Brain Crack and Creativity

Tyler is in the back sleeping peacefully. I'm sitting in the passenger seat writing this post with no idea where it's heading. Right now we're rocketing down the highway, south, to Naples, FL. I'm doing an excellent job of navigating by not paying attention to the road and writing this instead.

Ze Frank's "Brain Crack" episode, and Merlin Mann's "Kung Fu, Meditation, and Sexual Intercourse" got me thinking about the value of ideas, and the value of putting ideas into action. The latter is much preferred, but is about a bagillion times more difficult to do, and do well.

You can execute a ton of bad ideas and go nowhere. The only advantage to this is that you have a ton more experience than the next guy, who is too scared to do anything about his great ideas. That is an excellent point that Ze Frank makes. Even the experience of a failed startup company looks better on a resume than a one with a ton of "safe" programming jobs. I guess it's the idea that doing and failing is always better than never doing at all.

The issue for me is I understand the concept, but I'm unable to realize when I'm not applying it to the situations that arise. Such as redoing my website. I've done it at least twice before, but right now it seems I can't make any headway with it. I get caught by self doubt about it's purpose, and of it "just not being good enough".

This is what is called "The Resistance" in Steven Pressfield's great book, The War of Art. In it he devotes an entire chapter to the concept of this all encompassing entity that keeps you from doing your life's work. He describes it almost as a living thing, eating on all the morsels of self-doubt that we give it, until it grows into this monstrous thing that prevents you from the "doing" of your work.

How can you, as a creative, retaliate? In Pressfield's book he says you must become a professional. You have to show up everyday ready to do the work you want to do, no matter what the obstacles. Every. Day. You must discipline yourself to put aside the time that you need to create. Then day after day of working diligently at the task you have steeled yourself to doing, you just might make it.

Make it how? Well, make it as a professional at whatever it is your trying to accomplish. One day when you wake up, do your work, and stop at your alloted time, you'll realize you have begun to arrive. You will have started on the path to becoming what you ache to do, when you're not doing it.

I don't think anything could be more satisfying than that. Whether you want to be a writer, athlete, artist, or programmer--you have to take the time, or you'll never have the time, to do what you enjoy.