At Storyline, we’re pretty even keeled. We don’t get too excited or worried and things pretty much get handled ahead of schedule. How that happened with a group of artists, I don’t know, but everybody who works with us seems to appreciate our flow of business. Essentially, if we are rushing, we know we’ve done something wrong. Of course there are plenty of great reasons in life to rush. If you’re an ER doctor or a professional ping-pong player, rushing seems appropriate. But in most endeavors, feeling a constant sense of urgency and panic means somebody hasn’t done their job.
The truth is, you are likely very skilled in business, in parenting, in writing or in any other career of choice. And chances are what separates you and me from the greats is more than just skill. What separates us is how we respond emotionally and mentally to challenges. I’m not the best writer in the world, but there are plenty of writers at my level who are producing much more work. Why? They’re better at the mental game.
If you share yourself with the world you’re going to be criticized. The world may seem like a nice, safe, warm place, but as soon as you put yourself out there’s a good chance you’ll be a target for criticism. If you’re not careful, you’ll start feeling like a character in The Lord of the Flies. So how do you survive it? How do you keep putting yourself out there?
Years ago I lived in a small condo with about twenty other tenants. They were mostly an older crowd, educated, dignified and retired. During my first few months in the condo, I was watched like a new pet. I remember one evening when I took my trash out, turning around and seeing more than one person leaning over the balcony to see if I was recycling. Legalism isn’t just a problem for Christians, it seems.
I often do not trust people. In the world of Facebook and Twitter where you can get criticized on the hour, distrust is easy to build. But the truth is, people are much more kind than we’d assume. Awhile back I went to the local playground to walk my dog. It’s normally empty and Lucy loves to run around and chase a ball in the small, fenced area. On this particular day, though, a bunch of kids came walking up, loudly shouting, laughing and just goofing off. My first response was to get out of there.
One of the main problems I deal with is trying to manage too many projects. And most of those projects are big. If you’re like me, you have trouble breaking down massive projects into manageable pieces and executing each piece well. And when I can’t break things down easily, I tend to freeze. This creates obvious problems. But I learned something from Dr. Henry Cloud awhile back that helped tremendously.
I’ve had a couple friends speak into my life who changed it dramatically. Both of them told me something on the same theme: “Don, you are good at relationships.” At the time, I thought nothing could be further from the truth. I was going through a painful breakup in which I’d made enormous mistakes. I was terrible at relationships.
Today, though, I no longer believe this is true. And partly, I don’t believe it’s true because I had friends around me who refused to see me in black and white or good vs evil terms. They saw my…
Here in Tennessee, an important piece of legislation is about to be passed or rejected. And it’s a hot topic. The more I speak with my fellow Tennesseans about Amendment 1, and for that matter the challenging personal and social issues surrounding abortion rights, the more I realize people who are able to see an issue from multiple angles are being forced into the woods.
Writing books is a no-feedback game. Certainly you can ask friends to review your work, but that’s dangerous. The truth is you know when it’s good and you know when it’s not and if you’re asking for opinions you’re likely not doing your best work.
I meet writers all the time who have talent. They can turn a phrase and reel the reader in. Their use of words is almost magical. And yet, as the years go by, they fail to produce. What’s the problem? I know it well, because I deal with it myself. And it’s a challenge I […]
Every story is about one thing, the arc of the character. What I mean by that is unless the hero changes, you’ve got no story. They have to be cowardly at the beginning and brave at the end, or selfish at the beginning and altruistic at the end. Something in the character has to change or the audience loses interest.