Is being silly outside your comfort zone?
We tend to limit ourselves. Yes, I am speaking for all of humanity. I am qualified and obligated to do so. (Just kidding, but I’m going to do so anyway.)
One of my favorite quotes from Robert Frost is the “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Life does present us with paths from an early age and we unknowingly decide the course too soon. Who knows what passions we will have as we mature? yet at a tender age we are expected to select a path. Deviating from that path is frowned upon.
One of my favorite stories to tell is when I decided to leave the steel mill. I had arrived at the mill through a series of random events and passion certainly didn’t have anything to do with it. Answering an advertisement, as many people seeking employment do. Not thinking “Is this job a good match for me?” but rather thinking, “can I do this job?” But I digress.
After spending fourteen years at the steel mill I decided to move on. I needed to write and I felt the steel mill was allowing me to keep writing as a hobby rather than a career. I went in to my boss and said I was giving my two weeks notice. He asked what my plans were and I told him I was quitting to finish my first book and to pursue my writing. He had a puzzled look on his face and said, “Rob, are you sure you know what you are doing?” and I replied, “No.” A simple response. I was jumping off a cliff. Leaving security behind. But I did finish that book and went on to write a few more… (you can buy any of them here. Look around and click.. )
But my comfort zone needs to be disturbed again. I have written novels, screenplays and audio dramedy. Now I embark on the journey of my first musical for the stage. It’s an idea I’ve had for a while, but I never have pursued it. Now is the time. I am writing and am working with an accomplished musician to make it come to life.
It’s scary. I’ll admit it, but I am in a great place for it right now. The audio show (It’s about time travel agency) has wrapped after a great two year run. And now my time is again all my own. But not unlimited time. We all have only so many hours/days/years and you just don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so I have limited myself… or challenged myself to finish this in six months to a year.
I urge anyone to do the same. Think about your passion. Align a project. Give yourself a deadline. “There is no day but today” to quote another musical, so …Go! Do! Create!
It’s important to pat yourself on the back once in a while. Writing is a tough job and the kudos don’t come along that often, at least when you are starting – so give yourself props…
Here’s a bit of kudos on the podcast I write for. We were mentioned on Splitsider.com and that got picked up by the Huffington Post.
It’s about time travel agency is a podcast about two guys who run a travel agency which happens to have a portal that can send people back in time. I am one of four writers for the show, and the episodes mentioned on HuffPo were written by me with a bit of help from my buddy Douglas Clinton.
So here we are. Page one of Huff Entertainment, right next to Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence. They kind of missed that it’s the Rockette’s Red Glare, but I’ll forgive them…
Some good information here from Josh Bernoff… had to share.
Reading equals growth, never stop.
Currently reading: The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
Credit to robertbrewer.org. thanks for sharing
I’ve never had to use crutches in my life (knock on wood) but I have had to wean myself of verbal crutches in my writing.
My favorite crutch is the word “that.” That is over-used and many times can be dropped from your sentences without any impact on meaning. This is really funny because I glanced at a headline for an article on using twitter and “that” is the number one word to drop. Twitter makes you think of economy of characters for sure and superfluous verbiage should be sliced to the core. Ha. Superfluous verbiage. Who uses words like that in conversation? But you see crazy shit when stories are being told. Using 50 cent words when 25 cent words will do doesn’t make you seem smarter; you’re just making your reader work harder.
One of the best compliments I’ve ever received on my writing was “a super easy read.” Some writers might take that as a criticism or something to try to overcome, but people don’t want to work hard when they are reading. (By the way, this was from the review for Blaze Motors. You might want to check it out.)
A bit of fat goes a long way.
To keep this post brief, “really” “honestly” and “literally” are the other three words that add nothing. It reminds me of people who start a sentence saying “to tell you the truth.” Um, should I distrust everything you say unless it’s preceded by this phrase? “To tell you the truth” tells me you are about to tell me something I should seriously consider to be bullshit. You are telling me “the next part of this dialogue is going to sound impossible, but “trust me” it’s not.” Ha.
I am not saying cut out every word; just make sure you consider the purpose of each word you write. It’s sort of like a nice cut of beef. Marbled beef tastes sweeter… Cut the fat, but leave in some excess for flavor.