Doer or Viewer?

Though it might immediately appear otherwise, this exercise is easier than some might think.

Create, in rough outline form, a short “play.” This play might be about yourself or anything. The main idea is to get about ten to twenty “scenes” imagined in which about 10 to 30 seconds of “action” takes place. There should be a beginning, middle, and an end. Each scene should have notes about who’s in it, the kind of conversation and actions they will have and how that scene segues to the next scene. It can be done with just a few sentences.

For example:

Scene One: Mary comes home from work, yells out for her husband, has flowers behind her back, hears John in other room.

Scene Two: John comes from laundry room with an armload of clothes. Goes straight into bedroom without seeing the flowers.” Etc.

This exercise is NOT about being a writer, and if you are not “a creative type” that’s okay. Simply steal an idea off of any television show, or take the last half hour of your own life. All that is required here is that you get down on paper a series of scenes that create a story. If you “hit a wall,” well, okay, just take notes when you watch a sitcom.

Now, take each scene, read your notes, and close your eyes and begin to imagine and visualize that scene. Let the details come forth. The room, the furniture, the plants, the pictures, the clothes on the players, the smells, the textures, the colors, the sounds from the TV, etc. Go over this scene again and again until it pretty much gels, and you can go through it in an orderly way in your imagination. You’re the director, so make sure you’re satisfied. It’s your name that goes in the credits!

Do this for the whole “play.”

Make this as short as “you can get away with.” This is not about discovering your creativity, and this is not supposed to be hard work. Just be easy with it, and go from scene to scene until a comfort level is achieved.

Here’s how you know if you have succeeded: you can go through the whole story, from start to finish with eyes closed, not looking at your notes, and images and conversational bits come easily. You, in fact, view your own production as if it were on screen, and you are in the audience.

Enjoy. Warning: this is highly addictive to some personality types.

Ask yourself:

What part of me resists doing this kind of thing just for fun?

Do I have to have a strong skill or talent before I attempt something? Can I have fun doing things that I’m just no good at?

And, well okay, just how creative was I at this exercise that was not about creativity?

How did my mind do in terms of the clarity it achieved in my mental imagery, the details that came forth, the ease of it all, etc.?

What kinds of emotions did I feel when I ran the final version? How intense were these emotions compared to what I felt when I was first “gelling” the scenes?

What did I enjoy about the final production, since I knew that whole story? What was my payoff?

How was this different from dreaming? WAS I dreaming?

Why did my mind insist on changing details every now and then? What dynamic of my mind did that? How does this dynamic affect my daily life?

How come my mind was able to do this pretty much effortlessly? Just what WAS I doing during the final production? WAS I doing anything? How did my sense of being a “doer” change as the flow and effortlessness of the play increased due to my rehearsals?

Am I a doer most of the time or a viewer?

What is the difference between me as a doer and me as a viewer?