So I keep having to postpone giving my own flashy awards. SOME people who shall not be named but who I am currently looking at POINTEDLY, are taking foreeeeeeeever to announce big exciting news that needs to be bragged about to ALL the interwebs, and until they announce it, I can't brag about it!
So, you know. Hurry that up. And if you think I'm talking about you, I probably am. There's like, five of you. What's the point of having massively talented world-conquering friends if you can't use their accomplishments to shock, awe and amaze people as though they were your own? You're all fired, you hear me?
So since none of you will let me brag about you yet, I guess I'll just have to brag about myself and sound like a total egotistical tool, so THANKS A LOT GUYS. JEEZ. So anyways, one of those fancy callbacks I was talking about a couple weeks ago resulted in me getting a part in a movie shooting in New York. So June 30th, they're flying me out to New York for three days to shoot my part. Anyone going to be in New York then? We can hang out in my trailer!
I'm just kidding. I'm not getting a trailer. They're spending all their money on just flying me out there. I'll be sleeping in Central Park or the subways, like all the other actors who live in New York.
Excuse me. I've had too much sugar today. Aaaaaanyways, I'm super stoked, because I love to travel. One of the things I've always wanted most from an acting career is being able to travel due to it, and this is the first time I've ever been paid to fly somewhere or stay somewhere else during a shoot. Unless you count that pilot I did where they put us all up in hotels down in Irvine for the shoot, but I don't. It was Irvine. Who counts Irvine for anything? So yeah. New York, baby! Just don't ask me what the movie's about. Or who else is in it. Or like, what the name is. They don't tell me that stuff.
Seriously. They haven't even sent me the script yet. Oh Hollywood.
Now that THAT unpleasantness is over and done with, on to more important things. Our topic of the day!
So I used to suffer from serious clinical depression right? Yeah, I know, way to bring down the mood, huh? But no, is okay. Was long time ago. But it was like hereditary and due to having....an interesting young adult life and it was all very much too much and made me want to curl into a ball all the time except for when I was being self destructive and never get out of bed and mostly eat lots of ice cream and go waaaaaaaah why does the universe hate me?!
It was all very dramatic. It's almost like I'm an actor or something.
But anyways, drugs didn't work cuz apparently I'm a freak of nature. Who knew, right? So the only way to kick the habit of you know, sucking at life, was to alter my outlook. It was all very Zen. But it worked! I revel in an overabundance of pep these days! All totally natural! No artificial flavors or preservatives whatsoever! And you can too! Just drink the Kool-Aid, my children!
Ahem. Sorry. Wrong speech. ANYWAYS. One of the most fundamental contributors of depression, and easiest parts to beat, is that we start looking at all the PILES and LOADS of obstacles, difficulties and handicaps weighing us down. We make mountains out of molehills and stare up at them with wide, panicked eyes and go, how am I supposed to get over that?! It's too big! And so we don't even try.
THIS IS FAIL. NO ES BUENO. BZZT! WRONG!
And it applies to day to day life too, not just giant chemical misfires in your brain. How many of you have ever stopped somewhere around 20K into your new manuscript and thought to yourself, omg, this is impossible! I have SO MUCH MORE to write! I'm never going to finish! Oh sure, you put it away for a time and you come back to it later and start again, cuz you're a determined little sucker, but it takes it out of you, doesn't it? Saps some of your strength, a little of your drive?
But what if you look at it just a little differently? Don't think of your manuscript as one giant mega-beast of 90,000 words, but instead see it as a collection of scenes and subplots and character moments, each as important as the last. Like dozens of little short stories, or windows into your characters' lives, all strung together to make up one greater whole. Suddenly, its not quite so unmanageable. Bang out a thousand words one day, and you didn't just write 1/90th of a novel, with 89 more days like that to go. You wrote a short story, banged out a whole complete THING that you don't have to worry about anymore until your novel is done. And everyday is just another short story finished, or more you've learned about your character, and you're not even thinking about it like a race with a distant finish line anymore. Each day is its own little race, and you win every time. And then before you know it, you add up all those little stories and moments and look at them together in a big picture window, and voila! You finished your novel without even realizing it!
You have TRICKED yourself! Isn't it great? Outsmarting yourself and your own writer craziness is fun! Everyone try!
Another useful mind game to play on yourself when you think you're not being productive enough, or as productive as you'd like, is to write down everything you do during the day, as you do it. Everything, from the little to the big. Write it down, and cross it off, like writing a To Do list as you do things instead of ahead of time. Work out in the morning or go for a run? Write it down. Cross it off. Take a shower? Counts. Feed the kids? Totally productive. Write 1,000 words of your manuscript? Hell yeah you did.
You can break it down into the little things too. Instead of just writing 'worked on book', get specific. Write 'explored Character X's backstory' and cross it off. 'Outlined action sequence for next chapter.' On the list, with a giant X through it. 'Kiss scene', 'kill scene', 'everybody dance now' scene....list 'em individually and check, check, check.
Doesn't even have to just be physical things either. Mental or emotional goals you succeed at during the day can go on the list as well. 'Didn't drink soday today' is an accomplishment, as is 'refrained from having my mother-in-law shipped off to the loony bin just to get her out of my house.' Write 'em down, cross them off!
Then at the end of the day, just before you go to bed, look at everything you did. Don't even read the list, just look at ALL THE THINGS YOU DID and crossed off. Pretty awesome. And the best part? Cross your items off really well so you can't really read them too well and then leave them out for your roommates, friends or significant others to find and feel intimidated by your amazing-fantabulousness.
"Honey? What's this?"
"Oh, just my To Do list for today."
"Your To Do list? Just for today? You really did all this today?"
"Mm-hmm. Why? What'd you do?"
Be warned. Obnoxious smugness IS an occasional side effect of using this technique. Just remember. It's for the greater good.