Riding the productivity wave can often feel like you’re being dragged up a flight of stairs, unsure if you’re going reluctantly against your will, or tiptoeing blindly around dark corners being led by your intuition.
One minute you’re feeling the pull of creativity - dying to get it all out, heart to page, metaphorically bleeding onto the canvas, pouring your heart out.
Then in a split second, as soon as you hit the chair, everything stops. The creativity goes quiet, leaving you trapped, constricted by the inner-judgments of your own ego, wondering why you bothered to get out of bed at 3 in the morning.
I’ve heard many people enjoy the phrase “Art is War”, as though it’s some profound platitude that’s shattered their mind’s Matrix.
While it can indeed feel like a tug-of-war just to get yourself to sit down and DO, I feel that this saying very clearly, and very deeply, carries a seriously negative connotation. Of course, anything that’s thought to be a war, suggests there is something to defeat; and to some degree, I can agree with the conquering of your own distractions as a feat to be celebrated - but do we really need to think of it as an unnecessary, pain-stakingly destructive blood bath?
Is it really that chaotic and horrible to overcome our instinctual laziness with a willpower to create?
When I thought I would write a blog post about procrastination, my eyes rolled so far back into my head that I actually laughed out loud. I will literally do anything I can to avoid having to sit in front of this screen, if I have the chance. But by building the habit and refusing to cave and give into the senseless chatter of the ego, those moments where the inspiration to create taps on my shoulder or whispers in my ear are becoming much more frequent. You really just have to open the door. Saying things like “I’ll do it when I have more time”, or “I’m too tired”, or “Maybe later” are doing such a disservice to yourself, and to the world. Because you’re instead choosing to vibrate on a frequency of the negatives - of the doubt, the worry, the fear, the exhaustion - which is exactly what you’re exuding to those around you. By refusing to accept defeat and becoming excited, curious, and prepared to sit and make something out of nothing, the vibration shifts: you start sending off vibrations of success, gratitude, happiness. In short, you are opening more doors than closing the first one you have to walk through.
Junot Diaz said, “The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.” In an age where you can tap into any stranger’s stream of consciousness on any corner of the planet, we are faced with the new challenge of compare and contrast. Is my life better than hers? Because I have less followers does that make me less-than? Does anyone really want to know what I have to say when a hundred other people are talking? If we want to contain our sanity, we must support ourselves through the trenches by listening to the only voice that matters among the others: persistence.
I’d like to believe that the process each and every creator goes through is like a very patient hike through the mountains. Sure, there’s procrastination, frustration, impatience, maybe some fury and self-hate. But this is where the important part lies, and the learning comes in. Without the work and the triumphs through the trials, we are unable to grow, expand, and fill our own shoes that we set out to step into before we even got here. That mountain doesn’t need to be Everest, though I’m sure at times it will feel like it is. You cannot sprint, or you'll lose your energy and burn out. You cannot wish you had the person's legs who is climbing next to you, because you're stuck with your own and you need them to carry you to the top. You cannot use all your resources at once. You must have patience and confidence in your abilities and your strengths. The more steps you take, the further along you’re getting - if you choose to call defeat, you might as well curl up into a little ball and roll all the way back down the hill into your dark pity corner. Recognize the strength and the power of your own soul, give yourself credit where it’s due. Inside all of us exists an enormous potential - we just need to choose what to do with it.
Do we choose to ignore it? To simply lay back and recline into servitude and “what’s easy”? Or do we choose to challenge ourselves into curiosity for what more is out there for the taking, the exploring, the conquering? It shouldn’t have to be a war. It should be an adventure.
It should be exciting and exhilarating and wonderful in its wonderment of the “is this going to work? is this what I want?” as the fear fades into trust, evolving into confidence, resulting in producing some seriously badass work.
*And as a secret - it's always going to work, if you see no other way but for it to work.