For as long as I can remember, I had a dream of writing a screenplay, but I kept putting it off.
For starters, I had never written a full-length screenplay before and it was highly likely it wouldn’t be any good, so what was the point, I thought. Secondly, whenever I attempted to write a script in the past it never went as planned. Frustration and confusion would kick in, other priorities would surface, and sooner or later the seed I had planted never took root and eventually died. Finally, the undertaking felt absolutely massive and certainly now was not the perfect time. Besides I also had a business to run, a husband, and so many other projects that felt more important. However, deep down, I felt the story within me crying to be birthed. I would catch glimpses of her in the shower, on walks, and even in my dreams but I couldn’t quite see her entirely.
A few years ago, I hired a coach so I could focus on expanding my business, however, after the first session it became clear I needed to write this screenplay. To any outsider, it didn’t make sense because here I was spending a decent chunk money on coaching not focusing on what I originally intended but there was a deeper call in my soul and I had to follow her.
When I actually sat down to write the script there were moments of pure and utter bliss, where the words flowed onto the page. It was euphoria.
Then there were moments of pure torture where it felt like I was trying to draw blood from a rock. During those moments I wanted to run.
Master artist Michelangelo said, “I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,” about painting the Sistine Chapel.
For him, the process was physically painful because he had to paint for hours in uncomfortable positions. Regardless, something in him kept on painting day in and day out for four years.
When we experience a great piece of work — a painting, a film, a book, a meal we rarely think about the discomfort and devotion the artist or creator had to endure to create it.
Most of us have been taught to escape discomfort and seek pleasure. However, seeking pleasure as a means of escape can disconnect us from our creativity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for pleasure. It’s an important part of our vitality and creative spirit but so is discomfort.
With this in mind, I made the commitment to show up every day and write.
I showed up regardless of how I felt.
I showed up regardless of the weather.
I showed up regardless of the negative inner chatter.
I showed up regardless of whether the script would be a brilliant page turner or a horrific mess.
I showed up despite all the physical, emotional and mental discomfort that arose.
And guess what?
Every day that I showed up something miraculous happened — I danced and intricate tango with devotion while being with all the jagged edges of my discomfort.
As the days passed, the discomfort diminished and often times I found myself so moved during the writing process that I wept while I typed at the local coffee shop not caring who saw.
In those months, I learned so many important lessons that we can all apply to the creative process.
When you surrender to devotion by showing up as you are and doing what you’ve been called to do, your presence places you in a prime position to catch the fleeting moments of inspiration. One way to symbolically show your devotion is through ritual. It can be simple as making a cup of tea before you begin your work or as elaborate as a ceremony to honor your inner muse.
Your turn: How will you show your surrender to devotion?
Because the thing that you don’t want to do is actually the very thing that will cause your quantum leap.
Your turn: What can’t you stop dreaming about? What lights you up? What scares you? DO THAT THING.
Honor your discomfort: Feel it then alchemize it.
With discomfort every day is a new masquerade ball. Whatever costume she shows up in, know it’s a temporary illusion no matter how fancy. In fact, don’t be surprised when she shows up and do your best to resist the urge to fight her. Instead, welcome her with open arms. Be curious about her and use her during your creative process. Consider her your invitation to go deeper.
Your turn: How does discomfort/resistance show up for you? Do you want to sleep, binge watch movies and tv shows, eat? What’s the deeper invitation?
Writing a full-length screenplay, building a business, birthing a new offering, raising children is part magic and loads of consistent hard work. I’ve been working on the craft of writing for many years on my own, with teachers in private and group settings, and with writing partners. I’ve seen people spend loads of time and energy on honing their craft but forget to get support on the core issues that keep them from creating. For me, I chose to get support and accountability to complete the project in the form of a coach which helped me transform the limiting beliefs and shadows that kept me from writing the script in the first place. Your brilliance requires and deserves support, so don’t go at it alone, no successful person ever has.
Your turn: What limiting beliefs and shadows stop you from creating? What support do you need?
When you’re in “the zone” milk it for all its got.
Have you ever found yourself totally in the zone and then your phone rings or you have the urge to take a bathroom break or suddenly you remember that email that you have to send out now. Don’t be fooled. Now’s the time to put the blinders on and dive deeper.
Your turn: The next time you feel distracted do this: Take a breath. Notice the urge. Smile. Then carry on in the zone.
Lesson #6Embrace the mess. There are gifts there. Click To Tweet
In fact, the messier the better. I ended up writing the screenplay in the most unorthodox way and in the process I actually uncovered a unique writing approach. It wasn’t something I learned, it was something that came entirely from showing up daily. Had I tried to write the way I was taught I would have entirely missed this gift.
Your turn: How will you make a mess? Do you need to ditch the instruction manual and break the rules? Embrace the mess and let your inner rebel out.
Do it for the love.
Applause, accolades, and fame can be nice side effects of creating something others deem as good or great. The caveat is when we become addicted to external validation, constantly seeking approval for what we’ve created. Doing this stunts our creativity and we become stuck in a pattern of co-dependence. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of artists who at first created for the love but then got wrapped up fame and had to get away to reclaim their creative spirit. And those are the lucky ones. There are countless more who lose their creative edge only because they gave away their power.
Reaching the New York Times best sellers list, winning the Oscars, scoring gold at the Olympics are all amazing accomplishments that should be celebrated. However, don’t define yourself or your work by it.
It matters for the simple fact that you created it.
When you create for the experience of creating itself, you’re creating from a space of love. And when you create for the love of it, you hold nothing back.
Your turn: Are you secretly creating for accolades and attention? If so, it’s okay. What’s one thing you can do to remind yourself to do it for the love?
By the way, I did complete the script and she was perfect and messy and I love her dearly without judgements and expectations.
Even though I didn’t directly focus on my business, working on this project created a ripple effect in every area of my life. I felt more alive, more confident, and more courageous which directly impacted how I showed up in my life and business.
For the fun of it, I submitted the first draft (which is said to be a no no) but my soul said to do it, so I followed. Here’s a soundbite of one of the comments.
“The characters were interesting and done well. We liked our protagonist a lot. She possessed an authentic organic quality that pulled us into her plight…There were some wonderful moments of magic. The meaning of the message at the end was poignant and hopeful.” ~ Academy Awards, Nicholl Fellowship
I have been sincerely humbled by the wonderful comments the script has received however, if the reviews were less than stellar it wouldn’t have mattered, because I know in my heart that I walked the walk and did the work. I put it all out there and held nothing back. I showed up and created from my soul which was the point of it all anyway.
So show up today. Show up tomorrow. And keep on showing up for the world but most importantly for yourself.
>>In the comments, tell me do you have a creation that has been wanting to be birth? Share what it is in the comments and the first step you’ll take to setting it free.<<<
As always I love hearing your thoughts! Thank you for being here, for sharing your voice and letting me share mine.