When I’ve driven myself and my business hard (like for the past 2 Covid years), beach vacations are my favorite way to refill my creative well. Typically, I walk and lounge and snorkel or scuba dive. Sometimes kayak or sail. I read books, play ping pong or bocci, and just do things in the sunshine near the salt air that I don’t reward myself with at home often enough. And usually, after a good four or five days, my notebook comes out, and I begin planning something new. That refilling of the voice artists creative well has been achieved, and I’m ready to dive back into the world with a fresh perspective.
Things are different now. I no longer have a beach house and because of several reasons, traveling to a beach is not possible (for me currently). My time off over Christmas was nice, but not re-creating, and this week, when I’ve dipped my toes into my creative well, the metaphoric water’s been somewhat shallow. Probably because through Covid, I pumped out more voiceover products than usual (grew 30% in ’20 and 28% in ’21), so my creative juice replenishment has come up short with the usual well-fillers.
5 Activities that Normally Fill Your Voice Artists Creative Well
- Time in nature – nature heals, lowers blood pressure, improves your mood. Some studies say it even increases cancer-fighting cells (see also walks, hikes, skis, cycle rides, canoe or kayak, horseback riding, even just chilling on a chair peering into the woods, you get the drift)
- Stories – whether in movies, TV, podcasts, books, audiobooks, a reality shift into another world widens your perspective. Stories help us understand ourselves and others.
- Meditation – you don’t have to chant to meditate (but you can if you want) – my big goal the year I turned 27 was to learn how to meditate – what I learned was meditation can be as simple as daydreaming without getting attached to the dreams – more like observing them as they float past
- Try Something New – bake bread or knot up a macrame hanging pot. Go bouldering, try wood carving, or learn a language – novelty shakes things up, improves brain function, and can be fun – Sundays last spring, I zoomed in on a watercolor course with 3 of the fam, which leads me to number five.
- Spend time with people you love – friends, family, neighbors – ones you can share thoughts/feelings/insights/time with improve your mood and are good for your heart.
Digging a Deeper Well with the Tool of Time
Several years ago, before I installed a professional sound studio in my house and began working 40+ hours a week doing voiceover work, I led a successful (i.e., 6 figure) voice actor life working far fewer hours. With that free time, I homeschooled my kids, dabbled with an improv group, wrote a novel, lifted weights, renovated my house (a couple of times). That time to dream, dabble, dive into other projects while walking through my life with my actor’s eye – observing myself and others, noticing how people express themselves, and bringing it into my work, constantly kept my well full. What was different than was all that extra time and the freedom to move and live without restriction (aka a Covid-free life). Hmmm. Time and freedom – that’s what’s been short in supply.
About ten years ago, I came across Jeff Rubin’s book about the end of globalization: Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller. It was about oil shortages and what that would mean to us. Interesting how a pandemic has made that prediction happen much more quickly and on a deeper level.
It led me to carve a more favorable work-life balance as my big goal for 2021. Happily, I achieved that while enjoying my biggest (ROI) year ever. I guess I’m a big Ray Kinsella fan.
Transmuting Lessons from Covid into Better Voice Acting
I’m a sunny, optimistic person, and it’s tough not to think of the past two years like a series of revolving eclipses or shadows. One survival technique I’ve taken to heart is not to let my thoughts carry me away from the moment. Staying in the moment, that honesty and simplicity of the now, is not only good for my art (voice acting), but it’s good for the heart, too, isn’t it? I saw an interview with Lucy Lawless yesterday. She talked about actually taking this time to put (acting) craft into practice on an even deeper level as part of her Covid survival kit.
This time has also led us to collectively re-evaluate what’s working in our lives and what’s not. To let go of things we’ve been carrying and maybe weighing us down or holding us back. Being grateful for our blessings. To try some of the things we’ve always meant to do but never seemed to find the time. Experimenting and working on my craft is a significant occupation for me and so many artists I know – whether they dabble in the voice arts or some other form of expression.
Inspiring the Voice Artists Creative Well
Another reminder came from Jon Bailey’s interview on Dan Lenard and George Whittam’s recent VOBS episode. Jon is a wildly talented voice over artist who puts a lot of time into his craft. His impressions, sound-alikes, and cartoon/gaming characters are abundant and good. They don’t just happen. To paraphrase his words, he goes after it with a kind of obsessive perfectionism. This idea resonated with me. I do the same thing. I just needed to be reminded and inspired. So, thanks, Jon, Dan, and George, for that!