One Month Hiatus: Annnnnnd Go.

A week ago today, I started a deliciously inspiring one month hiatus following what can only be described as a summer in Hell, aka New Jersey, which consisted of 3 months of working a ridiculous number of hours a week, drinking far too much in the few off hours I had and getting very VERY little sleep. It was a summer of excess, to be sure. Though I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything as I learned a lot and was challenged in every arena of my life (not just professionally), I returned last weekend feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and most horrifically, creatively drained.

And even worse – I’m unemployed now.

But every cloud has a silver lining, or so I’m told. And for me, that is the one month I’m taking off to write, travel, clean out my closet, exercise daily, get my oil changed and otherwise regain some semblance of a normal life, before I jump back into another project and send my life spiraling into unpredictable chaos once more.

It took about a week for me to unpack my bags, for my liver to adjust to moderation once more, and for my body to get used to being back in sunny, lovely Los Angeles, a place I never realized I loved so much until I was forced to spend 3 full months away from it in the cruel humidity and sudden downpours of New Jersey. My head has slowly stopped spinning and I’ve managed to find a nice, sharp focus to carry me through these next 3 weeks.

I’ve got plans – grand ones. I’m attacking my to-do list hungrily and striking off things left and right. This last week, I cleaned out my closet, de-cluttered my apartment and re-instated my membership at my local gym. I opened up my novel files and dusted off my notes, jumping back into a scene I haven’t worked on since June. I backed up my computer and cleaned out my hard drive. I re-registered my car and even went to the DMV to get a new license. I’ve reconnected with friends and family that I haven’t been in touch with for months. Yesterday I flew to Texas to visit my parents and friends in my hometown, which I haven’t done since March. And I leave for 2 weeks in Hawaii on Wednesday – the yearly “vacation” I take for my own mental health, where I challenge myself to try new activities, face my fears, confront my mental obstacles, escape the grind and find new focus and perspective in my life.

I’d been lost in sea of work and booze all summer. Now, I’m hitting the gym and the keyboard harder than I have in months. I’m actually being productive again. And it feels fucking fantastic.

Watch out world! Lindsay has FREE TIME!!!!!

I Crave The Memorable

Recently I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to do what I do for a living, and I think I’ve narrowed all of my favorite parts about my job down to a few key perks: I get to talk to interesting people about their lives, I get challenged on a daily basis, no two days are ever the same, and most of of, I get to travel and see places that most people never dream of seeing.

I have found myself in some of the most picturesque locations in this country on the job, some of the strangest, and some that most people on this planet won’t ever see. I’ve found that no matter how stressful these shoot days are (and they are!) I never cease to stop for a moment and thank my lucky stars that I get to be there, in that moment, doing what I’m doing and getting paid for it.

Hard at work on a beach in St. Petersburg, FL.

The reason I am writing about this is because I’ve been realizing something about myself in the last few months – I crave the memorable. I seek experiences that break up the ordinary monotony that one’s life can sometimes start to wade into. If I go months doing the same thing every day, seeing the same people, without doing things I’ve never done before, not challenging myself to think or act in ways that push me outside of my comfort zone, I start to get a little depressed. I feel like our lives are marked by special occasions and memorable experiences, and I don’t really feel like I’m living if I’m not constantly having them.

This is a personality trait that I’m actually pretty proud of. I know people that are the opposite – they have habits they want to keep, schedules they want to stay regulated and their personal happiness levels suffer when they are pushed outside of their routine or comfort level. I like that I would find that kind of life insufferable, and I think this trait has led me to take chances, go after what I want more aggressively and to live a much fuller life than I would have if I’d accepted an office job in my home town, surrounded the people I’ve known my whole life and never venturing too far from where I started.

The New Years Eve Ball in Times Square – up close!

I think that being a craver-of-the-memorable is probably a good trait for writers. Sure, it definitely is responsible for the fact that I have a hard time finishing projects because I get bored of them, but I also am not afraid to dive headfirst into a new story anytime I feel a spark to do so and I’ll ride that wave of creativity for a while and get a lot accomplished.

But most importantly, always seeking out new things gives me a lot of inspiration and gratitude. There is a reason people vacation to exotic locations with beautiful vistas to break up the monotony of their daily lives – it offers an escape, yes, but it also inspires wonder and reminds people that there is a whole world out there to experience. I love being in places that make me think this: If I would have told my 13-year-old self that I’d be standing here, doing this, 13-year-old me would have said ‘No freaking way!’ And then I’d think my 26-year-old self was pretty awesome.

Shooting at the Austin Rodeo.

I’m about to start the second half of my Jersey summer and I’m looking forward to more memorable shooting locations. So far my favorite places I’ve shot are Brooklyn Bridge Park at Sunset, on the roof of one of the highest buildings in downtown, on another roof next to the New Years Ball in Times Square and on top of a double decker tour bus…..while moving through Manhattan…..and having an audio guy nearly taken out by a low hanging street sign.

One of my favorite pictures I’ve taken so far during my summer on the East Coast. Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful any time of day but late afternoon is my favorite!

Updates to come on how I just spent my two week hiatus!

Apartment Porn

In my last post, I broke the news that I’ve moved to New Jersey for 3 months. I also promised photos of my fun new apartment, and due to the resulting overwhelming reader demand (ie my parents and the few close friends that have booked tickets to see me while I’m here) I’m posting them here. Please enjoy Jersey City at (what I’m told is) it’s finest…..

