“Make a choice.” What great actors can teach us about running a business.

Back in the days when I was an indie film actress, directors and drama coaches would often say to me: “Make a choice.” It’s good advice for actors — and anyone who’s doing creative work, including building a brand, blogging or running a business. What it means is … if you’ve been cast in the role of, say, a female police officer, you have to make a choice. Lots of choices, actually. You have to choose … : If she’s going to be a 100% badass, never showing a moment a weakness … or if she’ll reveal her vulnerability, at the edges? : If she’s going to deliver her lines with a touch of sarcasm (the comic relief!) … or be steely and cold (pure drama, all the way)? : If she’s going to be straight, gay, bisexual or asexual? : If she’s going to walk with a limp (an … Read more …

Sick Of All The Rules? Bored Of Your Own Business? Try One Of These 5 “Business Taboos.” (Oh Yeah! We’re Going There.)

You got into business because you’re a free spirit. An independent thinker. An iconoclast. Maybe even a bit of a rebel. Rigid rules? No thank you. Other people telling you what to do? Suck a lemon. And yet, I know puh-lenty of brilliant entrepreneurs who have gotten sucked into spirals of sadness, because they started believing in boner-killing rules about how “business should be done.” Rules like these (… sound familiar?): You MUST give people a free e-book as a “thank you” for getting on your mailing list, or nobody will give a rat’s ass about anything you do! You MUST have at least 1,000 people on your mailing list before you can even THINK about releasing a product! Otherwise, don’t even bother! You MUST set strict boundaries with your ideal customers! They’ll walk all over you, if you don’t! Wahh. Wahh. Wahhhhh. Rules like those make me feel like … Read more …

Allllmost done, but not quite? How I get through creative blocks (without booze or drugs.)

There’s nothing more depressing than beginning a project that REALLY excites you … and then watching it slow, sloooow, sloooooowly grind to a halt. It erodes your self-esteem (“Why can’t I FINISH anything?!”) and over time, it makes your audience lose trust in you (“She said she’d be releasing that product this summer! It’s Christmas! What’s up?”) I’m a big fan of quitting (or dramatically tweaking) projects that trigger resentment. But there’s a difference between realizing that you really DON’T want to do something … versus TOTALLY wanting to do something, but just feeling stuck. If you are in the second boat, this post is for you. Here are my personal techniques for moving through creative blocks — without booze (OK, maybe just one elderflower-infused gin fizz cocktail, with dinner!) or drugs. : Remind yourself what it’s REALLY about. When I hit a wall with my screenplay earlier this year, … Read more …

Getting OBSESSED: The Key To Effortless, Superhuman Productivity.

This post is dedicated to and inspired by my smutty book partner-in-crime, Nicole Antoinette. Remember back in high school when your English teacher would give you an assignment, like: “Read this 600-page, super-depressing and totally-complicated Russian novel and write a 20-page report on it, by next Tuesday!” … and you’d go: “Um, are you HIGH? That’s way too much work! Totally impossible. There’s no way I can do that.” You’d bitterly groan and complain your way through the entire assignment, and probably do a half-assed job. If you finished it at all. Flash forward to today. “Hey, girlfriend. Read this 600-page erotic novel – seriously, it’s fifty times better than Fifty Shades – and meet me next Tuesday for coffee. I want to know EVERYTHING you thought about it. I mean, everything. Leave nothing out.” … and you go: “Um, TOTALLY! Consider it freaking done.” Same assignment (read a book … Read more …