Sometimes when I sit down and the words don’t come, it’s important that I force myself to just start writing. The only cure for writer’s block, curiously enough, seems to be actually writing.
Funny how that works.
I don’t worry about mistakes, or if things don’t quite make sense. I just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. It’s called free writing.
Before you know it, the words are flowing through you. You are no longer a writer, or the master of your own words. You’ve become, in many ways, a conduit. You’ve become a hollow conductor by which creativity and creation can direct its magic through.
You’re just a corpse carrying a soul, after all.
The more I think about it, the more I think that the mentality behind free writing is applicable to life. Not only is it applicable, its the essential mindset behind having a fulfilled life.
How many of us have that vision of our greater self in our heads, and yet we sit around waiting for that perfect idea or plan to formulate before we take a leap of faith on ourselves?
The idea of the exact right timing, or the perfect storm of situational circumstance is just a form of resistance that we create in order to stay comfortable.
It’s the bubble we blow to keep ourselves safe. Safe but unfulfilled.
We would love to film the documentary that would change the world, we just need to find the right camera, or get the funding, or find the right time to get away from the office for long enough to do it.
We would love to start that new business venture, but we’re just not sure our idea is different or trendy enough to really catch on. We’re not sure if we’re ready for such a financial or personal commitment. We’re not sure if we have the expertise to make it work.
We would love to write the next New York Times best selling novel, but we’re not sure if we can find the time between work, school, or the kids to sit down and write. We’re not sure if our storylines are all that new and exciting, or if we even have a storyline to start with. We’re not sure if we’re proficient enough in the rules of writing, or in the language itself.
We would love to get out of our line of work and try something new, but we’re just not sure if we’re too old of a dog to learn new tricks. We’re not sure if we have the time and patience to go back to school, or take a training course in the evenings. We’re not sure about the money.
We would love to get married to that man of our dreams, but we’re just not sure if the timing is all that great. We would love to settle down with our fair Juliet, but how do we really know if we’re ready to face the difficulty of a relationship?
And yet some of the best documentaries I’ve seen have been filmed on little hand-held camcorders, or used footage that was entirely borrowed from other sources. But they just made it work, piece by piece, little by little.
Walt Disney couldn’t get a job as a newspaper cartoonist, but didn’t stop drawing. He drew and drew and drew. He made cartoons until the source of creation breathed life into them. He had no more entrepreneurial talent than you do, and yet look what his simple idea created.
Rockefeller wasn’t born a multimillionaire. He wasn’t handed a massive company or inheritance. But he knew he was born to sell. So he sold. He sold candy door to door and did odd jobs wherever he could.
Hemingway didn’t come from a long ling of writers. He didn’t attend a prestigious university and earn an English degree. But he wrote. He also drank a lot, sure, but he wrote. He wrote words and he wrote them often.
So, what made Michelangelo a painter? What made Steve Jobs an entrepreneur? What made Bo Jackson an athlete? What made Hemingway a writer? What made Julia Roberts (or was it Sandra Bullock?) in Pretty Woman a prostitute?
All of these people made money doing these things, but that wasn’t what made them who they were.
Michelangelo was a painter because he painted. He loved to paint and he did it with all of his waking moments.
Bo Jackson played. He went out every single day and he played. Half the time the sport didn’t even matter to him, he just played it.
Julia Roberts’ character was a hooker because she hooked (hookered?).
Hemingway was a writer because he wrote. He was also a drinker, because he loved to get pants-shitting drunk.
You get the point.
Do you think Steven Pressfield considered himself a writer only after writing The Legend of Bagger Vance?
Or was he a writer for the nearly two decades of writing he did before his first professional gig?
There’s never going to be that perfect moment to do something, or someone, you love.
You’re never going to be fully equipped to do it.
You’ll never be expert enough in your own mind.
But you will always have that little voice that calls you to do the thing that makes you who you are.
And by listening to that calling every single day, you’re already a writer, or a painter, or a hooker.
And you’ll find you’re pretty fucking awesome at it. So do it.
Be good to each other,