Roadmap Writers' Jennifer Kim chats with Bestselling Author James Moorer
MAN ON A MISSION
Roadmap Director of Diversity James Moorer on living an epic, fulfilling life
Interview by Jennifer Kim
If you’ve worked with Roadmap Writers and attended any of James Moorer’s sessions, you know what an incredible person he is, a man with immense talent and an even bigger heart. Beyond helping people reach their dreams through Roadmap initiatives, James is a screenwriter, producer, author, actor, former DJ, and authority on pancakes.
His new book, co-written with Aaron Silverman, is available now – Go Be Epic: A 21-Day Workbook & Journal for a More Fulfilling Life. Designed to help you build the habits and discipline to achieve more in life, the book is backed by science-based research, and is available on Amazon (kindle and print).
Let’s learn a little Moorer about James, his origins, 4 am - 9 am writing routine, daily victories, and why he believes New Year’s resolutions just don’t last.
When did you become a writer?
In the 80s, I was in a car accident. This is really where my writing career truly began. I was in a wheelchair for almost a year and had to literally learn how to walk all over again from scratch. The entire time with all the pain and everything I was dealing with, the only release I had was writing. Sometimes, I would literally lie face down on the floor with nothing but a pen and paper and write.
Writing became not only my way of combating my own inner demons and my self-doubt and insecurities, but it is also how I lived every single day. Because the more content that I was creating, the stronger a writer I became.
How did you become such a supportive mentor and person? Where does your magic and positivity come from?
I'm the oldest of three boys. I'm probably the older brother I wish I had when I was a kid because not all of my role models were great role models. And just in terms of the people that I aspire to, most of them were on television. Sidney Poitier. And believe it or not, Will Robinson from LOST IN SPACE was one of my heroes because here's this smart kid trying to tell his parents don’t do this, don’t do that…
So I think the reason why I'm so giving is because I really didn't have role models. I did have two friends growing up, and we were each other's support system, but we didn’t live close to each other, so we had to take the bus across town to see each other. These were the people I told my dreams to who wouldn’t laugh at me, wouldn't call me crazy or anything like that. They stood by me through the years.
But I would say, if anything, when I was younger, I always had the imagination, but I didn't have the courage. Now I'm just a badass.
When did you find the courage?
In college (Ohio State University) because that was a big time for me to redefine myself. The courage really came to me in college. Because that's where I became more exposed to the arts, literature, and so many things that I didn't have a chance to experience growing up in Cleveland. It helped me believe that there's a much bigger world outside of what I know from the streets I grew up on in East Cleveland. The more I began exploring that, the more I began to seek out and find out what's it like here, what’s like there.
Let me tell you a story about the first time I went to Florida for spring break. I'm thinking, and this is sad to admit, I'm thinking, look, I'm Black, so I don't need sunscreen. I won't burn. I was so wrong. I was painfully incredibly wrong. But it was one of those things – you live, you learn you. You go out, explore, experience things, and that fed my wanderlust. I wanted to know what the bigger world looks like outside of the continental U.S. I wanted to meet people from different cultures and learn about them. Find not only what we don't have in common, but also what we do. What shared experiences do we have?
So all of that bled into my storytelling – because what's the one thing that I could do well that a lot of my peers couldn’t do? I could write. One year in college, I wrote papers for half the football team. Sad but true. And in fact, that's actually how I met my wife because she needed help with one of her research papers. One thing led to another, and the next thing I know -- we're getting married.
What is your writing routine?
I wake up at 4 am and work till 9 am. As soon as I wake up, I try to immediately begin my meditations, my Bible verses, and get my head in the right space. Thinking positively about all of the blessings that I have, all of the gifts that I have. The fact that I'm able to simply breathe is such a huge thing.
