Thought Catalog

What Is It Exactly That You Do All Day?

  • 0
Alex Grechman
Alex Grechman

It’s hard to understand how artists tolerate the Hollywood system. Work for years and years but basically get nothing done. Or work on projects that get killed. Or push and push (fake it until you make it) for years in ‘development’ until something finally gets enough heat to be greenlight.

Look at the IMDB pages of most producers, writers, filmmakers and actors and it’s not uncommon to see maybe five projects over a ten-year career (and often times much less). If you really love making films, how can you make so few of them?

It makes you wonder what the hell they do all day.

The answer of course is complicated. It’s a broken system built for a world where making movies was much much more expensive. And the politics and culture that grew out of that system basically broke a whole generation of artists (with a few exceptions) and wasted many years of energy and effort. At the same time, people there also don’t work very hard.

If the answer to the question “What do they do all day” was actually “work, really work” there is no way the projects would take so long.

The reality is that this is not limited to Hollywood. We are all guilty of this, whatever it is we happen to do.

When people say things take a long time, usually they are just taking for granted a whole lot of waiting around and wasting time. They equate spending time on something with “working” and also seem to assume that time is an infinite resource. There are no deadlines, no urgency, no desire to ship and move on.

Jerry Seinfeld once told a young comic that the secret to his success was a big calendar he kept on his wall. Each day, if he wrote, he allowed himself to put a big X across that date on the calendar. After a few weeks, there would be a long string of days in a row of writing. What kept him going was a sense of duty to protect and not break that chain.

I’m no genius but I have managed to do 3 books in 2 and half years plus a lot of other things. When people ask how? I’m always confused.

I worked on them every day is the answer.

I certainly have my own problems. I need to slow down and proofread better, for example. Sometimes I take for granted that my audience shares my assumptions though I have yet to actually explain them. But I pardon myself that errors of initiative and execution are better than sloth or timidity.

Ugh! The amount of time people waste because of dysfunctional relationships, because of their own dysfunctions which draw them to those relationships. The energy they waste on fad diets and gear and figuring out how various unnecessary technologies work. The resources and creativity that seeps out telling people (or themselves) stories about themselves or projecting an image to the world.

Talking about your art, no matter how it may feel, is not the same as practicing it. Yet they focus on marketing, when they should focus on making their stuff better. They live in a hard or difficult city (like New York–which living in can feel like a job) and think that’s what makes them special.

And then they wonder why they don’t get to do more of what they love. Or why their book, movie or startup is slow going.

Again. don’t waste time on phone calls, on lunch meetings, on chattering about what you’re working on. Skip the video games and Facebook chat and ‘going away to write’. Just work.

No one should ever wonder what it is that you do all day. It should emanate loudly and clearly from what you produce. It should be obvious that you care about craft. That you get stuff done because you put more into it than everyone else.

There are the other types out there. Your Robert Caro’s and Vincent Bugliosi’s, guys who spend years and years on big projects–but it’s also clear that they worked every single day on their epic masterpieces. (Caro actually shows up everyday in a suit to his private office) If we are being honest, is that what your project is? Is that how you are? Really?

That’s why you didn’t update your blog for but twice this year? Why you had to take a sabbatical from work but you still haven’t release that album yet? Is that why your thesis isn’t finished yet?

Or are you really just dicking around?

Only you know the answer. Only you know if you’re pretending–in love with the narrative of you, the author, writer, musician, actor, executive, investor, designer–or actually doing it. Only you know if you really have or want to turn pro. TC mark

Powered by Revcontent

Well, here is some good news for your ❤️ next year

The fact is, if you don’t feel good about yourself, nothing he does will ever be enough. If you don’t truly believe you’re worthy of love, you will never believe someone can love you.

