Tag Archives: Adversity

The Value of Plan B

plan-763855_1920The creative process is messy.

The journey you will take toward giving authentic expression to your creative voice is rarely a straight line. You may begin at Point A, completely miss Point B, and end up at point D. The road will be filled with potholes, pit stops and occasional smooth pavement. There will always be bumps.

One of the most influential people in my life is a man named Richard King. When I was in high school, and had just discovered the freedom that writing could bring, Richard encouraged me. It meant something coming from Richard because he had creative chops of his own.

A singer/songwriter with an amazing voice, Richard wrote songs for numerous country music stars during the 1970’s, including Mel Tillis and Roy Clark. Richard also appeared on stage in Las Vegas. It was a rocky road, though. As Richard would tell it, “I had terrible stage fright – it would take a lot of whiskey to give my performance courage.”

That path was unsustainable, so his creative expression took another form. Besides music, Richard also had a gift for designing and crafting very high end pieces of jewelry. Each original piece was a work of art – and he made his living making custom rings for many years in his Northern California studio.

The music industry is a tough business. Richard had the stuff to be a star – but it was messy and extracted a price he no longer wanted to pay as a performer. His Plan B, though, not only made for a nice living, but still fulfilled the creative expression his soul needed.

And he never gave up music. In fact, he had a small recording studio in his home. He even occasionally played local gigs for charity.

Richard always had – and still has – a certain star power, It just wasn’t on the road he originally set upon.

You see it in most creative types – a diversity of interests and talents. Jessica Simpson designs clothes. Ice-T is a rapper turned actor. Stephen King plays guitar in a band. NFL star Vernon Davis is also a gifted visual artist.

Sometimes Plan A and Plan B run side-by-side. Sometimes they merge. Sometimes Plan B becomes Plan A or Plan C.

The secret is to be open to new ideas, new thought, new action. Richard’s path was his own and chosen with conscious intent.  It was authentic, allowing him true expression.

There was tremendous value in his Plan B – and there will be value in yours. Plan B doesn’t mean forsaking a dream – it could mean writing novels instead of screenplays, or painting murals instead of portraits. It could also mean directing plays instead of playing the lead. Whatever it is, if chosen with integrity it is the right and true choice for you.

Weed Slog Syndrome

I live and die by deadlines. As a writer I’ve abided by due dates my entire career. As someone with ADD this has been no easy task because sometimes Weed Slog Syndrome hits and there isn’t much I can do about it.

Weed Slog Syndrome?

It’s a combination of overwhelm, brain fog, and the inability to focus. You feel like you’re slogging through a mud marsh filled with ten foot tall weeds. Caffeine doesn’t work. Supplements don’t work. Even the adrenaline that sudden urgency typically brings is not present. You’re just slogged.

Well, I just got slogged. I haven’t missed a deadline in quite some time, but I did this week. Let me tell you, it made me spin.

I suck. I’m gonna get fired. It’s not my fault (my favorite). Maybe you know this script?

I made a mistake. I got a date wrong. What I wrote was pretty good. Of course, that was negated because I missed the freaking deadline.

I gave myself permission to kvetch for a bit. I think that’s better than swallowing and spinning on my self-anger. It’s a release.

And then I asked God for His grace to cover me, to forgive my humanness. And then I accepted that I had made a mistake, and that whatever consequences occurred, I would accept them with humility.

Getting Slogged isn’t an excuse. It’s like playing a football game in the snow. It’s messy, but you still have to plow through to the finish.