"Things are not difficult to make. What is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mine to make them."
- Constantin Brancusi
My friend and colleague, editor Franklin Carter, responded with this:
Steven Pressfield writes: "Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace, or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.
"A professional distances herself from her instrument. The pro stands at one remove from her instrument – meaning her person, her body, her voice, her talent: the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological being she uses in her work. She does not identify with this instrument. It is simply what God gave her, what she has to work with. She assesses it coolly, impersonally, objectively.
"Does Madonna walk around the house in cone bras and come-fuck-me bustiers? She’s too busy planning D-Day. Madonna does not identify with 'Madonna.' Madonna employs 'Madonna.'"
My sister Leah pointed me to this intriguing RadioLab episode, called Me, Myself, and Muse, in which various creatives grapple with how to put themselves in the path of creativity. Including Elizabeth Gilbert, who wants to find a way to "live a creative life without cutting your ear off."
And I loved these thoughts from my friend and writing buddy Sarah Henstra on How to Write Without Writing, which are so in line with everything I've been thinking as I prepare for our Creativity Rising workshop tomorrow. She writes:
"[It] sounds simple, right?: get out of your own way, avoid perfectionism, give yourself permission to be messy and proceed with half-measures. But I need to hear it again and again–I need even to find my own, silly trick for enacting it–because for me, starting is always the scariest part of writing. The self-discipline it takes is an utter paradox to me, in that getting to work means giving up control."
Tomorrow we're going to see if we can't put ourselves in the state of mind to make some things.