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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Quotes

The emotional journey of creating anything great

The emotional journey of creating anything great #persistence #courage
via Bill Gross

Why is it that every new idea begins with excitement but ends in the ‘dark swamp of despair?’

Writes Angela Duckworth in her book Grit

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

Angela Duckworth

The key to achieving anything is not necessarily maintaining that excitement but pushing through all the CRAP (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure) and maintaining a beginner’s mindset.

Of course, you’re likely to lose interest, energy, and emotional support from family and friends along the way. That’s why it’s equally important to have a vision of where you want to go and what you’d like to accomplish. Developing habits, a daily practice, also help fight the resistance.

Good things are supposed to take time. Progress ebbs and flows. It’s beneficial, almost necessary, to step away from the work and plan unscheduled time. Even when you’re not thinking, you’re thinking; the brain never turns off.

If innovation were easy, anybody would do it.

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Arts Creativity Culture Life & Philosophy Quotes

Art as stimuli

A gif of man standing in subway watching the train pass

We need art just as we need food. Yes, art is unnecessary. It is “everything you don’t have to do,” as Brian Eno put it. But it’s also the fuel that powers emotions and deeper thinking.

“Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Alter an image, modify a sound. It doesn’t matter if the visual or the audible illustrate irreality. For the maker and the viewer, art offers an exit out of happiness.

Inspiration is stimuli

Art helps drive human progress. It is a snapshot in time, illustrating the context and habits of now and yesterday. Cinemagraphs of waves reminds us that water controls the Earth. Images of loose plastic remind us not to dump problems on tomorrow.

Art reminds us to slow down, to compel ourselves to see the beauty of what’s already there. So obsessed with innovation, especially in the chase of ephemeral pixels, it’s easy to forget how we had it before. We must build responsibly.

“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Stylization is inessential. But it drives culture. It ensures the durability of both uniqueness and artifice.

gif by SambMotion

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Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Quotes Writing

The World According to Garp

Below is an excerpt from John Irving’s 1978 novel The World According to Garp:

Garp threw away his second novel and began a second novel. Unlike Alice, Garp was a real writer—not because he wrote more beautifully than she wrote but because he knew what every artist should know: as Garp put it, “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.” Even if these so-called endings and beginnings are illusions. Garp did not write faster than anyone else, or more; he simply always worked with the idea of completion in mind.

Finish what you start, or throw it away and start something you’ll finish. Ship it.

On the other hand, you can put it aside and let it marinate.

Everything comes to use, eventually. You can only connect the dots looking backward after the experience.

art via giphy

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Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Quotes Writing

Seth Godin on writer’s block

Writer’s block is a myth created by people who are afraid to the do the work. / Seth Godin on writer's block #amwriting
gif via rewire.org & big hero 6

Writer’s block is a myth created by people who are afraid to do the work.

There are various reasons writers let the blank page get the best of their emotions.

  • Trying to be too perfect
  • Procrastinating en route to excuses that usually include the word “But….”
  • Unwilling to fail or write poor sentences first
  • Living up to someone else’s expectations
  • Being afraid to share their work

Writer’s block appears to be the work of evil. It wants us to quit and hide in shame instead of “dancing with the amygdala” as Seth Godin pleads on the very subject in his new podcast: ‘No such thing (as writer’s block).’ Stream it below.

In reality, no one gets talker’s block just as a plumber never gets plumber’s block or a teacher gets teaching block. Such stuckness is a work of fiction.

Pro tip: The habit of blogging every day helps me defeat writer’s block. The more you write, the more you have to play with. Start your blogging journey and set up your website for FREE on WordPress right here.

Forget inspiration and do the work

If we choose to be professional, we choose to show up consistently and dance with the fear. We develop habits that allow us to unlock what Steven Pressfield’s calls the resistance in his book The War of Art, compelling the muse to work with us rather than against us.

This is what Seth Godin says on facing the resistance:

“The resistance never goes away. The more important the work is, the louder it gets. The harder you try to make it go away, the hard and more clever it gets in response. The work is doing it when you don’t feel like it. Doing it when it’s not easy.”

Seth Godin

Fear leads to inertia which leads to regret. The lizard brain wants us to run away and never come back.

What if instead of giving up, we started writing by doing it poorly, persisting through the maze of bad ideas. Only when we have something to work with can go back we tweak it.

Perfection is futile — writers rarely nail in a good sentence in the first draft. Rough drafts are expectedly shitty. All writing is in the edit, anyway.

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”

Charles Bukowski 

If we write regularly, we’ll get better at avoiding the pain of getting stuck. Habits are everything. But if we do get blocked? Again, keep writing with no regard for perfection.

Said novelist John McPhee: “The funny thing is that you get to a certain point and you can’t quit. Because I always worried: If you quit, you’ll quit again. The only way out was to go forward, to learn your way and write your way out of it.”

In short, heed this writing advice: Don’t whine, don’t complain, get busy and make things. Speed-write, set an imaginary deadline, write by hand — do whatever it takes to get something down. And if we’re still stuck — go for walk while listening to Seth’s podcast below:

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Arts Quotes

Everyone is a critic

Not everyone is an artist but everyone is a fucking critic.

Marcel Duchamp, French-American painter, sculptor, and writer
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Quotes

‘A line is a dot that went for a walk’

Dots and line art gif

A line is a dot that went for a walk. 

Paul Klee