1. Write a thank you note to an arts teacher who changed your life. Seriously, I know gratitude can seem trendy right now or overrated, but when is the last time you got tired of someone thanking you for something? Spend a few minutes thinking about the music teacher that helped you to get out of your shell or the theatre professor who helped who to take a big leap. Got someone in mind? Good. Now write them an unabashed thank you letting them know specifically how they helped you and what you will never forget about their class. The world needs more thankfulness, and not just at Thanksgiving.
2. Email or call someone who you would like to make something with and make plans to meet in person about it. How many times do we dream up something in our own heads, get super pumped about it, and then after a few days (if we're lucky), let it fizzle out? I'm raising both hands high over here. Artists pride themselves on making something from nothing on their own, but the truth is that being a strong, independent artist doesn't mean going it alone. Use the power of the age old buddy system to let someone else in on your idea, and let the teamwork help to propel you forward to the next step.
3. Speaking of next step, ask yourself what is the very next step you need to take for a creative endeavor. Not the 100th step or even the 10th step, but the next step. Likely the next step isn't glamorous and doesn't feel very consequential. Do it anyway. Planning your own theatre company? Before you start costume designing your first show and start worrying about printing tickets, start by downloading any form that you may need to fill out to become an LLC or a not for profit entity. Glamorous? No. A functional and bite size way to help you keep walking towards the dream? You bet. What's your bite size next step today?
4. Start making coffee dates with people who you want to learn from and/or collaborate with. For the longest time, resisted the idea of reaching out to people I wanted to learn from or work with, partly out of concern for overloading my already full schedule, and partly because I believed that reaching out meant asking for help, which was not ok in our modern "every (wo)man for herself" kind of world. Enter 2018. This month alone, I've arranged a handful of coffee dates with fascinating people in my field that I wanted to get the chance to talk to face to face, no Facebook required. This introvert is convinced: meeting up with someone who is doing really cool work in the world is awesome and inspiring. Connecting with people who share similar dreams and goals or who are doing the kind of work you hope to do yourself someday helps to shed light on strategies, resources, and steps we might take to move a bit closer to where we want to be. Whether it's a goal, a fear, or the need for advice, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Connect to someone in your creative community today.
5. When all else fails motivation wise, remember these wise words: "Done is better than perfect." Write these words down on post-it notes if you have to, and stick them everywhere you need to see them: the bathroom mirror, your office, the door to your apartment, on your laptop. That screenplay in your head? Better to hold a seemingly perfect screenplay hostage in your head, or let it make its way onto the page and become a real piece of art, one with flaws, questions, and typos? Easier to get a draft out onto the page that needs editing than to ruminate about how to "fix" something that doesn't exist outside of your imagination. Set a timer for 20 minutes today and start that thing you want to do. No promises about being perfect needed.
Wishing you a week of imperfect action towards whatever it is that you are dreaming of making. We're all in this together.