Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

October 17, 2015

A little (on purpose) down time

Filed under: Life, Musings — Tags: , , — connieterwilliger @ 3:26 pm

Many people have written about the importance of taking time off. It’s good for you according to an article in the Huffington Post – “Taking Time Off Can Improve Health and Productivity.”

A lot of people agree with this – an article in US News and World Report said – “45 percent of Americans agreed that “they come back to work feeling rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected to their personal life” after vacation…”

Some people swear by taking lots of mini-vacations. I’ve talked about that before. My current “job” as a voice talent allows me to take time off pretty much whenever I want – a couple of hours at a time. I do this on a regular basis. Take off on a hike up Cowles Mountain, or down to the Grinding Rocks in Mission Trails. Head out to the beach (when the water is warm enough) to catch some waves on my body board. Take a long walk to the Post Office to check for sacks of money. Putter around the yard. Maybe do some art.

I’m lucky. Not everyone can do this. And, of course, there are days when the schedule is so tight that I can’t break away. But no one is peering over the cubicle wall at me wondering why I got back 10 minutes late from lunch. But, I do spend a LOT of time in my studio in front of the computer.

Getting out of town requires a bit more planning, but it is doable. Mostly on weekends because of class I teach on Monday’s and Wednesdays for a couple of hours. But since I don’t have a travel partner to get away for an adventure somewhere, these slightly longer trips are mostly to attend voiceover or media production related events. Lucky for me, these gatherings are a delightful mix of business and pleasure. Over the past several years, I have been able to get to at least 2 per year.

Statue with offeringsHowever, taking a 2-week break is daunting. And rare. My last 2-week break was in 2010 to Germany, Italy and Austria. And I had my laptop with me for auditions. And I stayed for a short while at a friend’s place who owns an audio studio where I did do some actual work. It was a vacation with a little bit of work, a little bit of family and a lot of time on my own with no set agenda.

This time was different in many ways. I left my laptop at home and traveled a full day to (and a full day back from) Bali meeting a dozen smart, funny, adventurous women for 12 days on this amazing island. I may need to watch “Eat, Pray, Love” again to see if I recognize the Bali that it portrayed, because the Bali I saw seemed very different. The bustling center for Art and Music – Ubud – is where we spent most of our time. With the narrow streets filled to capacity with people, scooters, motorbikes and passenger vans, you needed to be aware at all times. But step into a doorway and suddenly that falls away. Restaurants bubble with mouthwatering aromas. Your eyes can hardly absorb the colors and shapes of the flowers and statues. Your very person feels welcomed by the smiles and warmth of the people of Bali.

The trip was organized by Myle Walsh – Water from the Moon Travel – who has been traveling there for more than 30 years and leads small groups (of mostly women – handpicked to invite harmony) through her adopted second home. She surrounds you with wonderful Bali people who share their homes and businesses, their lives, and their time with you. The schedule was fast-paced, but several days at the beach in Amed on the East side of Bali in the middle of our trip offered us time to process what we had seen and done so far and primed us for the rest of the adventure.

Bali ingredients

Ingredients ready for chopping, grinding, woking and eating.

Myle’s website says – “The Balinese believe in the balance of life, nature and spirit.” I believe it.

We saw dance and music performances, temples, monkeys and museums. We made art. We cooked. We visited a village school bringing school supplies and toys. They sang us the Indonesian National Anthem. We taught them the Hokey Pokey. We relaxed on the beach. We had massages. Some of us attended a cremation. Some rode elephants. Some rafted. Some rode bikes. We walked in the rice paddys. We shopped. We ate – and we ate – and we all dropped a pound or two in the process.

I was as unplugged as you can get these days with Wi-Fi in every corner of the globe. My time online was spent uploading pictures of the wonderful experiences we had in Bali. Email did come in with a very few needing an immediate response. I did lose at least one job because I wasn’t available. I had to pass on a number of auditions. But other jobs waited for me to get back.

So, now I’m back. After a little “on purpose” down time. What I am finding is that it is taking a little bit of time to just jump back into the pace I’ve been setting. I want to stop and read a book. I want to leave the studio and go find a massage somewhere. I want to gather fresh greens and things from the market and stir fry some Gado Gado.

We’ll see how long this lasts. For right now, I’m basking in the Bali glow.

September 7, 2015

Smarty or Arty?

Filed under: Business, Life, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 2:30 pm


It’s nice to be smart – even a little smart. Because, as it turns out – “intelligence only gets you so far when it comes to creativity.

Intelligence is focused on the details  – add a little experience – and creativity leaps off from there.

Add a touch of luck (preparation meets opportunity) and the level of success can be unbounded.

