance” even mean to you?
Let’s get to work.
This is going to require some homework from you. Most of my script coaching clients love it when I give them homework and deadlines – it keeps them honest to themselves, to do the thing that may not be done if they didn’t need to hand it in to me! So stay true to yourself and actually do the work, not just “think” the work.
Step 1 is to find an hour a day, preferably at the very beginning or very end of the day, to sit with yourself and give yourself a priceless gift – the delivery of your own dream.
Your homework for the week is to understand your hero.
Understand that you are the Hero in your own play.
- What does your hero look like?
- How does he or she dress? (I’ll use the feminine going forward since I identify female, but guys, feel free to substitute!)
- What does their home look like? Where do they work?
- Do they live alone, or with people? Who are they? What are they like?
- What do they wake up and do every day?
- What do they eat on a regular basis?
- What is their primary emotional experience?
- Did your hero make certain decisions to arrive where they are at the beginning of the play (now)?
- Is your Hero living her own life, or a life centered around others?
- Does your hero experience any pain on a regular basis?
- When your hero looks into the mirror, is she happy with what she sees? What is her internal dialogue?
Write It Out
Script out your character’s internal dialogue this week, all week, for at least a half an hour each day. Try to keep to the hour as a daily discipline.
- If you’ve ever tried this exercise you know how much you’ll discover about your characters. Here we’re doing a modified version of the mirror exercise and automated writing techniques in order to get at your Hero’s core.
- If you resist – and you may – just use this time for quiet meditation (which I swear by myself, since daily meditation has changed my life).
- At a certain point during the week you’ll switch gears and begin to envision your Hero with her dreams for the future. This is good! You are getting to her DDD (deep driving desires) that will propel her action forward into the rest of the play.
As you explore the external world of your Hero (your own outside world), at some point you’ll click into her own deepest desires. You’ll learn what excites her, what revs up her engines in life and what doesn’t. You’ll see things that she resists, that exhaust her, and that she just doesn’t want to do any more.
Exist in this exercise all week, observing your main character’s world and her participation in it. Get to know her internal world as she looks into the mirror. See what she sees.
Write it down without editing anything out. That’s important – you want your character to be honest with you. Write it all down, the good, the bad and everything in between.
Have fun with this, be disciplined in meeting yourself every day for an hour, and get set for Part 2 next Thursday.
Have a great week!