Then it’s all about utilizimng MEL ROBBIN’S FIVE SECOND RULE rule where you count down. 5-4-3-2-1: get out of bed… 5-4-3-2-1: put your shoes on… 5-4-3-2-1: get into the car, listen to my music playists and motivational stuff – no news at all. By controlling what's coming in, that also means I'm controlling how I feel. If I'm listening to all of this positive input that's giving me all of these positive feelings of what I can do, not what I can't do, or what's going on in the world. Now I'm equipped, and I'm already empowered to do anything that I want to do. Thank you, Mel Robbins!!!!
I carry that euphoria till 9 am. So by the time I get out of the gym, I'm doubly empowered. I'm tired physically – but I can sit down and create. I find that my routine really sets off those pistons in my creative brain. I'm coming up with ideas. I'm writing, and I'm looking at things from a very more energized perspective. I’m not moaning or having to pour a cup of coffee trying to wake up. I don't have to try to wake up.
My morning routine consists of many, what I call, victories, starting from when I put my feet on the floor and things like when I exit the gym before the sun comes up. We have been so horribly conditioned to always focus on the negative, we rarely if ever take time to acknowledge even the smallest victory in our lives.
This is something that is absolutely essential in changing your mindset because once we become accustomed to see and finding every victory in our lives, we begin to see our COMPLETE VICTORY in every area of our lives. As Al Pacino said in ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, it’s the inches that matter. We gain ground by claiming every victory in our lives.
What time do you actually start writing?
Sometimes I start writing between 7:00 am and 7:30 am. If I get in and out of the gym quickly and get back here quickly, sometimes before 7:00 am. I write at least two hours a day, and if I have a break in the afternoon, I might do a couple of hours then, too… If I'm close to finishing a story that's when I'll do some of my evening sprints.
What are your weekends like?
This is when I take care of the people around me. You have to have balance. It can’t all be just work, work, work, hustle…. So one thing that I've made as a permanent rule – the weekends are for me and my wife. Before 6 am, we go get a cup of coffee and go down to the coast. And again, that's another victory, right? It is. It's another victory because it's like wow, I got up at the crack of dawn. And we're just enjoying each other's company.
(I may get some writing in the evening, especially if I have something due on Monday.)
How do you handle setbacks in your routine?
I don't beat myself up for that stuff anymore. I still have to live life and enjoy life. So yeah, okay, so I had a burger today. That just means that's another five or two minutes I'm going to work out when I get to the gym tomorrow. Or if I've got time at the end of my day, I'll do a little flow routine. Some leg lifts or push ups or something like that. But it's all okay because it doesn't take away from my wins. Never, never, never let even the smallest setback take away from a win that you've had. You've already achieved a win, a victory, when you started moving. Don't take that away from yourself because of something else that may happen later on. Especially something that's outside of your control.
What are you working on now?
Other than the new Epic book that we’re very excited about, I just finished a pilot, a horror period piece called IN DARKEST CLEVELAND that takes place in the early 1900s. It’s about a paranormal investigator who's called back home to Cleveland to help with a young girl whose parents believe she's possessed – only it also puts him back in the crosshairs of an ancient evil demon that tried to possess him as a child.
I just finished the deck for BLACK BONES JONES, my Western horror feature. We’re sending that out to a couple of directors.
I'm getting ready to start a different take on a sci-fi project that I've been mulling around for years about what happens when Google explorers at the South Pole discover a body of water that is a million years old and that it's not simply water. It's also sentient.
And then I'm still waiting to hear from Charlize Theron’s company about my female Fast and Furious project OCTANE JANE that they've had for a while.
As far as books, I’m working on my second EDDIE GIDEON book that I hope to be done by summer and my first SILVER BULLET SADIE novel where I am completely taking the the patriarchy out of the entire werewolf lore, which ought to be amazing. Women rule this universe.
And you can accomplish all this because of your routine?
Absolutely, yes. I’m also creating a new company called ONE MOORER which will be the umbrella company for all my projects and my production company Hammerjaxx Films.
Do you believe in New Years Resolutions?