“I’m currently on a huge self-help kick and I could identify with a lot of the situations mentioned within the book! I would definitely recommend this book to any women who may be having issues within a relationship or with the men in their life in general. I’m going to pass this book on to one of my best friends now!” — Aubrey

Improve your love life in 2018

More From Thought Catalog

What Is It Exactly That You Do All Day? is cataloged in , , , , ,
  • http://pace0flife.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/day-286-the-tragedy-of-24-hours/ Day 286: The Tragedy of 24 Hours | My Pace Of Life

    […] In case you want to read more, in a slightly more accusatory tone, check out this article: https://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/what-is-it-exactly-that-you-do-all-day/ […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2013/10/you-can-be-good-at-more-than-one-thing/ You Can Be Good At More Than One Thing | Thought Catalog

    […] my short life, I have done my fair share of work. Been a Hollywood executive. Been a researcher. Been a writer. Been a marketer. Been a strategist. […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2013/10/you-can-be-good-at-more-than-one-thing/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] my short life, I have done my fair share of work. Been a Hollywood executive. Been a researcher. Been a writer. Been a marketer. Been a strategist. […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2014/01/the-guilty-crazy-secret-that-helps-me-write/ The Guilty, Crazy Secret That Helps Me Write | Thought Catalog

    […] to concentrate, it’s hard to be present in everyday. But you can’t afford that when you’re actually working. He fixes that by doing the […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2014/02/a-winner-does/ A Winner Does… | Thought Catalog

    […] at least can articulate—their vices. Particularly those that may conflict with their craft or competition *A winner picks up the check *A winner travels light *A winner has a routine. Maybe they get up […]

  • http://www.ryanholiday.net/the-guilty-crazy-secret-that-helps-me-write/ The Guilty, Crazy Secret That Helps Me Write | RyanHoliday.net

    […] to concentrate, it’s hard to be present in everyday. But you can’t afford that when you’re actually working. He fixes that by doing the […]

  • http://bigfishie.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/the-guilty-crazy-secret-that-helps-me-write/ THE GUILTY, CRAZY SECRET THAT HELPS ME WRITE | Bigfishie

    […] to concentrate, it’s hard to be present in everyday. But you can’t afford that when you’re actually working. He fixes that by doing the […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2014/04/should-i-drop-out-of-college/ Should I Drop Out Of College? | Thought Catalog

    […] you being spoiled, petulant, entitled, reactionary, or delusional? Ask yourself. Really ask […]

  • http://www.ryanholiday.net/a-winner-does/ A Winner Does… | RyanHoliday.net

    […] *A winner controls—or at least can articulate—their vices. Particularly those that may conflict with their craft or competition. […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2014/10/passion-is-the-problem-not-the-solution/ Passion Is The Problem, Not The Solution | Thought Catalog

    […] can someone be busy and not accomplish anything? Well, that’s the passion […]

  • http://nigeriatechnology.com/passion-is-the-problem-not-the-solution/ Passion Is The Problem, Not The Solution - NEWS | Phones | Nigeria Science | Technology |Computers

    […] can someone be busy and not accomplish anything? Well, that’s the passion […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2015/01/5-reasons-your-book-will-fail/ 5 Reasons Your Book Will Fail | Thought Catalog

    […] (in this case, that most books sell very few copies). Focus on the failures. Avoid their mistakes. Outwork them. Outthink […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2015/02/24-things-that-only-writers-know-from-writers/ 24 Things That Only Writers Know (From Writers) | Thought Catalog

    […] Writers know that inspiration is important, and so is brainstorming. But they also know how muchwork is required to execute on that vision. At a certain point, Robert Louis Stevenson, describes “the artist must now step down, don his […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2015/06/i-just-turned-28-heres-what-ive-learned-in-another-year/ I Just Turned 28: Here’s What I’ve Learned In Another Year | Thought Catalog

    […] and you never turn them down. Only later, do you do see these for what they are: distractions from your work. And you almost begin to dread […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2015/08/why-do-you-write-so-much/ Why Do You Write So Much? | Thought Catalog

