I’m a Creative Who’s Created Nothing (A Change and Challenge)

I have been slacking lately. I search my soul and find something I love, stick with it for a few days or weeks, and then move on. I get caught up in the day-to-day. The emotions, the joys, the stresses, and small successes.

And I forget about the big picture. My big picture. I forget that I’m a storyteller, destined to make things that wake people up, excite them, motivate them. I have the drive and passion in me. I just need to do the work — the hardest part. The dream is easy.

I said I’ve been slacking lately, but when I take a hard look, I feel like I’ve been slacking all my life career-wise. I never push myself. I feel that because I want it, it will eventually come. Talk about entitlement. Can I blame my cushy, white, middle class upbringing?

But really, the only time I’ve pushed myself to create something I’m truly, truly, truly proud of is-

Never.

It’s sad, and hard to admit. Quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever admitted — especially because I consider myself a creative.

I’m racking my brain for something I’m proud of career-wise and can’t find squat. Yes I’ve written some stories. But these are small stories. Stories I wrote that didn’t have a goal behind them. They were just words and emotions and actions. They are introspective of my own life at best. Written for me, not for the public.

Up to this point, I have failed as a public servant. I have failed my duty to entertain, excite, stir, and make cry. I have failed my duty as a storyteller.

But all is not lost. There is still time. I have found the form that I love — screenwriting — and will give it the shot of my life. I will commit my heart to it, battle the fear of failure, and struggle through the hellish days when I want to veer from routine (“You’re not feeling it tonight. Don’t rush it. Take tonight off. Have a beer instead and relax.”)

In the beginning, creating great things requires sacrifice. And this sacrifice, I believe, is mandatory for obtaining the intangible victory that bests everything material. This victory is the secret shared by all who sacrifice and create.

I can’t avoid this sacrifice any longer. I must put in the work. I must forgo fleeting pleasures and sit down and write. Because if I don’t sacrifice now, I will continue to suffer as a creative who is a non-creative. For creatives, this is the worst suffering of all.

So it’s time for a change. A pretty big change. Right now, not later.

Yes I’m starting a screenwriting class at UCLA in January 2016, but a class is just a class. Sitting through a class is not hard. Writing is hard. Before I would have been content with being enrolled. I would have lied to myself and said “This is the start of something new. You’re on the right track.” Such baby-go-to-sleep words.

Creation requires action — not a class. While learning helps you create great things, action is necessary for creating great things.

So what am I going to do about it? I’m going to challenge myself. Really challenge myself and stick to the challenge. And if I fail, I fail myself — not the challenge. That is the consequence. This consequence will damage my soul; completion will change me forever.

The Challenge: Create a short movie script and find someone to make the film in 31 days.

The Real Challenge: Having never written a movie script and having zero knowledge about script pitching.

I will start this challenge on December 1, 2015, and will create a blog post each day documenting my progress up until December 31, 2015.

Want to create something meaningful too? Take your own trip with me.