Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The End


Steven Pressfield, (The War of Art, and Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t) writes this:

"My demons were about finishing. Until then, I had gotten to the 99-yard line on every project and compulsively blown them all up. I couldn’t get to THE END. I couldn’t ship, to use Seth Godin’s perfect term.

"There’s a legend about Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain, many more) that as he got close to the end on a novel he was writing, he would start getting up earlier and earlier in the morning to work on it. First it was six o’clock, then five, then four. Finally he’d have to move out of the house, check into a hotel, just to keep from driving his wife crazy.

 "Michael Crichton was smart. He knew that as he approached the moment of truth, of  shipping, of exposing his creation to the world, his inner Resistance would ramp up its intensity, trying to sabotage him, to keep him from reaching THE END.

"So he upped his own intensity. I didn’t know Michael Crichton, but I can imagine his self-talk during those final do-or-die weeks. No doubt he lashed himself like a Marine drill instructor. He encouraged himself like a highly-paid coach."

There is something about overcoming resistance, that is procrastination, and completing a project that is satisfying even if nobody wants to read it. (Bite your tongue.) 

The Sh*t, Pressfield is talking about is your crappy stuff. Keep going until yoiu get good stuff. I don't know any other way, except keep going. The successful ones have never given up.

Rejections? Yep, you'll have them.

My daughter told me about a TED talk she heard where the speaker knew he had problems with rejection, so he set himself up for 100 days, a rejection a day.

I have to find that talk. He was very creative in his asking. One was walking up to someone on the street and asking for  $100. Another was asking a hamburger joint if he could have a refill on his hamburger--you know, like they give refills on Cokes. Finally when he asked if he could plant a flower bulb in their back yard, the person asked why? That gave him a chance to explain his process. .

Hey, I'd say yes on that one.


Saturday, January 1, 2022

A Gift

 "You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually, you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

 — Octavia E. Butler


Isn't it odd that we are told that we have a gift to give, and I have said it and believed it? And with that, we think that perhaps some creative endeavor will be our pathway to success and livelihood. And so we begin, we work at it, and sometimes we get better. Sometimes we make a sale or get hired. Often, we fail. 


In come the thoughts: I'll never make it. I'm not good enough. It's too late for me. I've worked for 30 years and have nothing to show for it except a pile of crumpled pages and dashed hopes.


All those nitty, annoying and ridiculous thoughts we tell ourselves. 


Maybe the test isn't how many times we fall. It's how many times we get up. Cliche'? Yes, I know, but pertinent.


I use writing as a beginning point in my discussions of creativity because that's my venue. However, if I were a painter, I would probably start at that. Writing, however, is something everyone can do. It doesn't have to be creative writing or poetry, or you don't have to be a blogger or a novelist to write. Journaling is a way to take another look at an event, sad, happy, whatever. Happy event? Relish it. Sad Event? Lay it to rest. 


"Morning pages" (Julia Cameron's term) can clear the debris that is standing in your way of a fruitful, pleasant day. It is writing out those nitty, whining thoughts that like to circle your brain. It is putting a period at the end of a sentence.


You can gripe all you want on the page—remember it's for your eyes only. Just get it out. You will put a smile on the muse's face. 


"And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right."

 — Ray Bradbury