When you watch/read your influences, people who make you go, “Wow, that is what I’m aiming for,” your inner critic can go wild. It becomes easy to only see how far you have to go.
It’s effortless because they’ve been at it longer and have had more practice. I wish estabilished writers would publish their drafts so other writers knew they were human. Maybe make it a gallery event. Each room has a different writer. The first draft hung high, then as you move around the room you see the second draft, third draft, and eventually the finished, published novel. Then maybe a panel on the wall as you leave the room of notes the writer had after the book was published.
I’m sure Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry were making people laugh before they were LAURIE AND FRY, up there on pedestals. I know they were. I’m sure when they first started working together there was that unmistakable connection of just knowing how to work and feed off another person. But, just so I can sleep at night, I like to think they had to work at comedy.
After you tell your inner critic to stuff it, here’s how you can learn from the people who make your head spin.
Look at their biography. See who their influences are and go read/see them. See if you can spot that influence in your influence. It’s fun to see how they incorporated their influences into their growth. See what their influences can do for you.
Notice many of your influences only mention their successes. The shows that made them, when they started taking off, when they opened in the West End.
They remember the good days and cling to them. They rarely mention the show when no body laughed. They rarely mention the rehearsal they couldn’t catch a break (lines? what are lines?). They took those experiences and learned from them. They came back to rehearsal that much more ready. They went on to the next show.
They realize what they have control over (their material, how much they prepare) and what they don’t (the audience having horrible days at work so they’re not finding anything funny).
They keep showing up and keep trying.
Some careers were decades in the making, which can be a challenge to hear when you want to see your name in lights now.
What you can also see is all the different projects they’ve done. You can see an evolution of their career.
I grew up watching Jeeves and Wooster and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Some people didn’t meet Hugh Laurie until he played Dr. House. I got into a “discussion” with a college professor who swore Hugh Laurie was an American actor. I begged to differ and suggested he google “Hugh Laurie” (or Ask Jeeves 🙂 ).
Point is, even though some careers are years in the making, they keep going and evolving. There will be trials and tribulations, but life can be a blast depending how you look at it.
Instead of seeing how far you have to go, get excited about joining the ranks of your influences and being able to call them colleagues. I’m looking forward to the day I can talk Chekov with Stephen Fry and ask Catherine Tate “Am I bovvered?”