Creative work is a lot like training, training is a lot like doing creative work.

Last week I rediscovered the amazing 43 folders blog.  This site, run by Merlin Mann is a brilliant resource for anyone who is looking to be more productive.  I hadn’t checked the site in a while, but I remembered it one day while was doing something incredibly unproductive.  Trolling the internet while procrastinating a blog post.  During my procrastination I found an interview Merlin did with Author\Marketer\very smart man Seth Godin about his new book Linchpin.

In the interview they talk about what stops people from doing the work that they really want to do.  Seth calls “sitting down and doing the work” as shipping.  As in shipping your ideas from your head to the masses. Going more in depth he talks about the “Lizard Brain” and how it stops us from putting your ass in the chair and doing the work.

During the course of the interview they referenced two books that address similar problems.  One of which was Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” which my friend Bobby gave to me several years ago (and just recently started re-reading).  The second book was by author Steven Pressfield titled “The War of Art”.  Steven Pressfield calls Godin’s Lizard Brain “Resistance”.

Resistance and the Lizard Brain are the symptoms of your brain doing whatever it can protect you from making a fool of yourself.  It’s the little things we tell ourselves like: “I’ll write later”, or “I need to do X,Y, and Z before I can write\draw\go to the gym.  But when it all comes down the message of all of the books mentioned above is that if you want to succeed you need to stop the self talk and PUT YOUR ASS IN THE CHAIR , AT THE CRAG, OR UNDER THE WEIGHT PILE!!!!!

Reading these books, watching the videos, and I couldn’t help but draw connections between following a creative pursuit and training for any athletic event.  Also I realized that this small point is missing from the books on mental training I’ve read.  It could be that those are aimed at athletes who have already put in the work and are looking for that extra boost.

Whatever the case may be it stands true that if you put in the work you will see a huge increase in the return on your investment.  I’ve noticed this in both my training and writing.  Though I’m not great at either pursuit there is evidence that I’ve gotten better.  Just look here: bad writing
Speaking of “doing the work” its time to make a sandwich and head to the crag.


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