TAKE A STEP BACK IF YOU WANT TO MOVE FORWARD
How the hell does that work? Seemingly conflicting ideas, sometimes taking a step backwards can actually be a step forward, in the right direction, towards your goals. Let me explain.
Arriving at the gym on Monday afternoon, I was greeted by my good friend Chad Ramsey, one of the stars of ‘What About Molly?’ As per any Monday conversation, the question comes up, how was your weekend? He spoke of relaxation, reading and writing. Sounded like the perfect weekend. Keen to social norms, Chad reciprocated, asking me the same.
“How was your weekend? Did you get a lot of editing done?”
My response caught him a bit off guard.
“No. I actually didn’t edit a single frame.”
Shocked...Hell, I even shocked myself. Lately, a typical day for me consists of waking up at 4:00AM and editing for a few hours prior to working. On weekends I had been filming, otherwise I would again be up early editing prior to jumping into the other aspects of my life outside of film. Yes, I have a life outside of film, kind of. Anyway, this was really against the norm for me and I have to say, it was a much needed break.
TIME AWAY FROM MY GOALS
With having my first free weekend in over two months, I made the conscious decision to step away from the film and just go enjoy life. On Friday, Andrea and I went to the movies. Yes, you read that correctly, we went to the cinema!!! I was in heaven, but I know what you’re thinking. How did you practice social distancing? Well, when you’re the only two in the theater, it isn’t difficult.
Saturday, we took a day trip into Dallas where we ventured to the largest Christmas store in Texas. I wasn’t impressed. Moving on, we took our talents to downtown Dallas, indulging in a restaurant we’ve never tried before, Yardbird. It was okay, but I do have to say their vegan options are very limited. Paying for our meal, we hit the road, driving back to Austin, making a few necessary stops along the way. All in all, it was a great day.
Jumping to Sunday, I didn’t do a damn thing. I relaxed, ate, cleaned, watched movies, spent time with Andrea and went to bed early. It was amazing. Exactly what I needed.
When Monday morning came around, the alarm sounded and it was 4:00AM. Coffee in hand, I decided it was time to sit at the computer and edit once more, however something was different. It was the same routine as every other day, but it didn’t feel like every other day. Something felt better about that morning. Something felt special.
When I sat to edit, I was refreshed. I was happy, had a smile on my face and really focused in on what I was doing.
Prior to the weekend, when I would sit to edit, it was becoming a chore. I wasn’t enjoying the process. Hell, I wasn’t even editing with passion or intent. I simply cut the scenes together just for the sake of cutting them together. I was suffering and so was the work, the passion, the art. I wasn’t doing anyone any favors and that includes myself. I needed to step away. I needed to move away from my goals in order to move towards them effectively. I needed a break.
We all follow people online who seemingly never quit. Always moving, always hustling, they don’t seem to have a pause button in sight. It’s all perception. Nobody can physically, or mentally for that matter, work themselves day and night without taking a little time off. It’s not only helpful, it’s necessary.
By taking time away, you get to reset. In the film world, you’re going to hear NO a lot. You’re going to create content that nobody gives a shit about. You’re going to spend HOURS pursuing this thing that is seemingly escaping you at every turn. If you don’t take time away, you’re going to burn out and quickly. Take time away, it’s okay.
Have you ever worked out before? Hit the gym? Gone for a run? After these exercises, you’re going to experience two things, muscle soreness and fatigue. If you try to replicate the activity without proper rest in between, your performance is going to suffer. You’re not going to be at your best. Your brain works the same way. If you don’t take necessary breaks, fatigue will set in and you won't be at your best. Again, I urge you, take a break.
It’s interesting to me that this has happened. I was always in the hustle hard mindset, refusing to take a break. I couldn’t see what I couldn’t see. I was blind to the fact that I was in a fatigued state. I didn’t know that I wasn’t at my best. This was a tough lesson to learn, but one that I NEEDED to be educated on.
Whatever it is you’re working on, whatever your goals, dreams and ambitions, don’t forget to take some time away. Stop working so hard, killing yourself, because fatigue is setting in and your work is going to suffer because of it. Your life will suffer, your friendships, your relationships. Take a break, enjoy life and I promise, you’ll come back stronger than ever.
- The Failed Filmmaker