Tag Archives: fear

The Last Post: Closing One Door, Opening a Window

It’s been eight months since I started this blog and I’m very proud of the work I’ve done. But more importantly, I’ve immensely grateful for everything I’ve learned in the process. I’ve found tools to enhance my creativity and productivity. I have rekindled my passion for writing. I’ve developed a routine that harnesses my imagination. And because of that, I’m dedicating myself to living in a way that best serves my creative goals.

What does that mean? It means that there may come a day where the right company offers me the right position behind a desk with hours that range from 9 to 5. And when I say “right” I mean a company that produces the content I wish to produce and a position that will allow me to grow and build with a team of storytellers. But for today, right now, I’m going to strive to live and work outside of a cubicle, outside of the 9 to 5.

To achieve that I must put on my “indie” writing hat, or should I say “hoodie” and get to work. So I won’t have much time for Creatives Culture anymore. Should you come across this posting many moons after its original publishing, I highly recommend reading two works that changed my life. First check out a commencement speech by J.C. Herz and then check out The Accidental Creative. Between those two you will find everything you need to survive in corporate America and/or be a creative individual.

If you are looking for me, you can find me on Twitter @dubysquared to see what’s engaging me, on Tumblr at wandaweithers.tumblr.com to see what is inspiring me or see what I’m writing at writtenbywanda.com–my online portfolio. I leave you with the famed 2005 Standford Commencement speech by Steve Jobs. Rest in Peace.

Wanda
Living with no plan b!

Stop Climbing the Wrong Ladder: How Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling motivate the late bloomer in me

I was late getting on the train to Hogwarts. While working at Nickelodeon Networks, the head of the department was appalled that I and another co-worker had not read the Harry Potter series. So as a requirement of working in children’s television, I began reading about the boy who lived.

Harry Potter Cartoon depiction from 7-8/15-11 Special Collector's Double Issue

After reading 4,224 pages from J.K. Rowling’s imagination in about 7 months, I was exhausted and exhilarated. That woman created an entire world that was impressive and engaging. I was a Potterhead fan after book one. No holes. No contradictions. Mystery, romance, action, fantasy. She did it all in those pages.

As a budding writer myself I grabbed at anything about J.K., her writing process and her story. She is a literary role model for me. Beyond her writing skills and business prowess in the publishing world (see Pottermore news here. Gangsta!) the most encouraging thing about this author is when she started her writing career.

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly (a must read for real fans–meaning you’ve read and watched) with Daniel Radcliffe on the cover, I read something that made my heart leap:

“Rubbish.” That was the producer David Heyman’s first reaction to the long-winded title of Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone by an unknown 32-year-old author named J.K. Rowling that landed on his desk in 1997.

Isn’t that just awesome?! Do you see it? “…unknown 32-year-old author.” Whooo hoo! At 32 that chick was unknown to the world. She was a researcher, a teacher, married, divorced, a mother, poor, depressed–all before 30. Then, she completed the book that would change her life.

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

30 is a great age. I feel like a veil of foolishness rose from my eyes the day after I turned 30. But in today’s world where multimillionaire celebrities are barely legal and the latest billionaire dropped out of school to find their fortune, 30 sometimes feels—not old—but too late.

Maybe not for you, but for me, at times I felt 30 was too late to change course and start over. And if you are nearing 35, 40 or 50 you may feel that more than me. Those few words in that article just reminded me that it’s never too late to get started on your purpose. After $400 billion in sales, I think it’s safe to call writing Harry Potter J.K.’s purpose. Not because she made a lot of money, but because she created something that millions of people, an entire generation of readers enjoyed.

The best part is maybe she needed that time being unknown. Would she be able to write about friendship, love and death so brilliantly straight out of high school? Now I’m not dogging young prodigies that find success before they can drive. I’m just saying, don’t let age discourage you. Never feel as if it’s too late to climb the right ladder. Even little Harry Potter had to catch up on what it meant to be a wizard and we all know how that turns out. At least we’ll know today.

