It has been a while since I have written in my blog. How many of my blog posts start with this or something similar? It’s not like I don’t have anything to write. I’m up at night all the time because my mind is racing. Here are some of the things that keep me up at night pondering and that I have plenty to write about:
- Male/Female interactions – gender studies
- Attempting to learn French
- Raising Kids
- Being a husband
- Random cool stuff I want to learn or am pondering
- Cool people I have in my life
So if I have all this stuff to write, why haven’t I? I have a few theories that might be why I have blog writers block.
I’m keeping myself quite busy
While this is true, I have quite a busy life, I have also been spending a lot of time at home doing what amounts to very little. In order to increase my nerd cred I’ve started watching Doctor Who. I have spent many nights watching 2-3 episodes over the past few weeks. I guess I could reduce that to one. Then there is always the dreaded Facebook refreshing. Even though there isn’t much there I keep thinking I’ll get a notification any time now. So if I’m not keeping myself so busy that there is not extra time, what else is there?
I’ve limited my blog
A couple years back, in an attempt to get myself to write more I created a schedule for my blog. This spawned Just Another Magic Monday, Wednesday Warrior, Flash Friday and Sunday Funnies posts. At first, this worked. Then I stopped. Perhaps I don’t want a specific schedule, perhaps I just need a check in. There are no hard and fast rules saying I can’t post whatever and whenever I want so once again I have an excuse without weight. Any other stops?
Social media makes posting easier somewhere else
I am definitely an oversharer on Facebook and other social networks. I think this is part of the reason I have a Klout score that currently ranks around 60. The fact that I even know that is a sign. It is easy though. Take someone else’s content and just share it. Maybe I can add a one sentence opinion. This works but it still leaves my mind full of more flushed out thoughts and opinions that need to be refined and written down so as not to keep me up at nights. In fact, I think it even adds to my list. Especially during a presidential election year such as this.
I’ve pinpointed some beliefs that might be keeping me from writing. How can I use this knowledge to write. I can most assuredly only watch a single of Doctor Who (or any television show) to one episode a night. I’m a smart enough individual to know that those Facebook notifications are at least 50% game notifications and can wait until the next day. Nothing too pressing there. There are no hard and fast rules on my blog so I should work towards a schedule of writing anything once or twice a week rather than a schedule of writing something specific that never gets done. As for social media, I need to realize that is a consumption and sharing setup and doesn’t really fulfill my creative needs.
It is time to write! Now, what to write?
Here I am, with less than a week until my first performance in a long form improvisational comedy show. The show I’m in is called The Journal and parodies the tragic romances of Nicholas Sparks. I’ve had a weird experience with this show so I thought I would share it.
Warning: Logic does not apply
My experience with The Journal is based in my subconscious and the inner workings of my brain working against me. It is easy to apply logic and wonder why I had any issues. Shush! Logic does not apply here! Though it did finally lead me to the proper solution I was not being conscious of the way my emotions were leading me around.
Finding out about The Journal
Since moving back to Seattle I had decided to really focus on performing improv, rather than just taking classes, a reality. This led me to auditioning for Jet City Improv and ComedySportz Seattle. I had a lot of fun at the auditions but I didn’t even make callbacks for either. I talked a positive game afterward but, especially for ComedySportz Seattle I felt really bummed. I learned my improv chops through ComedySportz San Jose and really wanted to be a part of it here in Seattle.
Near the end of my Long Form Essentials class that I was taking through Jet City Improv, our teacher Mandy, sent out an email telling us all about upcoming auditions for The Journal. Also, she sent me a follow up email telling me that she put in a good word about me with the producer. This made me feel good because I think she is an awesome improviser who’s style I’d like to emulate in many ways. So I was riding high knowing I had made an impression with someone who I respect. That is, I was riding high until auditions.
For Jet City Improv and ComedySportz Seattle auditions I felt that I had done pretty good. I had a feeling I wouldn’t make the cut but I still felt I had done well overall. For the first audition to The Journal I had actually studied Nicholas Sparks movies and even watched The Notebook right before the audition. It seemed like a more serious piece so I was doing the serious thing of studying (something I never did much before). After the first audition I went home thinking I was in over my head. I felt some of the other improvisers did much better at long form theatrical improv and I had no chance.
To my surprise, I got called back! That good word from Mandy must’ve paid off, either that or they could tell, and appreciated, that I had recently watched The Notebook. In my mind, “Thank You Mandy!” There was no way I had made the difference there. I was there and I felt I had done a really poor job.
NOTE: Logic doesn’t really pertain here, as I said above, but logic says that when you do an audition you have no idea what the people running the auditions are looking for so do your best and then don’t worry about it
At the callbacks I realized only 1 or 2 others got called back and the rest of the people there knew each other from Seattle Experimental Theater‘s (SET) previous show Where No Man Has Gone Before. I had an inkling of feeling special but then I saw the people work together who knew each other. They were really connected with each other and were funny without even trying. I left that audition feeling worse about my performance than the last time, but hey – at least I made it to callbacks this time.
NOTE: If you’ve never done improv, you may not know that knowing your fellow improvisers helps so, so much.
Funny thing about how I felt about my performance, it didn’t matter. They offered me a part in the show! Thanks again Mandy! I obviously had nothing to do with it.
