Here it is, Day 2. Well, guess I’m doing okay so far!
In the Tim Ferriss – Seth Godin I was listening to the other day, Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors, gets brought up. Turns out Gaiman is respected by both Ferriss and Godin – no surprise to me, considering how good he is at what he does. Godin brings up an interesting fact about Gaiman:
Neil famously had said that the way he writes a book is he makes himself extremely bored. And, if he’s bored enough, a book’s gonna come out, because he needs to entertain himself!
This is brought up in the context of what Godin calls “conservation of Fear” and the “cognitive load.” Basically, he’s talking about why he doesn’t use Twitter because, although it would offer some extra hits of engagement with his readers, it would take up mental energy that would be better spent writing his blog. If this were to happen, he wouldn’t be abled to get bored enough to do what really matters to him!
I wanted to bring this up because yesterday, I was feeling quite bored. But instead of catching myself, I started binge-watching the show Breaking Bad. This is something I occasionally do when I am feeling Resistance and don’t want to own up to it. Today, I am getting back on track, but I still feel a pang of regret for having wasted my time and mental energy.
Being an impresario requires a lot of self-awareness, yes. But more than that, it requires the courage to Act. The hardest thing for me to do last night was pick up the pen and write, or sit down at my piano and start to play, and I failed the test (and now I am punishing myself by posting a public confession for all to see). The good news is that these occasions are actually our friends, because they show us when it’s time to Act, when it’s time to get down to business – to “get better at the things we want to get better at”, as Godin puts it.
This, for me, anyway, an Impresario in the embryonic stages, may be the first step. The step is two-fold: recognizing my Resistance (when I’m bored, can’t sleep, etc.), and taking a definite Action to overcome it. Although I love Breaking Bad, I’ve seen it before (well, except the final season, which I am not-so-secretly itching to get my hands on), and know for sure that it’s not exactly going to help me become a better Impresario.
The Impresario’s time is precious and he must be very wise with it. Neil Gaiman allows himself to get bored because he knows that he will sit down at his word processor and start writing.
What “techniques” do you use to get your own creative juices flowing? I’d like to hear about them. Just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanks for reading.
Oh, and here’s the episode of the podcast I’ve been citing in this post and also the previous one.