Tag Archives: creativity

40 Before 40: Call for Ideas

25 Oct

My 30 before 30 list will be drawing to a close in less than a month.  I have accomplished many of the things on the list.  There are a few I won’t get around to, but I’m not worried about it.  The point was to get myself to get around to actually DOING things I have been wanting to do.  Stressing myself over crossing everything off a to-do list isn’t the way to go.

Once I hit the big 3-0, I’m going to start on a 40 before 40.  I will probably carry over a couple unfinished things from my 30 list (see: go for hot air balloon ride).  But since I’ll have 10 years to work on my 40 before 40 list, I plan to have several more grand goals.  One goal I have in mind is to hike up to Macchu Pichu with Mountain Lodges of Peru (this will also involve me learning how to hike, and learning to LIKE hiking, which are no small feats for me).  There will probably be several travel goals on there, and goals to take certain kinds of classes (I’d love to take some cooking classes, particularly a knife skills class).  Maybe I’d even like to set a goal of learning something other than just the most rudimentary photography skills.  Of course I will also set some goals related to my career, whether it involves publishing articles or benchmarks on building my own client base.

What Would You Have on your 40 Before 40 list?

Completely Gratuitous Photo of my Kid Helping with the Shopping. Because She is Cute.

work and life

6 Oct

The guest post (by Sara of Your Creative Ally) on the When I Grow Up blog made me smile this morning– the post discusses business planning for creative types, but the illustration said it all:

Yes. This is my life.

AbbyinOz also posted an insightful article on BlogHer about running your life like a business.  Acknowledging that all things- work and play- take time, and that time is scarce, she recommends organizing and prioritizing personal (for lack of a better word) tasks, and building them in with your professional routine and schedule.  I already do this to a certain extent, I would be more likely to get small personal things done (calling to make a dentist appointment, putting the folded laundry away, etc) if I made it a more regular habit.  With this approach, I do have to accept that sometimes I feel overscheduled and hit a wall, and need a completely unscheduled day to regroup.

Thoughts on writing, and how I’ve become a writer.

21 Aug

Adjectives on the typewriter
He moves his words like a prizefighter
The frenzied pace of the mind inside the cell

“Shadow Stabbing,” Cake

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer (also a pediatrician, marine biologist, and teacher….but I frequently came back to “writer”).

In high school I was especially driven by hopes to be a fiction writer.  Friends would give me ideas or themes and I would write short stories for them upon request.  I was the biggest most hardcore dork in the creative writing club.  My proudest feat of the 10th grade was that I wrote a story that was 45 pages long.  I’m pretty sure everything I wrote was garbage.  My inspirations at the time were Stephen King and Clive Barker.  I was fascinated by all things dark and morbid.  I often felt like an outcast.  This is a perfect recipe for angst and melodrama.

Of probably 20 or so stories I wrote in high school, I believe I have a copy of only one, buried somewhere in a box I never bothered to unpack after we moved into our house 4 years ago.  I recall unpacking boxes, seeing the first page of the story, and thinking “I can’t bear to throw this away, but if I actually read it, I will die of embarrassment.”   Every now and then I tinker with the idea of trying my hand at fiction again.  I’ll come up with a theme or an idea, but have yet to put pen to paper.

I started college expecting to focus on chemistry, but hated organic chemistry so much that I abandoned the idea.  I had taken German for a few years and liked it well enough, and ended up majoring in German.  There was a part of me that still wanted to write fiction or creative nonfiction, but I never got around to it.  I took a few film analysis classes, children’s literature analysis classes, folklore analysis classes, and pop culture analysis classes.  I loved learning and thinking about all these topics, but really did not wrap my brain around critical thinking skills.  I could write a decent paper summarizing something, but I had significant difficulty deconstructing things, analyzing things, or interpreting things.  My professors tried to teach critical thinking, they really did.  I remember getting my final paper back in my pop culture analysis class.  I wrote about Oliver Stone’s “Natural Born Killers.”  My whole paper was about Oliver Stone’s vision of our bloodlusting, media-fervored society, and how he expressed this vision through extreme gore.  The professor’s comments on the paper: “That’s all very interesting about what Oliver Stone thought, but what did you think of the film?”

In my third year of law school, when I was working almost full time in a litigation boutique, I finally wrapped my brain around critical analysis.  It didn’t matter how many people explained it to me, I couldn’t really understand it until I found myself in a position, day after day, where I had to take an idea, parse it, and develop it inside and out in several different directions.  I had to develop winning arguments, losing arguments, counter-arguments, and novel arguments.  I often found myself in a position where there weren’t any authorities directly saying what I wanted them to say, but I had to interpret what was out there, justify it, and make it work as well for me as it possibly could.

I was listening to an old episode of the fabulous Filmspotting podcast today, and one of the hosts (I think it was Matty Robinson, but honestly don’t exactly recall…) was talking about a student who asked him what he should do to make it as a film critic someday.  Matty’s advice was “Write. Write every day.  Write about anything and everything.  It doesn’t have to be about movies. Just write.”  (ok, I’m paraphrasing)

I still have occasional moments of wishing I were a novelist, or writing clever investigative nonfiction books, or even a film critic.  But honestly, I’m there.  I’ve fulfilled my childhood dream, I am a professional writer.  As a litigator, my job is to read, interpret, analyze, and write convincingly for my client.  Sometimes when I feel gloomy about the 3 sets of discovery, appellate brief, 2 complaints, and research memorandum looming over my head, I remind myself that I am a writer.  It doesn’t do much to get the work done, but it makes me feel better about it.