Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, Episode 103: Give Yourself A Break

There are times when you can’t do everything you want to. And there are lots of times you can find reasons to beat yourself up for not doing (or being) “enough.”

But as long as you do the best you can with what you have in the moment, you are doing enough. And just by being, you’re being enough.

That’s the basics of what are explored in this episode of Femoir the Podcast. That, and…

I talk about Brian Koppelman’s Podcast: The Moment.

I mention my beloved David Goggins.

I talk again about Resistance.

I mention a specific interview on the moment with my (other beloved) Steven Pressfield.

I discuss doing what you need to do to recharge.

And why you can learn from everything, even your so-called mistakes.

All that and more on iTunes.

Subscribing and rating help the show big-time but you do you, babyboo.

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Femoir The Podcast: Episode 68 – Show Notes

resilienceWe’re back with another Femoir: The Podcast episode- can you believe it friends? All this time! And we’re back! And it feels sooooooo good.

In this episode, I talk about Steven Pressfield and three of his most significant books (at least for me):

1. The War of Art

2. Do the Work

3. Turning Pro

I also mention National Novel Writing Month, Family Guy, Pirate’s Booty White Cheddar Puffs and Smart Puffs Wisconsin Cheddar.

We’re back. And it’s very cheesy (aaaaaahhhh- get it!?).

Resistance is Futile

borgSteven Pressfield, one of my favorite modern writers, writes about this idea of “Resistance” as a prevailing universal force that keeps us from accomplishing that which is most important to us. His basic point is, when you’re doing something worthwhile and creating, you will feel tons of resistance. And that’s natural. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, the act of creating- even though not always a highly physical action- will create resistance.

It seeps into everything. You really want to write that chapter in your book but you somehow spend the whole night on Twitter. Your apartment suddenly becomes in dire need of a thorough cleaning the same night you set aside to start your screenplay. You sit down to write a blog and instead look at pictures of Jay Z and Beyonce.

Reading and learning about this concept has changed my life. Once I realized that what I was doing was sabotaging my own creativity, I could use the resistance to my advantage. I could learn that every time I find myself not doing something, I just have to be aware that I’m not doing it and take note of what that something is. Because clearly it’s important.

For example, when I was writing my book and web series at the same time, I would force myself to sit down and have long writing sessions. I would set aside clear times where I went off the grid. And I would stare at a blank piece of paper with no idea what was going to come. I’d give myself every advantage to be productive and I would still think of creative things to do other than write. But I realized that I was resisting. Which meant I was doing something important. So I’d push through and write anyway. Not because it was the best stuff I’ve ever written. But because I had to show myself that I could beat resistance.

It’s the same with my physical fitness. I like running distance races not because I plan on winning anything, but because I like training my physical body not to give up and to push through. Lots of times when I write it’s just to force myself to focus- not because I think it’s the most profound thing I’ll ever write. I just want to practice pushing through. I do open mics for comedy not because I expect my new agent to be waiting for me in the audience, but because I want to practice pushing through the nerves of standing in front of people and saying stuff (that often isn’t funny…yet).

Lately, I’ve felt a lot of resistance. At first I thought maybe it was just a reaction to the fact that my web series is in post-production so there’s not a whole lot I can do for it (which is not true- there’s still lots to be done on my end. Tons, actually. Erg.). But I’ve realized it’s because I’m at a new phase of creation. I need to revamp my book. That will take a lot of creativity and discipline. I’m working on several submissions. That will take a lot of creativity and discipline. I’ve got a few new projects on the docket which will- you guessed it- take a lot of creativity and discipline.

So I’m resisting. I don’t make time to sit. I peruse dumb pictures on BuzzFeed or Facebook. I don’t focus. I throw too much out there.

But I see it now. So I’m gonna do something about it. Because clearly these things that need to be created are gonna be amazing. Otherwise I wouldn’t be resisting them.

Do The Work

As I’ve mentioned once or twice (and will continue to mention throughout the month- my apologies), I’m working on quite a few projects right now. I love doing it, but I do run into issues.

Mostly within my own head.

I’m glad I just read Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work.” I’m very glad I did this. I think that’s the fuel upon which I can continue to push myself and create. In huge part because it gives a play by play of what can happen during the creative process. And because it gives that play by play, you can be ready for the shit as it slowly hits the fan.

The biggest focus of his book is the idea of the “resistance,” which comes as a natural reaction to “creation.” I love the whole concept. It’s simple really- with every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. And even though creation is this often physically intangible “action,” it naturally will cause a reaction. And that reaction is this idea of resistance.

Resistance is that little voice inside your head that tells you this idea is terrible. It’s that nagging voice that keeps you distracted during the one hour per day you’ve set aside to write. It’s that voice that convinces you to do the dishes instead of working on the project you have at hand.

I hate that little voice. I don’t like anything about it. And the problem is, I’ve spent years either listening to it or heeding its advice without ever realizing what I was doing.

But after reading “Do the Work,” now I expect it. I know it’s coming. I know it’s a natural part of the process. And I use it as a guide. When I feel strong resistance to some project, I know I’m onto something good.

I’m writing for National Novel Writing Month. Before I even wrote a word of the novel, I started questioning it. I was outlining the last of the characters I want to write about and I started hearing this voice say “This is stupid. This sucks. You’ll never actually get this written. Even if you do, there’s no way you’ll ever get it published. Even if you self-publish, nobody will like it. Why are you doing this? This is a waste of time. Just stop…” You get the idea.

Normally, this would cause more problem in my own mind. Normally, I would listen to this voice. I’d start to work on another project (because I always have a ton of ideas) and I’d never get anything done.

Instead, I was armed with two very important pieces of information.

1. This voice is the resistance. So I’m doing something right because it feels the need to rear its ugly head.

2. I’m doing this for me. I’m partially writing this book with the idea that I could someday publish it. But more importantly, I’m writing this book because I want to prove to myself that I can. I want to get these words and these stories on paper. I want to be a person who follows through on a major projects. In writing this, I’ll be a better person because I’ll become more creative and more empowered.

So, while I still hear that little voice inside my head nagging at me and I listen to it (because pretending it isn’t there gives it more power than it should), now I let it go on and on like Kanye at the Grammys. Then when it’s done and it’s little vocal chords are strained and tired, I smile and thank it for reminding me I’m doing exactly what I should be doing. Then I get right back to doing the work.