What Words With Friends Has Taught Me

If you’ve never played me in Words With Friends, you should. It can be a religious experience.

I was in the midst of another of my elevendy games going at once (while doing what you’d do in a waiting room a few hours ago) and I got to thinking about how this li’l app has underscored a lot about who I am in the world over the years.

A quick list, then the lesson.

  • I always say yes to a new game, even if I don’t know you.
  • My first game with you is always played “straight” — without a lot of strategy or set-ups.
  • I always set you up for multiple awesome plays.
  • I never swap tiles.
  • I always go for the funny.
  • I always celebrate your win.
  • I always celebrate my win.

I always say yes to a new game, even if I don’t know you. Hey, there are stranger ways to start up a friendship! In fact, I’ve *cast* an actor I first met in a game of Words With Friends. I think she may have seen me bragging about a high-score smack-down on Twitter and decided to challenge me to a game. Of course, I said yes, and many months later when she submitted on a breakdown I’d released at Actors Access, she smartly put in the notes section (click for my tips and more tips on how to use the notes section to the ninjaest), “Hey, it’s [username] from Words With Friends! Good luck with this project!” and not only was she right for the role, but I knew I liked her *vibe* and sportsmanship and smarts from our shared game time! Fun fact: She actually BOOKED the role! How ’bout that?

My first game with you is always played “straight” — without a lot of strategy or set-ups. This is simple. I lurk then lead. I study how you play the game before I charge in with any of my power moves. (Y’know, things like painting you into a corner, forcing you to make a choice that gives me more options, laying down my whole rack at once to score a 167-point word.) I have a regular game with someone who cheats. I mean, she uses an app that generates words out of the letters she has in her rack sometimes meaning there are ridiculously obscure words that I know — since I know her in person — she has never encountered in life. Ever. I don’t care! Why? Because I *murder* her in strategy. Straight-up annihilate her. And every now and then, I learn a new word I can use, thanks to her cheating ways!

I always set you up for multiple awesome plays. Sometimes someone I’m playing plays keep-away. I never do that. I love that Words With Friends, like Scrabble, is a collaborative crossword puzzle we build off one another’s words. It’s like the industry in that regard! I find I don’t enjoy games with opponents who learn the only way to beat me is to play a series of two-letter words clustered tight in on one another, forcing me to empty my rack to create any momentum outward from the starting point on the board. It’s boring to play all the two-letter words! So I’ll set you up to be able to reach two of the triple-word-score tiles with one of my plays. I’m never worried about the damage you’ll do by reaching a tile that gives you a scoring advantage. It’s like the famous actor-slash-parent-of-a-young-actor who says, “I *want* my kid to use every advantage being related to me affords him! Are you kidding? I didn’t work this hard to have him NOT get something good out of it!” I want us all to get assists for our best possible moves. Besides, we can’t take all of ’em at once anyway!

I never swap tiles. This is plain-and-simple one of the things I know is true about me in LIFE: I play the hand I’m dealt. Every time. Even though gameplay rules allow for swaps, I won’t ever make one. I’ll pass on a turn if I don’t have anything to play. This may tie into the fact that I feel it’s a little bit of a “give up” to say, “I don’t like these tiles! Give me new ones,” and I’m never one to give up. I’ll get creative, wait for the opportunity, eventually be able to make it work out. And my life is kind of like that, really! *shrug* Works for me!

I always go for the funny. Never fails. If I can play the word “poop,” I’m gonna. Yes, I’m 12. I will actually toss out the chance to score far more points on another word I could also play if the alternative is something that makes me giggle. Yup. That’s me in real life too. In fact, it’s one of our two wedding vows: Always go for the funny.

I always celebrate your win. For sure! OMG, when you play a high-scoring word or pull out a comeback after having trailed me the whole game? I am *cheering* for you! You betcha! I love your well-played game resulting in a win! I love your brain and that you share it with me.

I always celebrate my win. No question. If I can’t beam with joy over my creative problem-solving, triumph-filled displays of dominance, or ooh-that-was-close-but-I-won-dammit wins, I’m not getting the most out of the whole experience, start to finish! I love my brain and all it creates.

Now… what does any of this have to do with you? Welp, I’d like to encourage you to take a look at what your free-time, downtime, leisure-time activities and time-wasters say about who you are. Especially if you — like me — find great joy in improving the core of who you are, you may get clues as to what you’re already doing that you could lean into a bit more to create a more bliss-filled journey.