I love this question. I used to believe in resolutions, but the problem that I've found over the years with myself and with other people is that a resolution has a lifespan of about 90 days.
Most people have the best of intentions, but the problem is that if you have not preset your mind, pre-conditioned yourself to actually follow through and have the discipline to do the things that you want to do, it dies very, very quickly.
So I got out of the resolution business. And I believe more in setting new rules and creating a revolution, a new dynamic, if you will, by which instead of just simply saying “I'm going to lose X number of pounds next year.” What we do instead is say, “Okay, I'm going to commit to doing these things every day and every week – and I'm going to track them so that I can achieve this goal.”
Instead of just saying, I have an end result that I'm trying to get, I actually have a plan. of action that allows me to be able to achieve whatever goal I want. And the beautiful thing about it is that you can make them as flexible or inflexible as you choose to because life does get in the way, challenges come up, we could be in a recession or pandemic, you never know.
You want to be able to make those kinds of adjustments, but instead of it being a resolution where I'm so resolute to make this change, it's a revolution. There’s an action about it. Tires make a revolution; an engine works on a revolutionary principle. So this gives you a more focused mindset where there's actually movement and action involved – rather than just thinking of something, writing it down, and forgetting about it.
And is this what your GO BE EPIC book is addressing?
Correct. I didn't want this to be the kind of like, rah, rah, inspirational book that's already outl there, I wanted a scientific aspect, a plan grounded in fact and reality based,
GO BE EPIC is about taking action and executing and tracking their own results. These results are both Science and Evidence based. The changes are very small and incremental and build to creating the biggest change – Mindset.
Mindset evolves from Disciplined Habits, and it’s these habits that the book helps you define in your own life that make the difference.
These habits eventually become a natural part of our day so that eventually, the right Mindset leads to better performance, better outlook, and a better life.
You might have great intent, but intent means nothing without Discipline. It’s in these actions we take every day that makes the difference. That’s what this book is about.
Let me give you an example…
I made the decision to get up at four in the morning every day. Crazy right? But disciplining myself to that benchmark means I can get so much more done even before the sun comes up. I've conditioned myself now – it's just like okay, this is the time that you get up. Most times now, I beat my alarm clock!!
What I discovered by doing this is that I wake up feeling like I’ve conquered my day. My first victory every day is me my feet hit the floor and I claim it. I don’t try to reason or negotiate in my head, I simply execute. That translates into seeing the day ahead with PROMISE, not pain.
The best thing is after a while you begin to crave it. You start looking forward to beating your alarm. Literally I'm like, I got to the gym before the sun came up, got my coffee, did my mediations, so by the time I pull back up to my apartment and the sun rises, I’ve had a dozen victories already.
So imagine, you’ve taken care of you and now it’s only 6:30 - 7 o'clock. Now, what kind of amazing day will you have knowing you are already VICTORIOUS? Can you imagine the joy you’ll feel? Every. Single. Day.
Now imagine applying these principles to every aspect of your life. To make the choice to TAKE the advantage rather than wait for an opportunity to fall in your lap.
Discipline. Mindset. Execution.
Over time it all accumulates into one massive action that leads you to the life you want. Learn how to cherish even the smallest step forward.
At the end of the day this is what I want everyone to get from this book:
YOU ARE FAR MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU REALIZE.
With even the smallest victory in your day, you’re making a change. More so, you’re investing in YOU, the only person who can make a difference in the lives of the people you love most. Recognize that the best way to take care of them, is to take care of YOU.
All I ask is that you simply Believe, Speak it, then Execute.
I promise if you do this, then you too can Go. Be. Epic.
Roadmap Writers will host a formal introduction Zoom on Wednesday January 18, 2023 at 3pm PST, and the Go Be Epic private facebook group will begin free coaching on February 1, 2023.
Please email [email protected] to sign up for either opportunity.
Jennifer Kim is a screenwriter and journalist based in Los Angeles, and an admin of Roadmap Writer's BIPOC Cookout Facebook group.