Be Willing to sit with the Discomfort. This is Turning Pro. This is Creative Catastrophe.
With creativity, you’re going to go through some suck. Sometimes, it does suck and there’s little you can do about it. The suck feels like a slump. You’re down, but not out. (You’re only out if you quit.)
If you’re in a slump, it means you’re still going but you’re just not where you want to be performing in your prolific quality output. What’s the best you can do? Sometimes the best you can do is to just sit with it.
Sitting with the discomfort. OMG! 😮 A Creative Catastrophe!
Most people will never sit with the discomfort, the unknowing, embracing the suck. Most people are absolutely unwilling to do this.
What if…What if you were willing to do this?
Even if all you do is sit there and breathe, it counts. That’s all I’m asking you to do: sit there and breathe through it with me and Wim Hof. Just sit there and breathe. Just sit there and breathe through it. Just sit there and breathe through it. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Then, you gotta thrash it out.
You gotta thrash it out.
Even if you write gibberish, it’s still word count. All writers write plenty of crap because you have to get the crap out first before you can get to the good stuff. As Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin say, you are thrashing it out! That’s the creative key that so many people do not get or are unwilling to push through this crappy discomfort in order to come out on the bright other side. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Attention all Creatives: *Keep working. Keep working. Keep working.*
On page 46 in his book, Do the Work, Steven Pressfield talks about work ethic for Creatives. Keep working. Keep working. Keep working. In fact, he advises to keep working 8 times on one single page. (I think he wants us to keep working!?)
Pressfield references Stephen King always working, always working, always working. Always writing. Always writing. Always writing. Every day. Working. Writing. Working. Writing. Working. Writing.
If you want to know what Stephen King is up to, he’s working. Right now.
You should be, too.
King works weekends. King works holidays. King works his birthday. Pressfield says he likes that. I like that, too, because our creativity and our urgent, prolific necessity do not need breaks. These forces do not need weekends. They know no holiday. They’re unconcerned about our birthday.
These creative forces know motion and velocity and momentum and they know working and they know getting after it. It is our urgent, prolific necessity that sparks us to get out of bed and write, create, and think about our patrons and our customers. What is it that they want? What do they need right now? What’s the Zeitgeist of the people telling us? What do we hear?
This is why it is so important to be still and listen. Great Creatives have to be quiet and listen.
On Turning Pro & Creative Catastrophe
Pressfield also talks about his big failures. When you think you’ve created something great and you show it to people you trust and it turns out that they hate what you created, as in HATE what you created, that’s a big failure. It’s a creative catastrophe. Many people never recover from such events. It’s too much for them and so they quit. They just cannot take the rejection. But there is a silver lining in this creative catastrophe. It means you’ve just *Turned Pro*.
Why? Because all Creatives go through this. All Creatives go through this multiple times. Creative catastrophes are not one time events, unfortunately. You finish writing a book and people you trust to review it hate it. You create a new web site design and nobody visits it. You shoot an entire online training course and nobody takes it. You pour your heart into a product that nobody wants. You wrote a script that became a feature film that nobody goes to see. These things happen, and they suck to go through.
But like Pressfield’s friend advises him, if you’re doing what you want to be doing, if you love what you’re doing, if you find joy in the work, in the process, in the toil, if you don’t really want to do anything else, then what are you complaining for? So, you’re taking a few lumps! So what!? Everyone does. All creatives do. Bands write bad albums. Authors write poor books. Screenwriters write crappy screenplays. Pro speakers give a bad speech. Comics bomb. Professionals flub publicly. These creative bombs happen. The Pros embrace the suck, just like the SEALs.
# The best thing we can do.
The best thing we can do after we’re done creating the thing we’ve been creating is to immediately begin creating the new-new thing.
Ryan Holiday says the best marketing for the thing you just created is working the new creative project you’re currently working on. He would know because it is his business to know.
The best marketing for the book is writing the next book.
The best marketing for the album is working on the next album.
The best marketing for the script is working on the next script.
The best marketing for the movie is working on the next movie.
The best marketing is the next thing you’re currently working on.
Once you’ve completed your creative project, congratulate yourself, integrate the win, and begin to work on the next creative project the very next day.