This week’s excerpt from The Actors Voice actually isn’t an excerpt from The Actors Voice at all, but instead a bit of homework provided to participants in the SMFA 12-Week Online Seminar (our last cycle of 2012).

Welcome 2012

Let’s Make a List!

I usually just email this homework to enrolled students of our online program, but last week’s first class of the in-person Self-Management for Actors Foundations course reminded me that we can ALL benefit from list-making and goal-setting, now and then. So, I sent this email out beyond the population of current ninjas-in-training and got some really great feedback — right away — from those who started in on this homework! 🙂

But… since “homework” is a word that strikes fear in some, let’s try this approach:

I have a favor to ask. 😉

Even if you’re not the journaling type, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and write down a list (it doesn’t have to be a long list) of things you would like to invite into your life within the next three months. (And yes, do it in longhand, not on the computer. There’s power in the written word. The photo, above, is of my annual tradition on New Year’s Eve: Making a list of what I’m inviting into my life for the following 12-month period. Yes, I always use my very favorite pen.)

As for your list, it can be a list of career-related accomplishments, personal goals, a sense of confidence or wellness. Get as specific as you would like, but please just take a few quiet moments, breathe, think about NOT where you are right this second and what blocks you may struggle with, day to day, but instead what you’d like your life to feel like, just three months from now. Don’t specifically focus on the curriculum of SMFA as you do this, unless you’re just so moved. It’s about feelings, more than what you hope will happen as a result of spending 12 weeks building laser focus and ninja skills in four core areas of your creative career.

Write down whatever you’re inspired to write, then put that piece of paper in an envelope and file it away. You can pin that envelope up on your cork board, tape it to your wall calendar, tuck it into your copy of Self-Management for Actors, or plop it onto the fridge with a favorite magnet. But keep the list in the envelope for now. If you see the envelope throughout our three months together, resist the urge to open it and check on how your list is going. Just leave it, for now. 😉

We’ll talk about what to do with it later. 😉 (Yes, even if you’re not in our classes, we’ll come back to this topic here at the BonBlogs!) But for now, just sit with yourself a bit, really get centered, check in with where you are and where you want to be, and start writing. We’re closer to the end of 2012 than seems possible, to me. When I think about my “Welcome 2012” list, I’m blissed out for how much has come into my life, once invited. What a great year!

I can’t wait to hear how things are going for you, as we begin this 12-week journey together. Yes, we’re all on a 12-week journey together, even if you’re not enrolled! 😉

So, how does it feel to start this list? Pop your thoughts in the comment box, below. Are you feeling excited? Nervous? Frustrated? Annoyed? Curious about where this is headed? Good. None of that is WRONG. Let’s talk about the power of the hand-written list! I love my many lists. I think The Go-Go’s even made a song about me. Bonus points for anyone who can tell me the title of that B-side from the ’80s! 😉

Happy list-making and SO much love,


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

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  1. Nicole August 7, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I’m feeling exhausted about doing this, and a little unsure that it will do any good. But that’s just me, feeling stuck. So, I’m going to do it!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Oh, Nicole, good. Do it, for sure! I know it can feel challenging, but if you focus NOT on what’s not working or where you’re stuck, and instead on feelings you want to invite into your life, it gets a little easier to do. 🙂 It will be worth it! Glad you’re up for the challenge!

  2. Georgina Ware August 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Oh how I miss being in class and around your vibe Bonnie! In the past 3 weeks I’ve been on a ‘clearning out the negative junk thinking’ mission, and I’ve been active in jotting down (daily) in my manifestation journal . . . so your e-mail makes me excited to get my nerd on and play along. yeah! Bring on the challenge!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      We miss you in class too, love! We’ll be doing ONE MORE in-person cycle in October/November, then that’s it for the year. Hope you can join us. Your energy is soooooo good. I’m glad you’ve been working to clear out “stinkin’ thinkin'” in your head. It’s so important to be on purpose and stay on purpose. Glad you’re journaling already! And thrilled you’re up for the challenge! Can’t wait to revisit this with you in three months. 😀 XO

  3. Maria Alejandra August 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Already done! I love this kind of challenges, let’s see where this is going! by the way Bonnie thank you so much for all of your e-mails I really enjoy reading them and they are so helpful for actors 😉 keep up the great vibe!

    Love and blessings from Venezuela! <3

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Oh, I’m so glad, Maria! Thank you for taking the challenge. Remember… don’t peek at your list! 😉 We’ll have so much fun with this, when we get to the results. So glad you’re enjoying the emails! Love the feedback. Thank you! 😀

  4. Stefanie Woodburn August 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    I absolutely support and believe in this approach. In trainings to create breakthroughs in life or in your career, knowing what you want as well as being able to visualize it is important to success. Putting pen to paper, committing part of yourself to what you truly desire, and then reviewing it and fully living where you would like to be – all of this guides you to realizing your goals!

    I create vision boards whenever I want a change in my life – 90% of it comes true. The remaining 10% I blow up into a bigger vision board (I created a huge one for acting, including taking pics from Variety and putting my name in the big ads for “Congratulations <> for your Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame”

    I’ll letcha know if it works. 😉

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Awesome, Stefanie! I do this very cool thing with my “screen saver” (in quotation marks because it’s not saving a screen, for years, now… it’s just “screen art”) where it grabs photos from a folder called INTENTION. It’s my modern-day vision board. Totally works. This shit is powerful!! 🙂

  5. Jasmin August 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Thanks Bonnie! This has come at a great time for me. My vision board that I made at the beginning of 2012 is ready for a facelift. I have gotten so much more specific with my goals in the last 7 months, I’ve learned so much and, most excitingly, I have achieved so much of what is on my board! (Remembering to Smell the Roses!)
    I love the screensaver idea. I’m totally going to do that, too!
    Sending love to my fellow hustlers. You are worthy of everything amazing!!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 9, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Love it! 🙂 Thank you for the love and good vibes. For sure, a once a year list (or vision board) is a great big picture item, but so much changes along the way. Good on you, for taking this challenges and especially for celebrating the little things. SO important! Yay, you!