So off to rehearsals I went and this is when stuff really got weird for me. I didn’t act like my improv self at all. I’ll explain by going back in time to my educations at ComedySportz San Jose. I once asked my improv teacher Michael, what he thought I needed to work on to be a better improviser. For the most part, he said I had good instincts and I was never afraid to jump on stage first and try out an idea. The main thing he said I should work on is letting others take the spotlight and learn how to add to their ideas. Jumping back to rehearsals for The Journal, I was definitely attempting to practice giving others the spotlight but now I was timid and afraid of my ideas.
Things all came to a head one day when I was called in early by myself to work on my breathing while talking. Before I got there I was walking with the producer and explaining to her how I was getting something out of being in The Journal because I usually just jump on to stage and don’t do as much support. Her responses, “I really don’t see that from you”. Also, I did the breathing exercises with the Stage Manager and she realized that I was having the problems when I was second guessing myself. A mini lightbulb went off in my head at that point but I was still timid for the rest of that rehearsal. It was later that evening that I did some brooding (my form of soul searching I think) and came to some powerful realizations.
The first thing I realized was that I put a lot of pressure on myself because I didn’t want to let down Mandy who had stood up for my talents. I felt that if I did poorly, I wouldn’t just let her down but make her lose credibility as well.
It was then that I remembered something she said in class that I never thought I would need to do myself. She said that when she performs she actually gives herself permission to mess up. I took it a step further and decided to take a bigger risk and have since been saying to myself, “I give myself permission to fuck things up!” Funny thing about improv when you trust your fellow improvisers on stage, you can not break a scene no matter how hard you try.
I also realized something I have been hinting at a bit in this article, I was not giving myself enough credit. The rest of the cast were pretty much set before auditions even happened as they all knew each other from before. However, they asked me to join them and be a part of their show. They had other talented people try out but they chose me. Whatever the reason, they felt I would be an asset to the show and yet there I was acting like I didn’t deserve to be there. No more! I bring a certain energy to the table.
Finally, looking back at my previous auditions for Jet City Improv and ComedySportz Seattle I realized that I hadn’t given myself explicit permission to make any mistakes. Perhaps next time I audition for either I will give myself that permission and see if it helps. I may not make it (there are some amazing improvisers in Seattle) but at least I’ll feel that I put it all out there at an audition.
Now on to the show
I’ve only had a few rehearsals since the revelations, but I have felt so much better about each of them. The first day I was still a bit timid but I kept reminding myself that I give myself permission to fuck things up. Not only have I felt that I have performed better, but I have had more fun and been more connected with the rest of the cast. I’m not completely over the illogical self deprecating thoughts that are in my head, but by being conscious of them I can make choices without listening to them.
Only 2 more rehearsals until a dress rehearsal in front of an audience and then it is opening night. We’ve got 4 shows and I can’t wait to see what the audience brings each time. I know we are going to do great with whatever we are given.
I was thinking of holding off writing this until after the show, but I don’t see why I should. I can’t break the show, there are too many talented people working on it. I just hope that some other entertainer will read these words and get some insight for themselves. At the minimum, I will read it some day in the future and be reminded that I have permission to be bold.
As we come to the end of 2010 I say, “Thank Goodness!” 2010 has been a very eventful year, and not necessarily in the best way for many of those events. 2011 is going to be different. I am making a commitment to post at least one blog posting a week on my blog. Heck, I might even post from my phone to keep them short and sweet occasionally. 2011 is going to be a great year and I’d like to share as much of it with you as I can.
See you in the new year, or maybe earlier
Recently, I got offered a position at Merscom Games to be a flash developer for social media games. Everything is happening quite quickly and it made me realize a couple things.
- I have a lot to get done to move to another city so I’m going to have to take a break from blogging.
- I have been blogging too frequently to put the quality in I would like.
So, for the next couple weeks I’m going to take a break from my scheduled blogging times. When I come back I’m reducing the amount of scheduled posts to 2 a week. I will do this by staggering the posts. So one week I will do a Just Another Magic Monday post along with a Flash Friday post. The following week will consist of a Sunday Funnies post and a Wednesday Warrior post.
Hopefully this change will allow for me to put more time into my blog posts. At the same time, it should help me to continue to post even when certain major events occur.
So, until I am settled – adieu.
The past few months have been somewhat of a whirlwind at work. The person who was handling IT and server issues is no longer here so much of that duty has fallen to me. While I have some basic knowledge of how things work, I’m a much better programmer than server admin. Also, we starting publishing stuff to the cloud – The Rackspace Cloud. Then we began moving our clients mail services off of their servers and started using Mail Trust and all this while migrating every domain off of an old server to a newer server. All I have to say is thank goodness for Rackspace and their fanatical support.
In learning how to best manage our servers, I’ve learned to rely on Rackspace and their expertise, rather than attempting to teach myself the necessary skills. Plus, they are always doing their best to handle requests for things they are not even required to do. Then when the cloud came there were many unknowns for us, but the benefits were to great to pass up. Once again, Rackspace – having bought the Mosso cloud – has made the transition fairly easy. As for email, our clients were very worried at first – and rightly so. Email is the communication pipeline of many businesses. Now our clients are singing the praises of a much better email system and Rackspace makes it much easier to support. Finally, in regards to server migration. Well, server migration sucks anyway because there is so much time involved but moving SSL certificates and Unique IPs was a breeze ( for me anyway ) thanks to Rackspace. In fact, the migration was finished ahead of schedule.
Rackspace and their fanatical support reminds me of a book I read once – Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. There fanatical support makes them worth every penny we spend with them.