A look inside my process as an actor, blogger, food host, and all that other stuff.
I wear a lot of different hats. Actor, blogger, food host, body image activist, podcaster, writer, photographer, speaker. I actually think there might be more that I’m forgetting right now. I love everything that I do. But I admit that sometimes I feel like I “should” cut back and concentrate on doing just one thing really well. The truth is, every time I think about shutting one of those doors, I realize I don’t want to give it up. Because the reason I started comes from a desire to actually DO IT. Not to succeed at it. I’m never at a loss for creative inspiration, because there is always something going on. Today I’ll focus on the main things that take up most of my time.
I don’t really write about acting on this blog as much as I used to. That’s partially because the work flow has changed (that ugly rumor about aging in Hollywood is true). But also because I feel like it’s much more personal. I’m still auditioning all the time, and dealing with the ups/downs of rejection and the general B.S. that is Hollywood. And when I am on set, I want to concentrate on my acting work and stay focused, without snapping pictures of crafts service and catering. (Also, I sign a lot of non-disclosure agreements so I’m not allowed to.)
That said, I find that the best way to get inspired when I’m working on a project is to devote all mental/physical space to it. I don’t make plans with friends and cancel all major food events so I can be 100% devoted to creating the character, and memorizing lines. I’ll live my life as much as this fictional person would – where she shops, what she buys, what music she likes, etc.
I have become a lot more picky in what I choose to say “yes” to. So much time and energy goes into it, so spending that time on a set has to be worth it. If you want to know what’s going on with my acting career, follow along on Twitter and Facebook @mslynnchen – that’s where I post updates.
Food Blogging and Hosting
I am currently going through a site audit (with the help of White Oak Creative, whose recent post inspired this one). Seven years of blogging means tens of thousands of irrelevant, out-of-date links. It was painful to do, but I deleted a lot of things and am still going through the process of updating old posts. Seeing how much I have changed my style and content over the years is a reminder I will always be evolving.
Finding content to write about or film is never a problem – I am always eating. But making that food interesting is an ongoing challenge. Therefore, I really try to stay true to the original mission of The Actor’s Diet. That is to share what I’m actually eating, or what I find personally exciting. A good example of this is my Dad’s Pork Chop Recipe that I recreated with my mother. It is something I genuinely wanted to capture, so working hard on it feels larger than just a typical blog post.
Who Am I Doing This For?
I have never planned out an editorial calendar and I don’t go to classes anymore – unless I’m feeling inspired to. Whenever I see a trend on Instagram or Pinterest going viral, my gut instinct is to go in the opposite direction. I don’t ever want to be creating things purely for page views/likes. But at the same time, it feels amazing when something I’m responsible for is reaching a large audience.
I can’t tell you how many times I have worked really hard on a post or video that’s turned out to be a big “flop.” It reminds me of auditioning, how I spend so much time preparing for 2 minutes of a stranger’s time, to be left with an empty feeling of, “Why did I do that?” I think this is why I don’t take any of it too seriously or personally. It can never be about the result or outcome, it has to be about the process. And if the process isn’t fun, I don’t want to do it.
The Comparison Trap
The quest for perfection can be stifling. I’m okay with my imperfection, but I still want to evolve and improve. I think looking at others can be helpful. So long as I am not saying things to myself like, “Why can’t you be more like so-and-so?” That was something my parents said to me constantly as a kid. Now I’m a grown up and I can make my own decisions. I’m choosing to look at others as a source of inspiration, not a model of what I need to be. Here are some other bloggers who are also writing about this topic today. Support us all by checking out the posts, and let me know your thoughts about the creative process!