“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”
“Just as appetite comes by eating, so work brings inspiration…”
I’ve just stumbled on a new book by Steven Pressfield called Do the Work. It’s published by The Domino Project — and it’s available via Amazon in a number of formats. Steven also wrote another book called the War of Art. His theme: how to mobilize our creative energy and do our work despite the hurdles we face, most of which come down to one immobilizing force, which he calls “Resistance.”
Resistance: Ah, we all know it well, don’t we? It comes in many shapes and sizes: negative self-talk, our internal censor, chores, media distractions, fear, anxiety. But all these forms of Resistance boil down to the same obstacle: whatever it is that gets in the way of our doing the work we want to do.
In an interview for Do the Work, here’s what Steven said: “But the main advice I give is simply to do what you need to do; don’t talk about it, just sit down and do it. Stop talking right now and go do it. There’s just no substitute for action. You can’t not do anything, you must try to do something new. That’s the way it is today, people have to be more entrepreneurial and there’s no way around it. Certainly if you’re an artist you just have to start. And then keep going.”
Do the Work, as I understand it, is filled with advice and tools to help us break through the creative barriers we face. Sounds like it’s worth checking out. But in the end, it all comes down to the one thing: making a habit of doing what we need to do whether we feel like it or not. We can’t worry about being inspired or getting it perfect, we just have to get it going. We have to start and build momentum. Everything good flows from silence energized by action. Write on!