    […] as the result of committing to produce more. There is only one way to improve at a craft–and it’s putting hours into it. I consider what I write online to be practice. An opportunity to interact with an audience and […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2015/09/what-are-you-working-towards-because-you-better-know/ What Are You Working Towards? Because You Better Know. | Thought Catalog

    […] I also reached out to and met Robert, finagling a connection through a friend of his. When I met Robert for the first time, and heard he was looking for a research assistant, it was almost too perfect. Of course I thought I could cut it, I’d been doing the job for free for a year already. I was scared when I dropped out of college, but it wasn’t as risky as it seemed — not only because I had another job lined up but I knew working with Robert got me closer to where I wanted to go. The same applies to my other dropouts and career choices — they made sense according to my strategy and plan, no matter how strange it all appeared to people on the outside. Even now, people ask how I’ve been able to produce books at a rate of roughly one a year, but that’s what they don’t see: I’d been working towards that goal every day. […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2015/10/how-to-buy-a-house-before-youre-30/ How To Buy A House Before You’re 30 | Thought Catalog

    […] I wanted to one day buy a house, most of my healthy financial situation was a result of two things: I worked hard and I didn’t blow my money on dumb stuff. Saving money in your twenties does not mean ‘you’re […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/tcguestwriters/2016/02/31-ways-to-get-more-deep-work-accomplished/ 31 Ways To Get More ‘Deep Work’ Accomplished | Thought Catalog

    […] [*] Avoid meetings and definitely avoid agreeing to phone calls. I almost never get on the phone unless I’ve been hired to be on that call (whether it’s via Clarity.fm or booked through an assistant). Because it’s time spent away from doing the work that matters. […]

  • https://www.findhowto.uk/31-ways-to-get-more-deep-work-accomplished/ 31 Ways To Get More ‘Deep Work’ Accomplished - How to do everything!

    […] [*] Avoid meetings and definitely avoid agreeing to phone calls. I almost never get on the phone unless I’ve been hired to be on that call (whether it’s via Clarity.fm or booked through an assistant). Because it’s time spent away from doing the work that matters. […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2016/04/if-you-do-this-you-should-be-banned-from-email/ If You Do This, You Should Be Banned From Email | Thought Catalog

    […] The latter are those who respect time (because they understand that time is finite). The former ask indiscriminately to chat or meet. The latter are straight and to the point and aim to conduct their business with as little […]

  • https://www.findhowto.uk/if-you-do-this-you-should-be-banned-from-email/ If You Do This, You Should Be Banned From Email - How to do everything!

    […] The latter are those who respect time (because they understand that time is finite). The former ask indiscriminately to chat or meet. The latter are straight and to the point and aim to conduct their business with as little […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2016/04/the-most-important-part-of-the-creative-process-that-everyone-misses-a-draw-down-period/ The Most Important Part of The Creative Process That Everyone Misses: A Draw-Down Period | Thought Catalog

    […] sure we want to do? Are we prepared to give up and sacrifice what the project will call for? Are we ready to work for days on end with no visible sign of […]

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/tcguestwriters/2016/06/dont-follow-your-passion-its-whats-holding-you-back/ Don’t Follow Your Passion, It’s What’s Holding You Back | Thought Catalog

    […] to hear. We do what we feel like doing, and despite being incredibly busy and working very hard, we accomplish very little. Or worse, find ourselves in a mess we never […]

  • https://www.findhowto.uk/dont-follow-your-passion-its-whats-holding-you-back/ Don’t Follow Your Passion, It’s What’s Holding You Back - How to do everything!

    […] to hear. We do what we feel like doing, and despite being incredibly busy and working very hard, we accomplish very little. Or worse, find ourselves in a mess we never […]

  • http://imwealthstrategies.com/dont-follow-your-passion-its-whats-holding-you-back/ Dont Follow Your Passion, Its Whats Holding You Back – Internet Marketing Wealth Strategies

    […] to hear. We do what we feel like doing, and despite being incredibly busy and working very hard, we accomplish very little. Or worse, find ourselves in a mess we never […]

blog comments powered by Disqus