As I type this here first draft, I’m supposed to finish something for a paid gig, but I must stop before the thought leaves my head….
It’s only October and like the big overthinker I am, I’m already planning my new year’s resolution for 2018. You see, for 2017 I only set one goal: be a beast.
For 2018 my resolution is: keep being a beast.
Like anyone else I faced challenges, and to be fair, my challenges are nothing compared to people with more difficulties in their lives.
I set out to be a creative and try to somehow pay for my bills with that full-time in 2015 and I’ve more or less being doing that since then. Then I saw Selma, started following Ava DuVernay on Twitter and remembered that 17-year-old me planned on being a film director, so I set off on the even more insane idea of becoming a writer-director while relying on freelance writing gigs to pay the bills.
ME. A serial procrastinator. I juggled with productivity methods until this year, I remembered that I promised to be a beast. We use the term beast-mode in American culture to refer to a person who never gives up. And I couldn’t give up! I plastered my theme all over Facebook and Twitter like an idiot so this year I:
- Wrote, directed and edited two short films, for which I also provided the voice-over (I never said they were any good though…)
- Wrote a feature-length screenplay for a comedy
- Finished research for a feature-length documentary
- Somehow paid the bills through writing and made it through most of the year without going through the red even once
- Visited two countries, and am packing for a third (Mexico, El Salvador, Chile)
- Started yoga and running
- Gave up sugar except for some desert here and there
- Wrote a ton of poetry
- Picked up on some flamenco guitar techniques
- Started teaching myself to rap (I’ve been doing extreme dental treatment since the age of 24 that had to become more intense of last year because I’ve lost a lot of bone. For a lot of reasons…. the point is, my speech patterns are being affected and I find this is the best way to exercise my jaw. So no, I don’t plan on releasing a mixtape or anything…)
- I learned some Italian and realized I speak more French and Portuguese than I thought.
I’m still in the process of
- Pre-production for a short documentary that I hope to finish before the year’s end
- Finishing a second screenplay
- Editing a novel I started writing when I was 23 haven’t touched since NaNoWriMo 2015 (because I procrastinated on that project BIG-TIME)
- Coming up with a financial plan for 2018 to take care of stuff like savings, student loan payments, and other projects.
And look, I’m not bragging about this for the purpose of bragging. I just wanted to share this because I too, spent copious amounts of time on Netflix watching a bunch of series. I spent a lot of time responding to DT’s tweets and clicking on Facebook for hours, uploading too many photos on Instagram… but I always went back to being a beast.
Because the thing is, I care more about making movies, writing stuff down, and traveling than I care about comparing myself to others on social media. All procrastinators procrastinate differently, so my method may not work for everyone, but I can tell you that I was able to accomplish these things because I wanted to.
I wanted to learn a third language. I wanted to become a guitar master (I’m not that, but I think if I keep practicing then by time I’m 40 I’ll be 1% as good as Hendrix). I wanted to travel, and I had help from people who wanted me to be where they are…. I want to make makes more than I want to live, and most days when I’m feeling empty I find that writing a screenplay, coming up with an outline, or planning a stupid short film takes away the void I feel when I’m not doing this. And when I need to relax I just listen to some Kendrick Lamar or something*.
I share this because even we procrastinators deserve to know we’re capable of something even as we feel like failures. If we don’t write down what we do have enough discipline to finish, then no one will be there to keep track, and all the pain of those wasted hours will have been for nothing. So, what are you doing?
*I’m listening now.