What can I say? Best laid plans and all of that. When we launched Revel In It last year, the plan was to post every day and send out a newsletter every week. But we’re lean and mean and, within 6 months, it became clear that wasn’t sustainable — at least, not if wanted to get anything else done (and I still have lots up my sleeve that I want to do and am doing). And so, I’ve taken a play from the entrepreneur’s playbook and embraced the fine art of the pivot, a.k.a., “the fine art of finding what a thing is really for.”
To read more about pivots — and how they might apply to your life, even if you are not of an entrepreneurial bent — check out these articles.
My two favorite pivots of all time belong to Steve Jobs, who made the ultimate pivot when he turned his love for calligraphy into a game changing computer brand that leads with great design (and what, after all, is great design but a commitment to great aesthetic functionality) — and Matt Munson, Todd Emaus & Kevin Fremon, who founded Instacanv.as, a startup that lets you to make and sell your own Instagram art and that racked up 1.2M active users and a run rate of $1.1M (meaning that if earnings continue, they will earn that much their first year), all within 11 weeks of their launch. Six months earlier, they had a completely different product, Acceptly, an online tool for helping families through the college preparation and application process, for which they drummed up just 236 active users and a $132 run rate. They owe their success to their willingness to cut their losses and just pivot.
My own pivot happened a few months ago, when I started to gain some new, interesting and, frankly, surprising insights about what Revel In It, and the larger “me” brand, are really for.
Running Revel In It has been fruitful in ways I didn’t imagine. For one thing, blogging here has allowed me to reconnect with the strong and original narrative voice that I led with when I was just starting out and didn’t yet know what the film industry, my chosen creative home, was looking for. I was bolder than and more confident, and blogging has given me my boldness and confidence back. Blogging also showed me in short order that I love narrative beyond belief, and that writing fictional stories was an essential part of my life. I wouldn’t be a blogger only — or a non-fiction writer only — not because I didn’t have things to say in these mediums, but because I belong also to the world of fictional storytelling, where the fiction of the narrative allows me to tell deep emotional (if not literal) truths. And that — unearthing and telling the deep emotional truth — is what my life is all about. I’d known this for decades but hadn’t realized that the means for living this life purpose was right in front of me, in the work I was already doing — at least, when I was listening to my own voice instead of trying to anticipate what Hollywood might want me to say. Revel In It cured me of any impulse to do what the proverbial they want, while simultaneously helping me find the point of connection between me and “them”, namely, our shared commitment to reaching an audience and our willingness to be accountable to an audience. In the case of the studios, that commitment shows itself in their desire to make movies that bring people into theaters around the world. In my case, that commitment shows itself in a desire to tell compelling, accessible stories that will not only bring people into the theaters, but make them feel something while they’re there.
These days I am circling back to Hollywood by way of some other places. I am writing a first novel, a process that has awakened me to the writer I was always meant to be. It feeds my love of language and allows me to play with the way I unfold narrative within the conventional, three act narrative structure that I love and learned from my years writing film. The opportunity to delve into character backstory, to use an innovative point of view structure and to weave philosophical ideas into my narrative observations is like manna from heaven to me. I am gathering up the disparate parts of me — the one that cares about narrative and philosophy and geopolitics and personal and global change — and weaving them into one coherent whole. And, because I love film also, because I am a deeply visual person who lives in three dimensions, this novel, a work of literary fiction that happens to have a plot that could fuel a movie franchise, is circling me back to the world of film and encouraging to explore the full range of visual media, including, for the first time, episodic TV. No one is more surprised than I am that I am now also developing an idea for TV.
All of which is to say, it’s been work, work, work this summer — a big reason why I’ve been a bit AWOL around here lately. Well, I’m back.
Of course, balancing multiple projects, in multiple mediums, while also balancing my private life will remain a challenge. I’ve learned the best way for me to pull it all off is to scale back a bit, writing fewer posts, sending out our newsletter just once a month (instead of the overly ambitious once a week that I started with), and creating a healthy mix of lengthy, thoughtful posts, and shorter, pithier ones. Because what blogging has taught me most of all is that everything doesn’t have to be a masterwork. Sometimes you offer just a little gem of wisdom or visual inspiration, and sometimes that is enough.
To see the latest here at Revel In It, you can visit our home page, www.revelinitmag.com anytime or you can click on one of the social media links in the right-hand column to sign up for Facebook or Twitter updates, or updates via Bloglovin’ or an RSS feeder.
See you soon!
PHOTOGRAPHY via (top to bottom)
PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.