  6. Marisa August 9, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Hey Bonnie,
    I am absolutely stoked about this exercise. I liked the idea of focusing how I want to feel in a few months, versus materialistic wants or things like a specific role (as I may have done in the past.) Even just acknowledging how I want to feel, I all ready feel more so. Bring it on, magical little envelope! And thank you, Bonnie!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 9, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Marisa, my pleasure. Feeling, feeling, feeling is soooooooo much more valuable, as this exercise goes! 🙂 I’m glad you see the value in that. Can’t wait to circle back around with you on this in three months! 🙂 Yay!

  7. Gina Wilhelm Actress August 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I’ll be making my list this weekend, when I can sit with myself for a minute, but I love the screensaver idea. I’m already finding and collecting pictures!

    1. Bonnie Gillespie August 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      Yay! I hope you give yourself the space to breathe and really FEEL this exercise. It’s pretty powerful. Oh, and on the screen saver thing, I also sync that INTENTION album to my iPhone so that I can easily pull up a shot of inspiration, when I need it (or just show someone what my future puppy will look like). 😉 Good stuff!

  8. Claartje van Swaaij August 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve been actively keeping a (paper) diary which includes all of this, started it a few months ago after a long time of journallessness and now I can’t live without it anymore. it massively helps me feeling more positive and content and focussed.

    Instantly helps me stop overfret things (I’ve made the deal with myself that once I’ve jotted it down, it’s out of my brain, no more fretting allowed, and then I write down what I want instead.

    Positive affirmations (which I also jot down afresh) and the how I want to be, feeling them in my heart as if I already am like it right now right here, I revisit those whenever I can in my head during the day and even more in the evening, at bedtime) Focussing on the fun I want to have in life as if it is right now and focussing on the fun I already have now. I ponder on who I want to surround myself with, I study videos of the things I want to do. I express myself with drawings as well.

    The effects have been massive. I am content and more relaxed than I have ever been. Stuff falls into my lap. Positive stuff. I have a different vibe around me. When I feel down I kick myself out of it quicker thanks to this. I am the queen in my head! I have control over my own thoughts.

  9. Bonnie Gillespie August 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Claartje, I love all of that! How wonderful! I too jot things down and then tell my brain to stop mulling them over, because they’re now OUT on the page and don’t need to take up mental real estate. So cool! Love all the positivity swirling around you. LOVE IT!

  10. Cori December 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I love the idea of ‘inviting in’ what I want for the New Year! And yes, favorite pen is a must for me too!

  11. Sue Ann Gleason December 29, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I’m all over this one, Bonnie. I, too, love the idea of “inviting in.” I’m going to do this with words only and see what shows up. So far I have spaciousness, joy and surrender. I’ll try not to “over do” the list as that’s something I’d like to leave behind me.

  12. Cathy December 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I’ve been doing a bit of this already – was at a Solstice ceremony last week – but like the idea of putting it in handwritten ink! Hmm, my sweetie & I have started a tradition of a quiet dinner after our son’s in bed on New Year’s Eve…maybe we’ll add this activity to the mix. Invite something together.

  13. Bonnie Gillespie December 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Cori — YES! I am such a “favorite pen” junkie… it’s the one that NO ONE ELSE may use, ever. 😉 That’s what makes it (and keeps it) my favorite. 😉

    Sue Ann — I *love* the words you’ve come up with already! One of my favorite things about these lists is that the hubs and I have done ’em since 2006, and we hang a copy up over the year before, so there’s now a stack taped up over one another, and each year, we’ve gotten more brief with our list-making. It’s like we’re decluttering our intentions. Love it!

    Cathy — I hope you do this and I’d love to hear how it feels for you. Thank you for stopping by! Y’all rock. 😀

  14. Marg December 30, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Great idea Bonnie. Will give it a go and see what happens. I’m breathing my list into fruition right now. Here comes 2014. What a year it is!!! <3

  15. Susie Mordoh December 30, 2013 at 6:03 am

    I have been doing a little reflecting on the past year and it’s time to start mapping out what 2014 could include. I even change my passwords as a daily reminder of what I’m inviting in each year.

    My medium point blue ink gel pen is fired up!

  16. Karen Yankovich December 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

    OK DONE! I love this idea, I’m spending the next day or two doing just this, closing out 2013 and inviting 2014 to be amazing. Thank you! And, yes, I also have a favorite pen, and absolutely used it! Now, to decide where I’m keeping this.

  17. Bonnie Gillespie December 30, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Marg — I love it. Please lemmeknow how it goes for you!

    Susie — I *love* the idea of passwords that reflect the intention of the year. THANK YOU for that tip. I’ll have to try that too!! Yes!

    Karen — Hooray! Lemmeknow where you end up keeping your list. I have a task board in the office with lots o’ cool magnets, so putting goodies under those cuties is a great way to stay reminded without being distracted.

  18. april January 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    thank you for a great exercise, bonnie. i am a huge fan of “putting it on paper” (avid list-maker and journaler), and i always appreciate new and inspiring ways to push myself. so this is the perfect combination for me! some words that emerged for me were: audacious, momentum, action, possibility, and risk. (and definitely a favorite pen is a must!)

  19. Bonnie Gillespie January 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Ooh, I like those words, April. Have you tried using a cloud generator like or to create a visual depiction of those words that emerged? I love every bit of this process! 😀 Lemmeknow how it goes for you. Thanks for stopping by!


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