“The creative act is primitive. Its principles are of birth and genesis.” -- Do The Work, Steven Pressfield
This week, I decided to read again Steven Pressfield’s three books Turning Pro, The War of Art and Do the Work. In the end, I only got about halfway through Turning Pro, but it was enough of what I wanted -- help.
Help to get my s*** together (again).
By now you must be sick to death of reading my tired-sounding excuses for not reaching my writing goals, but in sharing what ails me, I do so not seek condolences or solace, but to help me work through this period of my life.
It’s not a case of not knowing what I should do. It’s a case of doing it!
In the past, I went too wide with my expectations -- and had too many plates in the air -- but now I’m moving in a sphere where I know that if I don’t ‘refine my skills to support my instincts’ I’ll fail, and fail big time. (This is a line you’ll find in Rosanne Cash’ memoir, Composed which in turn Steven Pressfield prays in aid to support the crossover from amateur to professional.)
As I’ve already said, this means spending more time on writing, learning the craft of writing and then shipping something of value (to me).
And, of course, in between writing, I’ve got to make a living, spend time with my children and wife, ride my bike, and keep everything together mentally and emotionally (over the past few weeks I’ve taken solace from listening to the works of Richard Rohr and Thomas Merton -- thank you to both of them).
Of course, I could just give up on the notion of being a writer, and stick to blogging, but it’s not what drives me on. Blogging, as much as I love the craft, is not writing but merely a crack in a wall that allows the light to enter. Perhaps I’m deluded, but writing, or at least my version of it, is the mesmerising light that stands above as all.
If all of this can be summed in the idea of ‘turning pro’ then judging by the professional cyclists I know, I’ve got a bloody long way to go before I cross the rubicon. I’m sure, above all else, that time will dictate my ‘success’ and that’s why, over the past few months, I’ve weaned myself off of social media and a number of other activities that were and had become displacement activities. In the end, I see turning pro as more zenlike than anything else -- to simplify my life in such a way that there’s nothing else left.