The point is at 32 she was unknown. Today, I’m unknown. You’re unknown. But someday you could be the owner of a cute little business that makes the news online, the employee everyone admires because your side hustle pays for awesome vacations or the retiree that lived out a lifelong dream and inspires your community. One day, I’ll be the accomplished writer/producer who quit her enviable job in New York at 32.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT. 2 TRAILER 2

Maybe I’m just saying this because I’m so excited to finally be on my right path that I want everyone I know (and don’t know, lol) to do the same. Free yourself from the fear or comfort that is keeping you at a position you know is out of line with your passion and purpose. Stop climbing the wrong ladder! If you are anything like me, you aren’t getting that far anyway. It’s not too late to find a way to make a living (or supplement your livelihood) that is fulfilling.

For some of you that means changing companies, starting your own or changing gears completely. I wrote all of this to say…I started this blog to say, doing what you love in an environment that stimulates your creativity and innovation is not a privilege of a chosen few–tech-savvy millienials or old heads in the corner office–it’s your right. You can get on the right path at any age. And more importantly, you deserve it. Develop a plan. Build your resources. Step out on faith. Do something. Just don’t stay trying to climb the wrong ladder.

My Scary Date in LA

It’s not as bad as you think. I’ve mentioned that I’m reading The Artist’s Way. After The Morning Pages, the author encourages folks to start setting Artist Dates. The date is dedicated time for you, and you alone, to engage in an activity that nurtures your imagination. Julie Cameron, the author, recommends you have one weekly.

So while I was in Los Angeles last week, preparing for my relocation, I took in the beach and the mountains for my Artist Date. As many times as I’ve read the book, this was my first time trying it.

After hanging out at the Santa Monica Pier, (where they wouldn’t let me ride the Ferris Wheel by myself. ugh!) I drove through the Pacific Palisades. My eye caught a sign for the Topanga State Park. It turns out my inner artist is an explorer.

Immediately, was compelled to find this park. Through the canyons on an instant incline, I drove mile after mile. The signs were growing fewer and farther apart. I became worried. I was driving without a map on a strange road.

I turned down the radio. Opened the windows. 55 degrees started to feel warm. An uneasiness filled my chest. I leaned into the steering wheel. I wasn’t sure if the feeling prancing around inside me was the mascot for embarrassment or fear. That’s when the worst happened. Ding! The gas light was on.

How much gas did I have left? Walking for transportation in Brooklyn the last nine years, I had no freaking clue. I pulled out my Garmin navigation and looked for the nearest gas station. 2.5 miles. How far is that?! I sped back down the Canyon. Then I thought, “Speeding will burn more gas.” Ahhh! Clearly I was clueless and officially scared. Finally, I saw a Chevron in the distance. I thanked God as I pulled into the station, as I pulled out the pump and as I swiped my card.

After avoiding a silly and, perhaps, dangerous mistake I resumed my search. The uneasiness returned, though in a smaller dose. Maybe it needed more than 10 minutes to fade away, I thought. But it never went away. With a half-tank of gas, I just got used to it. Soon I found the trailhead to the park.

The view invigorated my soul. Still, the journey was the best part of my trip. I learned three very important things. One I already shared, I like to explore. As I inhaled the crisp air I realized the second. Being unprepared is lighter fluid for becoming anxious and fearful. My subconscious mind remembered I was low on gas while my Id ignored it. I thought about getting gas before leaving Santa Monica but didn’t. I was so eager to get on the PCH that I didn’t even look for a gas station even though I knew the tank was low. The good news is that I can subvert anxiety and fear by being as prepared as possible.

The third lesson from my scary artist date in LA, was that I can survive and succeed while experiencing a bit of fear. It was a new experience in a strange town–who wouldn’t be a little uncomfortable? At least now I know that a little fear in my chest isn’t enough to stop me for a mission. It won’t trick me into retreating.

I don’t know what my next artist date will be. (It ended up being on the Brooklyn bridge.) I hope it’s not a scary one. If it is though, I can deal with it. Am I completely fearless now? No. But I am more fearless than the day before. If I can push the limits on the level of fear I can operate under, driving without a map on unknown roads will be a frequent adventure. I am confident this will make me a better writer and producer. I won’t be trapped by comfort or familiarity anymore. I got a taste of the open road and I liked it. Overall, it was a good date.

What could pushing the limits of your fear do for you?