Sunday, November 13, 2011

the meanies vs. the muse

"Most of us have two lives.
The life we live, and the unlived life within us...
Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint,
 an entrepreneur who never starts a venture?
Then you know what Resistance is."

This quote is taken from the book, theWARofART, by Steven Pressfield.

In it he talks about the excuses we concoct to defeat the creative urge within us. He encourages us to follow out intuition, our dream, and he tells us where to look for inspiration. For example, instead of romancing our muse, most of us worry about financial security. We complain that we don't have the time to take on one more thing. We shun solitude at all costs. It's no wonder we never get started...or finished.

He goes on to say:

"If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic, every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty....Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff."

Why? Because anger, depression, anxiety, hatred, and self-loathing are all bottled up inside, feeding us lies. Waiting to sabotage our efforts at the slightest provocation. You'd be nasty, too, if you were trapped in there with all those meanies.

If, instead, you prefer the company of dreamers, and optimists, and wishful thinkers, and self-starters then you should get in touch with your muse.

Whether your dream is to write, or paint, or compose, or perform, she can show you how to BEGIN...or to begin again, if you've already given up.

Here are ten surefire signs that you are ready:

--You're already in the habit of jotting notes on napkins, cashier receipts, or the back of your hand.
--You carry between five and ten pens with you at all times.
--You prefer to listen to the voices in your head than to engage in conversation with the person next to you.
--Somewhere stashed away in your house is a crate of moldering paints, petrified brushes, and unfinished canvases from who knows when.
--You haven't had the piano tuned for years and the books stored in the bench are starting to smell funky.
--The last thing you painted was the ceiling.
--The last time you sang in public was at the start of a ball game.
--Dread drops anchor with you some time after 3pm Sunday and doesn't lift until after 3pm Friday.
--You doodle on the back of corporate memos.
--Play is your idea of good honest work.

These are all tell tale signs that you have it in you...the desire, the spirit, the harness your creative energy. We all do.

The question is what will you do with yours?
"Why should we all use our creative power?
Because there is nothing
that makes people so generous,
joyful, lively, bold, and compassionate,
so indifferent to fighting and
the accumulation of objects and money."
--Brenda Ueland--
This week I plan to charge ahead with my WIP no matter what the meanies say.


  1. My blog was my first step in the "write" steps.

  2. This sounds like a grreat book. Go onward this week. I'm catching up to some stuff I've fallen behind on and hope to get back to the new work soon.

  3. Delores--I enjoy blogging alot--getting something down and then putting it out here without endless revisions! I think it's good practice.

    Tina--Thanks. I enjoyed the Pennwriters panel at the book festival yesterday, with Don, Franklin, and Susan.

    Susan--The holidays loom. Gotta get with it, now!

  4. Jan, this sounds like a 'must have' for the bookshelf, both for myself, and for my clients to dip into.

    I giggled about the pens (yes there are 10 in assorted colours and thincknesses!), the jotted notes (yep they're there all scrunched up at the bottom of my bag). But I like talking to people - I just don't understand why they clam up when they see me get my notebook out and ask if it's ok to jot down a few ideas as they talk ;)