[IN THE TRENCHES] Enjoy the Moment

I think I’ve always had a problem with looking ahead.

On the surface, “looking ahead” sounds like a good thing, an ambitious thing. But it can actually be quite problematic.

Edward Norton as Bruce Banner mediating in "The Incredible Hulk" (2008).
You wouldn’t like me when I’m not enjoying the moment

The problem being that when you spend all your time looking ahead, you’re not quite being where you are. Not being in the here and now.

What does this have to do with writing you may wonder? Plenty, I respond (why are we talking like this?).

It’s no secret that getting writing work is difficult. So if you are fortunate enough to get some, don’t let yourself get completely consumed by the notes and deadlines.

Find the time to mentally step back and relish the moment. Be tickled. Be thrilled. Be proud.

Years ago, while on a series abroad, I had a lot of responsibilities. We were far away from home, working a six day week for six months straight, and that stress weighed on me. I think we did a great job and produced a great show. But it’s hard to say I enjoyed it.

Obviously, these things are easier said than done, but looking back now, I don’t think I spent enough (any?) time feeling excitement or satisfaction. That was a mistake.

In these situations, it’s critical to appreciate exactly where you are, not where you want to be next. It doesn’t make you lazy, or unambitious, or stagnant. It’s just essential to your soul to embrace the experience as it happens.

In the entertainment business, a lot of things that seem promising don’t actually come together. Potential work doesn’t materialize, doesn’t get bought, or doesn’t get produced.

"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (1973).
Don’t forget to be thankful too

Which is why you can’t wait until the cameras start rolling on a project before you get thrilled about it.

If you advance in a writing competition, feel the validation. If you get optioned, celebrate the victory. You never know if you’ll get to experience something like that again.

The buzzword you hear a lot these days is Mindfulness. Being Mindful. Mindful meditation.

According to mindful.org, Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

This applies to life, relationships, and of course, work.

As we roll into the official month of thanks, don’t miss out on fully experiencing your own life and appreciating where you are. Wherever you are. Always remind yourself to be mindful, thoughtful, and grateful.

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Cover of the graphic novel, "Blowback" (2021)

Jim Hereth‘s latest project is his debut action/adventure graphic novel, Blowback, available now at Amazon and comiXology.

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