I’ve spent a lot of time trying to heal. Where some suppress their demons and walk about with a sense of unease, I have stripped them bare; to my counsellors, to my friends – to myself. But I have been carrying around with me a sense of unease about something else – my creativity; in particular with my music.
I’ve never done enough. I’ve never created enough to be content with. I’ve never achieved a smooth workflow, never worked hard enough. I’ve never demonstrated to myself how much I truly want it except from the energy I put into manifestation; but even that can be a form of stalling.
I started this blog partly on the premise that increased self-esteem would lead to increased creativity. High self-esteem can certainly give you the courage to create but not necessarily the will – that comes from somewhere else.
I recently received an almighty kick in the ass in the form of a book called The War Of Art. Steven Pressfield writes at length about Resistance – the powerful force in all of us that prevents us from “doing our work”, whether that be recording vocals, writing a screenplay or working out.
“What does Resistance feel like? First, unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades everything, We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the source.” – The War Of Art, Steven Pressfield
How much of my life have I felt like this and put it down to being “a depressive”? Depression is perhaps the most straightforwardly visceral manifestation of Resistance. And it’s no wonder. What’s more soul-destroying than not doing that which we truly want to do with all our hearts and feeling as if we don’t have access to the personal power to try to make it happen?
“As artists and professionals it is our obligation to enact our own internal revolution, a private insurrection inside our own skulls… We unplug ourselves from the grid by recognising that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc., but only by doing our work.”
I recently went on hiatus from social media. I felt stifled by it, confused, distracted, conflicted. It’s been a few weeks and proper distance from it has allowed me to view its egocentric elements (and by association, mine) with more clarity. And it’s also given me the space to absorb the information in this book.
I’ve started to identify all my excuses, all my obstacles to creating and how they’d all been placed there insidiously by Resistance.
Last Saturday, I had a big night out for a friend’s 21st birthday. I had a great time but was naturally quite hungover the next day. I don’t know why but in my head the seed was planted that I should do some producing that day. Now, I hadn’t produced in months but I managed to convince myself that today, of all days, was going to mark my return to music. And I managed to convince myself that being hungover was “no excuse” not to do it. That was just Resistance speaking.
“What’s particularly insidious about the rationalisations that Resistance presents to us is that a lot of them are true. They’re legitimate… What Resistance leaves out, of course, is that all this means diddly. Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace. Lance Armstrong had cancer and won the Tour de France three years and counting.”
I don’t know what it is about that particular excerpt from the book that had such an impact on me. Perhaps it’s that it’s so quietly profound and indisputable. But whatever the reason, I sat down on Sunday, half hungover and half still-drunk, and produced for an hour and a half and made a beat from scratch.
That feeling of a seed being planted or a niggling in the pit of my stomach has been a recurring thing since Sunday. On Monday, I decided I’d go to the gym after work and stave off the last of the hangover blues. And after work and the gym and everything else, I sat down to produce again. On Tuesday night, I set myself the task of drafting up this blog post. The idea filled me with unease – I hadn’t written in so long, I wasn’t sure I could. But I sat down to do it and the writing flowed out of my pen. Because it’s not about believing in yourself or having great ideas – it’s about bloody sitting down and doing it. And this book has given me the power to do just that.
I’m so happy to be writing again and I’m sorry that it’s been so long. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be writing about from now on or when my regular posting day will be, but I do know that I’ll be making much less excuses from now on.
Thank you so much for reading. Sending all my love.
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx