*Photo By Justin Patterson
Try Something New
Because rinse and repeat isn’t always the best way to live
Change is hard, or so I’ve heard. You know what’s harder? Boredom. Repetition. Routine. Drudgery. Never getting anywhere. It’s crazy-making. I’d rather go and do something entirely new with myself and maybe fail at it, than keep doing the same thing over and over again, and just not grow at all as a person or artist. I couldn’t and I won’t. Staying in place is really going backwards.
About four months ago, I began to write a play for the first time in my life. I’ve never considered myself a writer and I don’t think I would even now. I’m sure my high school English teachers would be surprised that I willingly wrote anything at all!
Last week was the reading of the first draft of my play. The one I affectionately call the vomit draft. (Cue scary sound effect) I invited a few close creative colleagues whose opinions I respect to come listen to it, and then give their feedback. I wasn’t nervous about it until 4pm when my system caught up to my calendar and I realized we were doing this! But in spite of my panic, I was not torn down by said colleagues, ripped to shreds, or told I should never write another word again. (Like my nerves would have me believe.) Instead, these folks gave me real constructive feedback on how I could proceed with the project. I had been stuck in a writers block, and now I have a new way to go forward. I thought my play would be relegated to the half hour I imagined it to be. Suddenly, it’s become a piece that could be 90 min long, with more layers I ever would have thought of on my own, and all because I had the courage to show it to others.
See, if we never try anything new, whether it be something as simple as a tasting a new type of cuisine, to something as big as a career change, we can’t expect to grow as people. Find yourself in a rut? Try something new. Who knows what it will spark for you.
Not everyone is willing to do this. I once knew an Australian businessman who claims to have written a novel that in all reality just inhabits the back of his desk drawer. It’s written, which is a step in the right direction, but it has never seen the light of day, or been read or critiqued by anyone who could point this man in any kind of direction. It’s a shame really, because who knows what that novel could be? I suppose the world may never find out because without the courage to move it forward, that novel has almost no chance of leaving the back of the desk drawer. It, and the businessman are quite comfortable where they are. My theory is that many times we are waiting for it to be perfect to show it to others. Waiting for something to be perfect will be waiting forever because perfection is unattainable by nature, and so it is an easy way to procrastinate and avoid the scariness of change, without admitting that’s what you are doing.
Think of a little kid, about preschool age. Someone shows them a new game, or toy, or costume, and they’ll most likely just pick it up and start trying it out. They don’t worry about being perfect at it, or if it will be too risky an investment, or if it’s “on brand!” They just go play with freedom from self-evaluation. See, no one has convinced them of any reason not to try whatever it is set in front of them. That happens later, sadly. As the creators of the musical “Title of Show” said so eloquently; “Die Vampire Die!”
So much like my experience with the first reading of the play, be courageous enough to try a new thing, be willing to show what you’ve done to others, and be open to hear the wisdom of those you trust. It’s a bulletproof promise you won’t go wrong!
Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!