The Creative Process
Some days, I know exactly what to write, what to build, and what to develop.
Every so often, I’m hit with a rush of ideas as I’m driving home, reading a book, or going for a long run. The ideas are clear and I know exactly what I need to say, build, or write.
When I get home to my office, it’s on.
These days are good.
Other days, the ideas don’t come so easily.
On these days, I’m blank.
I know I have to write, but when I sit down, nothing comes to me. I stare at a blank screen and every attempt to fill it with an idea comes up short. It’s infuriating.
These are the tough days.
And they happen the majority of the time.
The Worst Part
Having no clear idea what I intend to write on a daily basis isn’t the worst part.
The worst part is knowing beforehand that I have nothing to write.
That’s when the fear hits:
“I shouldn’t be doing this – I’m not good enough.”
“What am I doing?”
“People will see I’m a phony…my stuff’s not worth reading…this is a waste of time…”
These thoughts come to me on those blank days (every time without fail).
The Importance of Process
When the fear hits on those blank days, it’s important – I would hazard to say mandatory – to slow down.
Identifying and understanding this fear as just that – fear – helps to quiet the negative self-talk propaganda.
This leads to an important realization: this fear inducing pressure is fabricated; it’s a direct result of the importance we attribute to the results of our work.
And the results are important – but they’re not more important than the process itself.
The process: that is why we do what we do (the artist, the creative entrepreneur, the unconventional leader).
We do it because the process is art, it’s a gift, and, by giving and creating daily, we inexorably create our life’s work.
Disrupting the Status Quo
It’s easy to let the pressure of writing keep us from writing.
It’s understandable to let the fear of shame keep us from creating.
It’s almost forgivable to let the fear of failure keep us from starting, finishing and shipping…
But then we become exactly we set out to change: the status quo.
No, creating, building a business and leading aren’t for everyone.
But if they are for you, then go to work every day (the disruption of the status quo depends on it).