The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. he accepts that. He recognizes it as reality.
I was crushed. Here I was, forty-two years old, divorced, childless, having given up all normal human pursuits to chase the dream of being a writer; now I’ve finally got my name on a big-time Hollywood production starring Linda Hamilton, and what happens? I’m a loser, a phony; my life is worthless, and so am I.
My friend Tony Keppelman snapped me out of it by asking if I was gonna quit. Hell, no! ‘Then be happy. You’re where you wanted to be, aren’t you? So you’re taking a few blows. That’s the price for being in the arena and not on the sidelines. Stop complaining and be grateful.’
That ws she nI realized I had become a pro. I had not yet had a success. But I had had a real failure.
— <The War of Art>
Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it’s for failure.
We may take pride in our work, we may stay late and come in on weekends, but we recognize that we are not our job descriptions. The amateur, on the other hand, over identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright. Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and over terrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.
The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.
The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.
WATCH YOURSELF. OF ALL THE MANIFESTATIONS OF RESISTANCE, MOST ONLY HARM OURSELVES. CRITICISM AND CRUELTY HARM OTHERS AS WELL.
Creating soap opera in our lives is a symptom of Resistance. Why put in years of work designing a new software interface when you can get just as much attention by bringing him a boyfriend with a prison record?
Anything that draws attention to ourselves through pain-free or artificial means is manifestation of Resistance(Procrastination).
We get ourselves in trouble because it’s a cheap way to get attention. Trouble is a faux form of fame. It’s easier to get busted in the bedroom with the faculty chairman’s wife than it is to finish that dissertation on the metaphysics of motley in the novellas of Joseph Conard.
Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.
This second, we can sit down and do our work.