Are you ruthlessly competitive and you enjoy the heck out of that? Great! Get competitive about our free 30-day Self-Tape Challenge to finally get off your butt about setting up your home studio so you can never again kick yourself as you see another EcoCast pass you by.

Are you a sore loser? Ah… could you start leaning into a spirit of grace about the game and the fun you’re having in the playing of it as a means to soften how much it kills you when you “lose” at getting cast?

Are you ridiculously creative as you build these intensely detailed worlds in which your fantasy characters meet with others to slay dragons? Awesome! Try your hand at writing a script — start with a short scene — that uses all the beauty of your imagination and eventually leads to a new scene on your reel… at long last.

See how this can be really fun?

Share with me how you’re going to take what you know about yourself thanks to how you game and steer it toward what you’d like to invite more of into your life. This can have impact on everything from how you show up for rehearsal to how early you self-submit on casting notices! Have fun with this!

Now, before I close off, I want to take a moment to address something *several* of you lovelies have brought to my attention — the “trendiness of alignment,” let’s call it. Specifically, how folks who’ve made a living selling actor busy work and championing one-size-fits-all blueprints for actors are suddenly “teaching Self-Management for Actors,” you tell me.

Well, here’s what I’ll say, big picture: I *love* when mindfulness weaves its way into the mainstream. I am *thrilled* to see more folks get into the aligned hustle. I *adore* seeing others lean into the SELF in Self-Management for Actors, finally acknowledging that there is no one-sized-fits-all approach to this business, no one recipe for success, and certainly no race to get repped or to book a job (when we all know booking the ROOM is what counts).

What I’ll caution you gorgeous creatures of is buying into disingenuous love for this work. (You can smell it; you’ll be able to spot it a mile away and see that it’s just conveniently-coated marketing hype for another bullshit time-sensitive FOMO-inducing course.) It’s sort of like being a lifetime vegan and seeing a carnivore start eating vegan. You’re happy. But if that same new vegan opens a vegan restaurant, be sure you can verify they don’t also own the butcher shop next door.

I grew up in a new age household. I’ve spent my life in the entertainment industry. When you come to me for advice on how to do the most effective things possible, I teach you how to get your mindset fixed FIRST, then how to identify and reduce actor busy work by understanding how FOMO works, and then we use tools that range from straight-up money management to full-on woo-woo action to navigate through to the next tier. And fast, when you’re ready.

And when you hit a snag, I know the WHY behind the WHAT because there’s nothing I teach you that I haven’t *lived* first. I’m an experiential journalist like that. Always have been. Realized the other day that it was just over 20 years ago that I defended my master’s thesis on — get this — an ethnographic study of 5th graders using television studio equipment to create their own content in schools (while their teachers experienced major technological disparity in the process). Thisย empowerment led to benefits of student leadership and controlling their own trajectory like never before. They knew from an early age that they were enough.ย I’ve weaved that inner work through the nuts and bolts of this industry for decades. I ain’t no woo-woo come lately.

So.

All that to say thank you for looking out for me, when you see my life’s work being repackaged and sold by others who have skimmed enough to realize it looks pretty cool, so what the hell, they’ll try teaching it too. It’s not the first time. I’m sure it won’t be the last. The “big picture” gal in me loves that my work gets broader reach with these slick marketing machines. I wish I didn’t have the cleanup to do when someone gets blacklisted due to taking half-baked advice from someone who doesn’t truly understand the WHY behind the WHAT… but that’s gonna happen. So I just trust that part of getting on the aligned hustle (however you get there) includes that you do what I’ve suggested from the very beginning: Do what feels good for you. Live on-brand. Have fun; don’t suck!

PS — At the request of a glorious ninja in our Facebook group, I’m gonna do my next Facebook Live (sign up for notifications here, if you haven’t done that yet) about clearing digital clutter, organizing your apps and inbox, and finding a seriously sexy relationship with social media so your time online is purposeful rather than reactive! At long last!

This will take place on Monday, June 26th at 2:30pm PDT, so get it on your calendar now! (And check out all the goodies on my calendar here.) Oh, and man oh man, if you’ve been waiting to join in for the 100-day challenge that will change your life? Summer session is starting up SOON! Grab a Get in Gear for the Next Tier mentor to score free coaching (for the BOTH of you) and OMG, get ready to live that life you’ve been saying it’s your dream to live!

Love you beautiful people. Thank you for continuing to walk with me along this creative journey we’re taking together! It’s an honor and I treasure this time we share.

All my love,


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *