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The Working Actor

How to Create Your Own Work

How to Create Your Own Work
Photo Source: Raquel Aparicio

As I sit in my favorite coffee shop, I can’t help but think about a piece of advice someone once gave me when I first decided to create: “Find an inspirational place to do it!”

I love sitting in coffee shops and observing. People probably think I’m staring at them and judging. But I only do that sometimes. I’m more likely watching their physical life, taking in how they react to the barista asking them how they take their coffee, or admiring a story they’re telling. I write and create from real life. All of my characters and storylines are inspired by real experiences. The story could be made up, but the lead character is a lot like someone I know, and I start to imagine how this person is going to navigate the obstacles I put in front of them.

Once I’m inspired, I always ask, “What story do I want to tell?” When you’re answering this question for yourself, know there is no right answer. Think about it. Take a shower. Do some yoga—whatever clears your mind. What you want to say will come to you, just be open to it. FYI, it usually comes at the most random times. I could be mid-conversation with someone when my light bulb goes off. Then, I quickly take out my phone and make a note. I’m pretty sure I’ve offended a ton of people. (You can’t please everybody!) So, what story do you want to tell? I love to tell a story that touches someone. Usually it’s through humor and sarcasm, but nevertheless! 

Now fast-forward: You’ve done your thinking and you’re sitting in your newfound inspirational spot. You know the story you want to tell, you open up the laptop, and you suddenly stop! The ugly voice that we all have decides to give you some opinions before you begin:

“I don’t know how to write!”

“What if it’s terrible?”

“What if I can only write one page?”

“No one will like this!”

And so on and so on. Well, I’m here to tell you that voice never goes away, but it’s up to you to keep it quiet. Listen to your desires. When that voice pops into my head, I remember why I wanted to create in the first place. I knew that waiting in line with 300 other girls wasn’t going to be my story. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad about that. It just didn’t feel like that was my path.

Oh, and if you are nervous about failing, get over it! Fail, get up, fail, and fail again. Failures are bumps in the road and lessons for the ultimate goal.

One more thing: You’ll read tons of articles, blogs, and books about how to create your own work. You’ll try to follow someone else’s path and friends will give you their unwanted advice, so this may be just another thought to take or leave...but here it is: Go. Write. Do it your way. Tell a story. Any story. Your story.

My Grandma Frannie always used to say, “Throw it against the wall and see what sticks!”

Guardino will be performing in Chicago, May 17–28, in her one-person show “Italian Bred,” based on her life growing up Italian on Staten Island.

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