Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
A screenwriting friend and Story Broad recently shared this article that seemed to insinuate that creativity and motherhood were mutually exclusive. Until the very last paragraph.
Where one writer-mother said that mothering taught her how to ‘shape chaos’. Mic drop.
I want to expand a little on that sentiment. How has mothering helped my screenwriting and vice versa?
- When my son naps, I go straight to my current project. I no longer waste time. No Facebook-ing, tweeting or other nonsense. When he is awake, I am his. When he is asleep, I am mine.
- I’ve realized I just can’t afford to waste time easing into it. I used to spend 30 minutes or more doing improv exercises, free writing, morning pages, etc., trying to warm up my brain. None of them worked. I’ve realized that my brain is warm, well, because, thank God, I’m alive. Which is good because I can’t ease into mothering either. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- I pay more attention to EVERYTHING. Whether I’m exhausted or my son is saying his first word while I’m looking at my phone, I’ve learned to be in the moment, however uncomfortable it might be.
- I don’t waste time on anything that isn’t beneficial. That’s why I switched from straight comedy to romantic comedy. I’ve been in love ever since. With being a mom, I’ve learned the glorious power of No. If something isn’t good for my family, sorry, not sorry.
- I know when to fold. I know when to ask for help. I don’t work to myself to exhaustion.
- I’m open to play.
- I’m open to surprise.
- I have no choice but to roll with the punches. I keep the faith, keep a sense of humor and survive. Everything ends and everything changes if I just give it enough time.
- I’m no longer waiting on baited breath for the outcome. I try and enjoy the act of writing itself and try not to care too much about winning contests, agents, managers etc. None of those things are assured in any way, shape or form. So I might as well just love writing. Similarly with being a mom, I try to enjoy my little boy’s company. Not be forever thinking of the next thing to check off the to-do list or to constantly be thinking of how I can turn anything into a teaching moment. Fact is, whether his dad and I are ‘teaching’ or not, the child is certainly watching and learning. And I have no control over what choices he makes as an adult. Only what role models he grows up with.
It’s no secret now that the film industry is misogynistic but what that also means is that it is anti-children and child-raising. Since women are still expected to do most if not all of the child-rearing, children are probably not welcome anywhere near a film set.
A crying shame, if you ask me. Nothing was more inspiring to me growing up than seeing my mom be a total boss at work.