How a Little Bit of Solitude and Silence Can Get the Creative Juices Flowing.
By Cali Gilbert
As you read this, you’re probably wondering how we got to this place. Countries on lockdown, small businesses desperate to stay afloat, thousands falling ill and even death. Yet I want you to take a moment and think about the blessing of this time. Now I can hear some of you. Blessing? You must be kidding. But just hear me out.
What I have learned over the last five decades is that my greatest ideas and accomplishments began when I was at my lowest point in life. You see, prior to 2011 I was living the American Dream. I had three university degrees, had started my own business, and lived in a beautiful home in Sausalito, California. I thought I had it all.
Then EVERYTHING changed in the span of 12 months. I miscarried a child, my relationship ended. My car died, money ran out and I lost my home. Everything GONE! I had a choice to make, give up or start over. I chose the latter as I felt I had a blank canvas in which to create the life of my dreams.
At the beginning of 2012 I would sit in coffee shops with my laptop eager to learn everything I could about the publishing industry. It was there where I discovered the San Francisco Writers Conference and signed up to volunteer. Today I have nine bestselling books on the market, two of which I wrote, marketed and published while I was homeless. So I know a little about creating something out of nothing.
Fast forward to 2014 and I’m now living in Los Angeles. I had six books on the market when I decided to shift gears and focus on screenwriting and filmmaking. I immediately fell in love with every aspect of the film industry and soon decided I wanted to direct films.
When I started out in 2014 I immersed myself in the film industry and began volunteering for every event, conference, festival I could find. I went into each with a mindset of a student, one eager to learn and support however I could. I came across amazing individuals who similar to my publishing journey, became mentors and supported me along the way.
Those relationships today are the ones I cherish the most, and can call upon to support those just starting out. In 2019 I led the new Book-to-Screen track at the conference, which was a huge success. So much so that in 2020 I created and hosted the Inaugural Writing for Hollywood Summit which was also a hit.
2019 was also a huge year for me as I launched my own production company, Tower 15 Productions, which supports creatives through education and collaboration. I also released my first film, INVISIBLE, which sheds light on the homeless crisis in L.A. with a focus on prevention. 2020 kicked off on an incredible note as the film began winning awards on the festival circuit and the L.A. Premiere took place at the famed TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I also learned that my accreditation as a filmmaker has been approved for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival in France.
I was flying high and felt I was on the brink of something incredible. Then in the blink of an eye, EVERYTHING stopped abruptly with COVID-19. Movie theaters closed. Festivals cancelled or postponed, and production on films came to an immediate halt. At first the change in lifestyle didn’t have much of an impact on me for two reasons. I already worked from home, so that wasn’t new, and I lived life from a very simplistic point of view. As long as I had a roof over my head, food on the table and I was safe and healthy, I had everything I needed.
So I looked at the situation in front of me and realized I had two choices:
1. Tap into the hysteria of the media and become overwhelmed in fear.
2. Look at the blessings in the situation and make the most of the time I was given.
Once again, I chose the latter and decided to get quiet, look within and there I would find the answers. It was in those moments that the ideas began to reveal themselves.
One day I looked on my bookshelf and decided to pull out a binder with a manuscript I had set aside a year ago because the timing wasn’t right, and take another look. For a few days the words flowed and the story began to take shape.
On another occasion I was given a glimpse of my purpose for supporting women in transition and how I was to create a movement by collaborating with other female entrepreneurs to provide guidance and support to those just starting out. From this came the idea to launch a new initiative entitled THE F.E.M.A.L.E. Alliance. More than anything I want to support other creatives in sharing their gifts and talents with the world and starting their own businesses. I truly believe this is ONE way to prevent homelessness.
The new Shelter in Place order meant I couldn’t host my one-on-one VIP DAYS with clients and my Writer’s Retreat planned for later this year was also in jeopardy. However, it meant my online programs were now in demand. As they say, when one door closes, another opens. I began to see this more and more, and as I realized what was in front of me, I became excited as to what I could create.
So, ask yourself:
1. What is it that I can do with what I currently have?
2. Where is the gift and the blessing in this current situation?
3. How can I make the most of it and create something extraordinary?
If you could use some guidance, I’m here to support you. I’m happy to schedule a discovery call with you via my website.
If you’d like to learn more about my projects and how we can possibly collaborate, feel free to check out the links below.
Cali’s Website – www.CaliGilbert.com
INVISIBLE film – www.tower15productions.com/invisible
The F.E.M.A.L.E. Alliance – www.tower15productions.com/femalealliance
Four years ago I placed THIS photograph on my Vision Board with a belief that one day I would attend the festival as a filmmaker.
It may not happen as soon as I had hoped, but I still believe I’ll get there. I’m grateful to YOU for helping me bring my dream to life, and I’m here to support you in doing the same. I can’t wait to see what you create.
We’ll get through this TOGETHER!