By Trent Rentsch
I don’t remember where I first heard it, but someone told me that all the great Creatives in history, from Da Vinci to Groucho Marx, kept a journal with them at all times; taking notes about the world they experienced, jotting down ideas when inspired, generally chronicling impressions that might make an impact in their future Creations. Since I’ve always wanted to be a great Creative when I grow up, this seemed like a baby step in the right direction, so I began to carry a notebook with me.
The first one became more toil than tool… it was legal sized, unwieldy to haul around, and the bright yellow paper! Sheez!! Too bright and glaring! No wonder I never got around to scribbling more than a literal scribble or two in it!
It occurred to me that what I needed was a true journal, leather covered, tied with a strap of leather… yeah, LEATHER! THAT’S the mark of the thoughts of a REALLY great Creative!! It was PERFECT! Those smooth, handmade pages… so perfect… too perfect. My words couldn’t be idle musings, not for THESE pages!! Deep, DEEP thoughts were required, profound perceptions on this plane of existence… NOT some stupid pun I happened to stumble across, or the phone number of my dentist. Plus, Good Lord, the pages weren’t LINED! My scrawl would deface that leather-clad work of art like a drunken paintball player let loose in the Louvre! I still pull out the journal from time to time, reveling in the scent of the leather binding, and letting my hands caress those beautiful, empty pages.
Luckily, I found a more down to earth, portable solution… the Moleskin journal. These hand-held, black cardboard-bound beauties, held together with a black elastic strap, were the perfect working Creative’s journal… small enough to carry in one’s back pocket, big enough to fill with the wisdom discovered in a lifetime… or at least a month or two. As it has turned out, one is apt to see me through. It’s been at least 10 years since I bought my first Moleskin, and when I found it tonight, I discovered 5 solid pages of “wisdom,” including a list of phone numbers I needed to tag a Bose spot with back in my Sirius/XM days, a grocery list which included ingredients for scones that I never made, and a check-list to remind myself how to prepare the studio for Fred Thompson’s talk show when I was at Westwood One… GEMS, I’m telling ya!
Oh, there have been other attempts… my studio is cluttered with them. Even today I have a micro version of a Moleskin in my pocket, tattered, dog-eared, and a 16th filled with the specs of a computer I haven’t owned in a year and reminders of such important events as a required visit to the store for butter beans and toilet paper.
The first and most obvious moral to the story is that I’m far from a great Creative, and probably need to give up this fool’s dream. The second and nearly as obvious moral is that, if I were a truly great Creative, I’d blame myself and not my tools for my shortcomings. The third moral, well, perhaps not obvious at all, is this… dreams require action to become reality.
Creatives are good at dreaming, and Thank God they are! If we didn’t “dream up” our Creations, they wouldn’t exist. But then again, if we didn’t put a little forward motion on those dreams, they would never take shape. Luckily, for the working Creative in broadcasting or advertising, there is a certain amount of “forced” forward motion… deadlines make it necessary to turn a half-baked idea into a finished piece of audio in record time, with little time to let the idea idle in dreamtime. Still, even for these Creatives, there are other dreams… personal wishes and desires and goals, which are left withering on the vine; considered from afar, untouched, yet never out of mind.
Do you have a “crazy dream?” How long have you had it? How long are you going to put off working on making it a reality? If the answers are “Yes,” “Too long,” and “Uhm…” it’s time to put your shoulder against that dream and push it forward. Don’t know where to start? Worst… excuse… ever. It’s YOUR dream… start wherever you want! For example, let’s say you want to be a major voice-over talent… ok, you could start by practicing, you could start by reaching out to VO talents you admire on the internet, you could start by upgrading your audio gear, or your demo, or… whatever. The point is, start SOMEWHERE, it doesn’t matter if it’s “the right place to start,” what matters is taking the first step. You’ll never find your path without starting the journey.
It’s easy to get so busy Creating work for others that we forget to work on Creating the life we really want. Give yourself the gift of devoting even a few minutes a day on YOUR dream. It doesn’t matter if your first actions seem small and unimportant, what really matters is movement and investing in you.