Voice actors tend to be lovers of words. I know I am, and in VO life, there’s nothing I love more than feasting my eyes on a beautifully or cleverly written script. After 20 years of script reading, I’d say my vocabulary has grown a bit, too. 😉 Reading, in general does a body, mind and soul good. So read as much as you can! And whenever possible, read aloud to continue strengthening your chops.
I created a new rule for myself a couple of years ago and maybe it’ll inspire you too. Anytime I found myself about to jump onto social media, I’d stop myself and instead spend that same time a little differently… by reading, learning something new or seeking out inspiration. Social media left me feeling depleted and I wanted to be deliberate about feeding my brain and soul with something that would fuel me and give me a mental reset. If you aren’t into a great book at the moment, there are so many great blog platforms out there that generate article suggestions for you based on your interests and goals. So many of them are 5-10 minute reads and the content is so valuable!
I do still spend a few minutes per day on some of my favorite social media platforms, but I made a clear decision that I wanted to spend my little brain vacations throughout the day differently, so I changed my habit. I became proactive about it.
Speaking of that…
What does it mean to be proactive?
adjective: (of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
This is definitely a word that every serious voice actor needs to embrace. It’s been a tough few months. We’ve all been doing the best we can during a lot of uncertainty, and at some point maybe you’ve felt some degree of: stuck, tired, stressed, mentally exhausted, blah, or like you’ve fallen behind with some of your goals – whether related to voice acting or otherwise.
You are not alone.
There will always be an “out there” and an “in here.” And no matter what is happening “out there,” every day is another chance to turn inward, find our centers and do a little bit better in here. To show up for ourselves. To check ourselves and remind ourselves that making a small, little change can have an enormous impact on our lives. This can be applied to ANYTHING. Your voice over career, your personal growth–any area of your life, really.
Proactive people are constantly moving forward, looking to the future, and making things happen. They’re actively engaged in their lives and living life on purpose, not acting as passive observers. Being proactive is a way of thinking and acting, and it can become one of the personal mantras you apply to life and your voice over career.
Being proactive is reminding yourself that you have the ability to decide and do.
If you feel like you can relate to what I’m sharing in some small way… this week:
Assess what you need right now. Maybe it’s a hug, or tacos, or cupcakes, or to get organized, re-focused, or to get up earlier, etc…
Sit down quietly without any outside interruptions and just collect your thoughts and see which area(s) of life right now could use a little reset. Be kind to yourself, but be honest with yourself, too.
Maybe write some of your thoughts down if it’s helpful. Seriously, give yourself 30 minutes for this (at least).
Focus on solutions. Okay, so maybe you spotted a few things you need to work on… Maybe you’re not taking the time to practice your VO like you wanted to, or you feel like your workspace is a hot mess and you can’t get focused, or you haven’t been exercising and you feel sluggish…
You’ve established the “problems,” now focus on all the possible solutions. What can you decide and do differently to make what you want happen?
Don’t break your promises. Ever notice how you honor your promises when they’re made to someone else? Why do we so nonchalantly break our promises to ourselves? I know we can all do better. This is a toughy I’m working on every day myself.
Quiet down your inner jerk. If you catch yourself saying anything judgy or rude or negative to yourself, grab your remote control and hit the mute button. You heard me! Mute yourself! You’re a voice actor. You’re creative. Create a little voice in your head that says nice things! Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a cute five-year-old enthusiastically telling you what they want to be when they grow up.
Accountability. Yep. That. If you don’t fully trust yourself to find solutions, keep your promises, or quiet down your inner jerk, find someone you trust to help hold you accountable. Maybe it’s a family member, maybe it’s a close friend, or maybe it’s someone you barely know from VO class who you can sync up with for a daily or weekly text, call, or Zoom. We all tend to do a little better when we don’t want to let someone else down.
I want you to succeed at voice acting. But in order to do well at VO, ya gotta know thyself and love thyself. Period. Voice acting requires self-discipline, dedication, persistence, and ya gotta be in a good mental headspace and heartspace to create, play, and bring characters and stories to life.
We’ve got this. And if we feel like we don’t, we’ll just keep working on it. Together.