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A Rant and a Lesson

by Alan Mehanna about a year ago in advice
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a journey regarding my challenge with disciplined creation

A Rant and a Lesson
Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

My experience with discipline, specifically my creative output discipline, has always been a challenge, but then again, artists tend to have quite an interesting relationship with that word.

For some, it's all about the natural flow of creativity. For others, it's about delivering content as constantly as they can. For me, it was never one or the other, it was always depending on the status of both the external environment and the internal environment.

You may be asking, what do I mean by that?

Well, not to sound cliche, but a seed can only grow in the proper conditions: good soil, minerals, water, sunlight, and the list could go on. It has to have the proper ecosystem in order for it to grow, bloom, and expand towards its limitless potential.

The same goes for my writing and my creative output.

If my innerself is not at ease, and if my outer world is not stable, then neither is my creative output - which makes things complicated considering the two are very much connected and dependent on each other.

Now, I know what you're most likely thinking, taking into consideration that the current state of our world is [fill in the blank here with whatever adjective you'd like to use], then my innerself must be completely not at ease.

And to that I say...

You see, I currently live in Lebanon, a country that began its free-fall two years ago and has been speeding up this downward spiral. The current state we are is as follows: inflation, electricty limited to approximately 8 hours a day, limited petrol/gas, and government corruption, add on to the the global pandemic and you've got yourself quite the party.

The country is no longer a habitable environment for anyone, much less a creative, and I do need to preface that I am in no way trying to make my creativity more important than the folks who truly have it worse, or those who lost loved ones in the Beirut Port Blast last year.

The point of this is to lead me to see how my discipline has been terribly affected by my external and internal landscapes.

And that's when it hit me -- I needed to fix it.

True, I can't necessarily fix an entire nation on my own. I am planning on moving with my partner when his US papers are approved. What about the mean time? Do I just give up and say F*** it?

I'm not. I'm not.

Thanks to the non-toxic side of Twitter, and trust that was a very rare occurence, I crossed path with a fellow author and since then we have begun building a very positive support system and comraderie.

In fact, we just launched our official writer group so that we can both workshop our works in progress.

So, what does that have to do with discipline?

You see, back when I was still working on my MFA, we had deliverables every week. I didn't have time to lament, nor focus on the troubles of day to day life surrounding me. I had to deliver, and that drive helped me get passed everything else that would otherwise not let me create.

With discipline established at the University, my writing was at its peak.

Now with the writer group, my new friend and I set due dates and support ourselves by keeping each other accountable, and striving to do our best.

It's strange to think that something as small as a due date can make all the difference in the world for a creative. Structure. Discipline. Accountability.

As I write this, I'm 9000 words into Book One of my fantasy book series (learn more about it via my social media @storiesbyalan and/or my website www.alanmehanna.me), and I couldn't be more excited.

Now, off to writing...

advice

About the author

Alan Mehanna

  • 🎬 AwardWinning #Screenwriter
  • 🗡️#FantasyGeek
  • 🎙️#Podcaster
  • 📺#SeriesLover
  • 📚 #Storyteller
  • 🗯️#TedxSpeaker

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