Create your own work. Do it. I said this a lot at camp and I’m still saying it because I MEAN IT. It is the most important lesson I have learned as an actor/artist/creative person. Using your own creative expression can dig you out of life’s holes. Are you feeling depressed? Write a poem. Are you stressed out about school? Draw a picture. Is nothing going your way? Start your novel. Most importantly, creating your own work is incredibly fun.
Let me tell you a story, I was in a rut at the very beginning of this year. The acting stuff was going moderately well, but I wasn’t in a show. I had no outlet for my creativity and as a result, I was feeling pretty down. I lucked out around that time, because I met my writing partner, Alyssa, and she was feeling pretty much the same as I was. So we started making silly videos online under the name Former Fat Kids Society. We had no experience with film. Zero. None. However, I had a decent camera that someone had convinced me to buy a couple of years earlier. So we got to work. We learned as we went. We made big, public mistakes. We crashed and burned. But here is the awesome thing…eventually we got better. We raised money for a series we wrote, OREGONe, which we both wrote, directed, produced, and acted in. We had no experience with any of these things, but we did them! And we succeeded!
It’s often a very scary thing to be creative. We’re trapped in a society that says if you’re not good at something, then you shouldn’t do it. Society says “Stick to your strengths.” But sometimes our strengths aren’t the most fun. Sometimes we crave a challenge. Sometimes we just want to draw a cartoon even though we “suck at drawing” by traditional standards. Well, I say that’s nonsense. I want you to draw, paint, write, create, act, or whatever your personal expression is. I believe it will be beautiful because you created it and literally nobody in the whole entire world could make the same thing. You are a unique ball of light and joy and creativity and you should follow that light and see where it leads.
There is an Amy Poehler quote about this very subject that I absolutely love and I’ll share it with you now: “Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself”
Here is my secret: Every time I enter a new creative endeavor, I’m scared to death. The starting is the hardest part. However, once you start, it gets so so so much easier. You realize “Yeah, I got this. I’m freakin’ awesome at this.” And maybe you’ll decide it’s not for you, but hey! You tried! And that’s something to be proud of.
My challenge to you this month is to try something new. If you’ve never written anything, write something! If you haven’t drawn since you were a kid, draw something! And share it with a friend! Share it with me! Share it with the world! You might discover a new part of yourself that you didn’t even know was there.
I hope you take me up on this challenge. I can’t wait to see the abundance of creativity that you have within yourself.
Until next time,