I have a secret: I’ve been binging on an embarrassing amount of Californication lately. After wrapping up my first book, Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations, my brain desperately needed a break. The Showtimes series, which stars David Duchovny as author and screenwriter Hank Moody, immediately grabbed my attention. While I became fascinated by the (fictionalized) ebbs and flows of his career, the show reinforced that I am NOT a mad genius like the primary character. Chain smoking and typing won’t get me to the best seller list in a weekend’s time.
I have always been a hyper creative person yet having six weeks to crank out a manuscript seriously challenged this theory. I once read a great line that said, “If you’ve got that spark, something to say and are determined enough it might be quite interesting.” However, what happens on those days when your imagination seems to go on strike?
DISCIPLINE: If I don’t show up to the page there is no paycheck. Fear of financial (and professional) failure can light some serious fire under my ass. While I am proficient at making rice and beans in many ways, I don’t know how well I would fare sleeping on the sidewalk. True self-mastery is about having a touchstone behind your efforts. Word of Mouth’s goes back to the first day I started my project: I love Nashville and am compelled to tell the stories that come across my radar. I also have a deep respect for my interviewees and the team who brought my pipe dream to life.
So I swallowed my stubbornness and made a schedule. No matter how much fun I’d had the night before I was determined to meet those deadlines. Some days, I worked for 15 hours and others only five. In my world, it doesn’t matter how much time is invested but how much focus is brought to that task at hand.
TRUST: I write every morning before I flip the f&*$ out. I am insecure like most of the population because I want to be great, and set expectations that are out of my grasp. I read the greats because I want to be like them. Brainwashing myself to believe that I will also be a part of the literary “Classics” section has kept me on a conveyor belt moving forward. Also when you are creating within a finite amount of time there is little time to question. To produce you have to rely upon your gut. It’s amazing how much faith can oftentimes bring you to the finish line.
LOVE: I have yet to find myself a long-term, romantic relationship but I would imagine my loyalty to writing would be comparable. I know I couldn’t have kept with a project for nearly two years had I not felt a tremendous amount of passion for what I was producing. At the moment, my own zest for life involves shaping my thoughts into coherent sentences. I have something inside of me that needs to be heard. I also love being the vessel through which others tell their stories. I believe if you stick with a project long enough, your brain does amazing acrobats. Just like great friends, family and memories it sticks by your side.