Tag: comfort

Discomfort, and eventually… Growth.

Discomfort, and eventually… Growth.

“Our biggest growth stems from when we are uncomfortable.” Not my words, actually, but I heard them last night while at a nice gathering of various young artists in the entertainment industry. My friend and production manager said these words to me when I told her that I resigned from my job and moved to Los Angeles with a computer and a dream. I feel like that is a saying, isn’t it? A suitcase and a dream…a kid and a dream…something like that. Well, that happened. And now, I sit in a California coffee shop and work on my script. Luckily, I am not alone.

As of today, my writing has begun to serve a new purpose: comfortable discomfort. I know, ridiculous. Allow me to explain. I’m sure we have all received advice at some point to be “risk takers” and “bold believers.” It can become hard to explain to even myself sometimes. A decision to leave all loved ones and all familiarity for something so uncertain. So that is when we have to ask – what is the alternative? The alternative is to remain comfortable. A nice salary, a nice group of friends, a full refrigerator, and probably a paid vacation or two. Writing, however, has become my comfortable discomfort. The thing that I do that is risky, unpredictable, and at times, inexplicable to many. So although I chose the discomfort, it comforts me to know I’m giving it a try.

So in my wordy reflection on this sunny Saturday — what is your comfortable discomfort? What is something that you NEED in your life that also brings out your messy, unscheduled, unraveled side? All of the craziness, all of the uncertainty…it is how we grow. It doesn’t have to be moving across the country or giving up something drastic, but it does have to be something that allows us to fail. We can’t appreciate success without feeling like a disaster at some point on the journey.

So, take a leap. Be fearful, but do it anyway. Be uncomfortable, so that you can find comfort with yourself. All it takes is the decision to start.

A Writer’s Secret Ingredient? Quality Time.

A Writer’s Secret Ingredient? Quality Time.

Isolation. It is what many might assume a writer needs. Time, a quiet space, focused attitude, no distractions, etc. Sure, those things are necessary when we are ready to write something down. But do we rely solely on our imagination and our keyboard keys? I would say not.

It has been said that “write what you know” is some of the worst advice to give to a novice screenwriter like myself. I completely understand this argument, to an extent. A writer must have imagination to create a fictional realm that will intrigue and inspire an audience. But here’s the thing: From where do we draw imaginative ideas? Are these truly from scratch? Not quite.

Our imagination is rooted in personal experience. Shonda Rhimes, a writer I look up to a great deal, spent time in hospital rooms and was fascinated by the atmosphere and dynamics. Thus, she imagined her own hospital. 12.5 years later, Season 14 will premiere on ABC. The same can be said for all of my fellow writers. Our imagination is an extension of what we learn when we spend quality time. Quality time absorbing the imperfections of humanity. I was celebrating the 4th of July earlier this week with a group of family and friends. So many conversations, emotions, stories, experiences, challenges, and triumphs were shared. It was a simple set up, but such rich conversation. This quality time is what inspires us to write.

Quality time is what inspires us to tell stories that connect with an audience. To remain isolated is to remain inexperienced in the struggle that is every day relationships with strangers and loved ones. We must value the lessons we learn from quality time and use them to impact an audience. After all, everyone’s got a story.

Escapism or comfort? Maybe both.

Escapism or comfort? Maybe both.

On December 17th, 2015, my first year of teaching, I was spat on by a middle school student. Yes, human spit. I tell you this only so that you understand the exact moment that I needed to find another passion. A focus, a goal, an additional aspiration that had zero ties to my career. You know, a dream.

Storytelling through screenwriting became that dream when I decided to sit down that night and “escape” from all the things that had happened to me at work. Teaching is, well, just ask a teacher. But make sure you have some time and a bottle or two. Anyway. I turned on episode 1 of Grey’s Anatomy. Now, we all know that this show has been on for years. 13 seasons, to be exact. Nevertheless, I was told it would help me ESCAPE. “You can watch to take your mind off of the kids,” a colleague said. Hmm, that’s how it started, I suppose. I gave it a try.

ESCAPISM, to me, is a passive approach to television. Television that passes the time, provides a laugh or two, or maybe even a tear. A distraction, a form of relaxation. You might be working on something, but it is on in the background. But don’t you ever have a book that you simply cannot put down? A movie that you can hardly breathe normally through? An episode you’ve been waiting all week for? That, my friends, is comfort. You have become so actively invested in a character, a storyline, or a chapter that you MUST tune in. You MUST. And we are comforted by this journey with these characters. It is inspiration and motivation from a completely fictional realm. It is no longer a distraction or something that you may or may not see that week, it is a NECESSITY. It satisfies your hope for something greater, your need to witness failure, and better yet, your enjoyment in a fictional triumph. It is comforting to have that to look forward to.

So, I’ll leave you with this. What show or movie gives you comfort? Clarity? Motivation? There are characters created by screenwriters worldwide that come from a paper, a pen, and a post-it. But for me, these characters become flawed, wildly imperfect beings trying to figure out what it means to be human. And to love every minute of it. Live television gives us that week-to-week suspense, that necessity in our life to believe that one day we can fight, fail, battle, cry, laugh, and love as tenaciously as these fictional beings do. That hope for a good outcome. The best part? We get even more excited when the outcome is the opposite of what we expected. Like everything in life, right?