My roommate is an actor. He and I have had many a conversation about artistic work, the creative process, and maintaining personal integrity. One of his main tenants is “keep the main thing the main thing.”
It’s easy to get distracted. For me as a writer, it’s easy to get wrapped up in making sentences, I forget to tell the story. For my roommate, it’s easy to get caught up in what people are thinking about him, he forgets to live truthfully in the scene.
This lesson takes all kinds of shapes in life, but the point is the same: maintain focus on your priorities. Stay grounded. Remember why you do what you do.
Last summer, my roommate and I watched Friday Night Lights in its entirety, a show that infamously took a series of wild turns in its second season. Perhaps the best example: when Landry, the school nerd, kills a guy defending the bad girl.
Safe to say, the school nerd offing a truck stop predator has absolutely nothing to do with high school football. Ergo, failure to keep the main thing the main thing. Even something like a ridiculous plot point in an otherwise tremendous show can serve as a reminder to stay focused on your priorities.
Case in point: there are times my roommate will turn to me and say, “Remember when Landry killed a guy?”