What Have You Done!?

Some people in the world of entertainment say you’re only as good as your latest project. While that may be true depending on the circles you’re in, it’s not valuable in the life of an artist to think that way. The industry may be hungry for the newest, best and brightest, but as writers, we’re better off cherishing all our efforts. That’s the key to a steady sense of self-esteem and pride in your work.

Let the tabloids and the paparazzi celebrate the artistic news of the day. You can celebrate your artistic life – all of it – in an ongoing way.

But why is that useful?

Every writer has moments of struggle and doubt. There may be a difficult day in the writers’ room on a show – or a tough period while developing a piece of work. There will undoubtedly be the “no thank yous” from producers, agents or jobs. Even a writers group may turn you down. And then what? If you’re used to judging your entire career by what’s happening now, you’re “now” may leave you feeling pretty crappy.

That’s a short sided view. The truth is, you’ve been creating dynamic, interesting, powerful work for some time. This is true whether you’ve won a ton of awards or no awards. If you’ve created anything, that effort, that time, that experience is worth remembering. In the difficult moments, you may be the only one who has the power to recall those past triumphs. And that’s your job – to transform the moment – to shift your mood. So do it.

Ask yourself “What have I done?” – You can make a simple list of your creations. You can write a bio. You can read your resume. If you have a website, go back and look it over – see the posts or the paragraphs about your artistic accomplishments. Luxuriate in them. If you don’t have a website – make one.

I can’t tell you how useful it’s been to list my creative projects privately and publicly – and to see them listed. Before I had a website, I used to think of myself as scattered, busy, aimless. Yes, there was some art in there, but the chaos reigned. When I put all the info in one place – when I saw, remembered how much I’d done – I finally understood the value – the impact of all that work. My brain wanted me to think my worth depended on what was happening in the moment. But this reminded me of who I’ve been all along. My history and my creative legacy was a gift that changed the way I looked at myself as an artist. The change was profound.

In advance of the next difficult artist-moment, take the time right now to answer the question. And to celebrate the answer.

What have you done?

List the artistic, crazy, experimental, joyous things. Soak in the accomplishments.

And then, let me know how it feels.

By | 2017-12-01T18:09:13+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Steve Harper
STEVE HARPER is a writer, producer and actor. He was on the writing staff of the Emmy Award winning ABC show American Crime (created by John Ridley) and spent two seasons writing for the USA Network show Covert Affairs. Steve's original web series SEND ME, about time traveling black people (writer, actor and Executive Producer) was nominated for a 2016 Emmy. As a playwright he has written more than 20 works that have been produced across the country. Through yourcreativelife.com, Steve has been working with artists of all kinds since 2008, helping them achieve clarity and focus in their creative careers. His specialty is working with artists as they write dramatic scripts. Steve has run workshops in New York, L.A. and in between. Through live events, online seminars, and his channels on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, he’s helped thousands of writers and artists. Steve taught for The Harvardwood Writers Group, Young Playwrights and The Creative Gym. He’s been an instructor at the UCLA Extension School and a guest artist at Interlochen School for the Arts, Drexel University’s summer program in L.A. and USC’s Annenberg School. A graduate of Yale, The A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard and the playwriting program at Juilliard, he was certified by the Creativity Coaching Association in 2013.