you're reading...
creative, creative process, creativity, fear, feelings, work

This just in: Don’t unpack your bags – a lesson from Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live - 1980s

Saturday Night Live – 1980s

Yesterday I watched a documentary about Saturday Night Live in the 1980s. The show struggled so much after its first five golden years. It lost a lot of its people, its mission, and its way. And it wasn’t a matter of finding it again. A very small group of people, some original and some new, scrapped the entire format and started over from scratch. Brave, and frightening. Just like life.

Many of the cast members—Billy Crystal, Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus—talked about not unpacking their bags. They all had month-to-month leases and were never really sure if they’d made it. Even when things were going very well, they were always on edge. In so many of those old sketches and outtakes, I could see the nerves, spontaneity, and spark.

It got me thinking that as much as we are creatures of comfort, habit, and routine, maybe we do our best work when we don’t have any of those things. Maybe those nerves that keep us on our edge give us our edge. We shouldn’t be looking for comfort at all. What we need to do our best, most creative work is a manageable dose of anxiety and fear. Our magic is not is doing the work we know we can do, but in biting of more than we can chew, in taking on precisely the projects that are beyond our reach. We should go where we think we’ll fail. We rise when we have something to shoot for that seems impossible.

About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


2 thoughts on “This just in: Don’t unpack your bags – a lesson from Saturday Night Live

  1. It’s nice to go for a walk on a calm sunny day, but it’s in the middle of a lightening storm that the most creative electricity is available.


    Posted by Jan Schaper | April 26, 2015, 9:49 am

I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Me On Twitter

My Goodreads

Translate this blog to another language

%d bloggers like this: