Learning to Walk
Nobody falls out of the womb knowing how to walk. We’re helpless, speechless, reckless, persistent and curious. We hit our heads against walls, cry when it hurts, and set out on our next adventure to discover the world. It isn’t long before our parents can’t take us to restaurants, are sleep-deprived, and getting a workout from chasing us around.
My friend, Sarah Peck, told me a story about her son who was learning how to walk. He tried for an hour and at the end of the hour, he threw his arms up in frustration. Leo was determined, and Sarah said, “Of course you’re tired. You’ve been at that for an hour.”
You become prolific the same way Leo Learned to walk. You try; you go the point of exhaustion; throw your arms up in frustration; and start over when you regain your energy.
The Fear that Paralyzes Us The Most
The greatest fear that we have to manage as creators is how the audience responds. And for most of us, the audience isn’t just the people who listen to our music or read our books. It’s mom, dad, brothers and sisters, and that family member who thinks your art is a waste of your education.
I’ve taken that last family member off the guestlist for the wedding I haven’t planned.
But you can’t control what other people think. The moment you realize this, the fear loses its power over you. You can get back to what you’re here to do. Make more art.
Nothing is Guaranteed and Anything is Possible.
There’s no guarantee that your art will lead to its intended outcome. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making. Sometimes art leads to unintended outcomes.
Parents homeschool their children with content from our podcast. Therapists use it to counsel their patients. Coaches use it to help their clients. You can’t always measure the impact of unintended outcomes.
Without intending to, I told stories that helped people kick eating disorders and get past crippling, near-suicidal depression.
To make art is to open your heart to the idea that anything is possible.
Steven Pressfield writes about resistance. Resistance is the dragon that stands between us and the destination we’re trying to reach — between who we are and who we want to be.
Resistance defined the first 20 years of my life. I quit every hobby, got fired from every job, got drunk as often as possible and wasted my time. The whole time my desire to write was buried under layers of self-indulgent bullshit, masks, stories, and labels.
Sometimes it takes some wisdom from the School of Hard Knocks before you realize it wasn’t bad luck. It was all resistance.
Resistance shows up as a distraction, doubt, fear, the critic who hates your work, and the lover who starts a dozen conversations with “Don’t take this the wrong way, but” or anyone who makes you question your conviction and cause you to consider abandoning your calling.
But, as Pressfield says, “Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”
Why would you listen to anyone who is full of shit?
This is part of a series about how to become a more prolific creator. You can download the entire book for free here.