How did I get here?
Sometimes, I feel a little guilty about the fact that without a lot of effort I have made myself a fine little creative life – one I never really planned to have.

Oh, I know I did a little planning as I started to see opportunities, but it seems as though it was just one foot in front of the other following my instincts and ending up here. My experiences along the way influenced which of the many possible paths I ended up taking.

Brains ain’t everything
I’m pretty certain that my intelligence is not out of the ordinary. But I may have used my brain power to steer me towards the things where success was more easily achieved.

When bringing to mind my efforts in school, the creative side certainly stood out, with Art being not only my favorite subject, but my best subject.

My decided lack of success in Latin and Math resulted from something which I now recognize as probably laziness (perhaps an understanding that Latin was something that I would probably never need?) and not lack of intelligence.

Now, the math – hmmm, I’ll self-diagnose with number dyslexia – or dsycalcula – to make myself feel better about flip-flopping numbers when trying unsuccessfully to keep the station logs while employed at a TV station. The program manager was constantly on me about mistakes such as writing 4:54:45 instead of 5:45:54. Try as I might, about twice a week, he would have to correct the logs and that made him grouchy. I don’t even think about trying to balance my checkbook anymore – you flip-flop an entry and you are off by .03 or .07 cents. In reality, I think it is another example of being lazy. The live booth announcing job was pretty boring in the grand scheme of things.

Outside of that part-time announcing job, I was wearing lots of hats (producer, director, writer, on-camera spokesperson, VO talent) and that provided me with never ending experiences.

Touch and go…
In general, when looking at the path I took to get to where I am today, I see what appears to be a lot of touch and go activity. I’m game to try anything once – as long as it doesn’t require that I sign a waiver not to sue for accidental death – that kind of activity I stay away from.

And try a lot of things I have. Some things I have done more than once or twice and decided “meh.” Some things I have achieved a high level of expertise – even getting a few awards – but never to the point of being a fanatic. It appears that activities and experiences stay with us and influence what happens next.

Additionally, I have always had a high level of curiosity. Peering into, under and around things. Taking things apart to see what makes them tick. Not always successful at putting them back together again, so they may not tick anymore.

No limits
I suppose I am only limited by the amount of effort I put into what I do, because I think I’m pretty well set with the smarts I need and the experiences to continue to create my particular “art.”

An article from concludes …

…expert creatives don’t need to be more intelligent than the average person. They simply do three things more diligently than anyone else: they have more experiences, they think on their experiences more often, and when they start pursuing potential outcomes to problems or projects they simply work more with the ideas they come up with (whereas everyone else gives up after evaluating just one or two possible ideas, or by letting their inner critic prevent them from exploring more).

Here’s to those of us who have the freedom to explore and use our smarts to create art.


July 31, 2015

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…HA!

Filed under: Business, Life, Musings — connieterwilliger @ 1:22 pm
Connie recording at MediaPiu in Italy in 2010

Connie Recording at MediaPiu in Italy in 2010

It feels like summer this summer. As adults, sometimes – maybe most of the time – summer is just another 3 months – just a little warmer. Our schedules stay the same. Maybe we plan a short vacation. If you are in the US, and you work a regular job, you may get some vacation time, you may not.

Apparently we are the only advanced economy that does not guarantee any paid vacation time or even paid holidays. Most employers do give their employees some paid time off – a typical U.S. worker at a private company gets about 10 days of paid vacation and six or so paid holidays per year. If you are in France, bump that up to 30 paid days off per year. Viva la France!

As a self-employed person, I get to set my own rules on vacation days and usually it averages much less than the 16 days (vacation and holidays). I usually just work, work, work and squeeze in some mini-vacations throughout the year. And by mini, that could mean taking half a day off and heading down to the beach to do some body surfing. Or planning a weekend business seminar somewhere around the country – which is sort of a vacation.

But this summer I have made it more than just work. While I haven’t actually headed out of town yet, I have carved out lots more of those mini-vacations. Hit the beach with the boogie board. Enjoyed lots of live theater. Ate popcorn at the movies. Daily yoga and/or Pilates classes at the Y. Fussed around in the vegetable garden. Broke out the stained glass supplies. Had coffee with friends. Ah, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of sum…

Wait, this stuff sounds like ordinary things that most people work into their daily lives! Sigh. Such is the life of a solo-preneur. My last “vacation” was 5 years ago now – and I ended up recording something at a friend’s audio studio in Reggio Emilia in Italy – which helped pay for the trip.

But I have planned a 2-week trip to Bali this fall. A true – leave the laptop at home, get away from the day-to-day – vacation. (Although I hear that there is pretty good wi-fi, so I will be bringing my tablet.)

Happy Summer! (For those of you who celebrate…)

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