Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a workshop in which several studio executives and television writers shared their accumulated wisdom about the industry. What came up time and again was the necessity of knowing yourself as a writer – and being yourself at all costs.
We are used to thinking of this kind of advice as cliché. We picture those old-school after school specials starring some sad, unpopular teenager whose mother tells him to just be himself – “Your true friends will love you just the way you are!” We roll our collective eyes and think “Yeah, right.”
However, it turns out that that tired advice is true. As writers – and artists of all kinds – it is not choice of materials, or connections, or where you went to school, or even years of experience that matter most. At all stages of our careers, we must know whom we are, and stay true to that no matter what.
This is easier said than done, of course. Our consumer-driven, materialistic society is obsessed with the idea that we are not okay as we are. We are flawed in every possible way – but if we buy Widgets A, B, & C, maybe, just maybe, there is hope for us! The artist’s way of life, however, rejects this notion. Not only are we “okay” the way we are. Staying who we are is absolutely essential to the proper functioning of the world. You matter. You are the way you are for a reason. So get in touch with it and play!
This may be difficult if you are relying on your art for money. But, even so – do what you have to do to put food on your table. But always, always, put some time aside to work on your own projects – the things you really love and want to do. That is your real art. That is your gift to yourself and to the world.
So, have a beautiful week of love and creativity. And, no matter what – be the best version of You you can be!