Not bad, right? It is a great home base for all the shenanigans I’ll be up to from now until mid-September. I could use a desk, but that kitchen table will do just fine for diving headfirst into my writing projects, as long as I don’t face the window….with so much to see, I am far too easily distracted.

That last photo was from tonight…..I started to do some peaceful yoga, until my candles set off the fire alarm, scared the hell out of me and completely sent my chakras into disarray. Oh well, I’m too tired for down dog anyways. Off to bed!

I’m a Jersey Girl?

No, I haven’t started wearing a bump it and punching people in bars (though I did back into a parked police car last year….) but I HAVE moved to Jersey City, NJ and I’m here until mid-September for work. In case you don’t know what Jersey is like in the summer (as I didn’t before I came here) it could easily be described as hellish in terms of the weather – it is around 100 degrees and brutally humid. Coming from LA, this is quite an adjustment for me, and my hair.

Downtown Manhattan, taken near the Paulus Hook Ferry Dock – a block from my new front door!

I’ve been here for a little over a week now, and I’m mostly unsure of how I feel about it. I’ve never lived on the East Coast and so far it looks like I will likely spend a ridiculous amount of my time working, even for me, but now that I’m settled (and have located a delightful nearby bar with an amazing beer selection) I think it safe to say that I am ready and almost excited about the adventure!

The Iron Monkey, my new favorite local bar.

I’m living in a lovely apartment building on the 20th floor, which is about 19 floors higher up than I’ve ever lived. I face Southwest, towards LA, and the sunsets are incredible from up here. Despite the corporate housing furniture and the fact that I’m in Jersey (I’ve heard this isn’t something I should admit openly to people I meet in the city) I really love the place. I am a block from the waterfront and I have a view of the Statue of Liberty from my bed. I promise my next post will be full of apartment porn pics!

Anyways, that may explain why I’ve been so MIA. Now that I’m settled in and ready for fun (and newly single!) NYC adventures and a lot of inspired writing, I fully intend on lavishing attention on my poor, lonely NWW blog that has so patiently awaited my return!

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View of the Statue of Liberty from my bedroom.

Visiting Art Museums (and how they can inspire writers)

This last weekend, my dad and my step-mom came to visit me in LA for the first time since I’ve made it my permanent (ish) home, and I was tasked with showing them around for a couple of days. Because they are both well-traveled and enjoy art, I decided a trip to the J. Paul Getty Center Museum would be a perfect way to fill a pretty Saturday afternoon in LA.

The Getty is one of my favorite places in all of Los Angeles. For those of you that haven’t had a chance to visit it yet, it is perched high above West LA on a hill, right off of the 405 Freeway, and it houses a fabulous, first rate art collection ranging from antiquity to a few early 20th century pieces, all of which are displayed in a beautiful modern white marble collection of buildings. The views alone are worth a trip.

I’ve always loved visiting the Getty, especially when I was in college. Even before I switched my major from Creative Writing to Art History, I would make the drive from Malibu to the museum at least once a month to bask in the treasures that it holds and to revel in the views of the LA basin, which stretch from downtown all the way to the ocean on a clear day. And the best part was and still is that admission is to the center’s permanent collection is FREE.

This trip, the museum again didn’t disappoint. It has been years it seems since I last visited the Getty, and I always forget how amazing the art and experience of it is when I spend time away. We wandered around the galleries and had ourselves a grand time, and it occurred to me how inspired I was feeling to go home and write.

I tried to think of what it was about visiting art museums that I’ve always loved. I’ve decided that reveling in the incredible works of art that men and women have created over centuries past has the power to spark the desire in us, as writers and as creators in general, to work tirelessly towards our own creations and contributions to the world. Seeing the great work that others have accomplished reminds me of the vast creative ability of man, something that is easy to forget in our world that is being devastated by those seeking to destruct and harm.

It made me want to go home and start writing immediately and see my own creative vision be manifested on the page!

I think I’m going to make it a habit to visit art museums more often – I’m a big fan of LACMA and the Norton-Simon Museum in Pasadena, and it is definitely time I paid both of those spots a visit.

 

Where The Hell I’ve Been

It has been some time since my last post, which was pretty much expected on my end as this is the busiest time of the year for me. From January to April, I do a lot of traveling for work, which I really love but admittedly doesn’t leave much time for writing! I find what little time I do have to write, I spend it working on my novel. It isn’t a lot of time though, but 15 minutes here and there do add up over a few months.

I had the pleasure of traveling to San Francisco twice in the last month, a city that I hadn’t been to since I was about 16. I’d either not noticed it before or had forgotten it over time but I absolutely love San Francisco! It has more character than any other city in America, in my opinion. Every city street you walk down (or up!) is unmistakably San Franciscan. The architecture is so unique to the city and the neighborhoods are so distinct that I can’t help but think that if America was a novel and it’s cities the characters, San Francisco would be the most distinct, well-written and three-dimensional one in the entire book.

On my first trip there, I spent my free half day riding a rented bike from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate bridge and back, and even though it rained for most of the day, it was a beautiful and memorable ride. And when I returned a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend a day leading a b-roll crew around the city to film the most iconic landmarks on an unseasonably sunny day in February. It was a perfect day that culminated in watching the sun set over the city from Twin Peaks overlook.

I am about halfway done with my work travel, at least for this part of the year, and I feel a renewed sense of excitement to get back into writing more and spending more time contributing to this blog. Usually a few months of heavy travel and heavy drinking leaves me with a fresh, new outlook on my writing, even if it is accompanied by a weakened liver and a consistent feeling of jet lag that takes weeks to disappear.

See you all soon!