They’re Amazing. How Did They Do It?

Baseball players get home runs.

But they also strike out.

Babe Ruth, The Great Bambino himself, did it 1,330 times.

Football players get touchdowns.

But they also drop the ball.

Brett Favre was the first NFL quarterback to pass for 500 touchdowns. But he also fumbled the ball almost 200 hundred times.

Miles Davis is arguably the best jazz trumpet player of all time, and probably best remembered for his masterpiece “Kind of Blue.”

But he also recorded and played on dozens of records that no one, except maybe a Jazz historian, could tell you the names of.

The point is, that despite the glory, the accolades and awards that come with the victories of what these people accomplished, all of them did what a lot of us fail to do.

Show Up and Play.

They did what they loved to do, over and over and didn’t let the failures get in their way.

We think it comes so easy to them because we see the highlights. The finished product.

The feet measured as the ball flies out of the ballpark.

The end zone dance. (If you haven’t seen The Ickey Shuffle, you haven’t lived.)

We see the awards show where they’re having their photos taken on the red carpet.

Or when they’re promoting their new book on a TV show with the “Now A Major Motion Picture” sticker on it.

We see the end of it. Not the work that went in to making it.

The hours spent in the batting cages. The years of two-a-days.

We never see the countless failures, bad first drafts and pieces of crap that came before.

There is always a “Before”.

Forget about the “After”.

Show up and play.

Strike out. Drop the ball. Make terrible work.

Show up and play.

Get out of your head. Paint the piece. Write the story. Sing the song. Take the photograph.

You don’t need permission. You never did.

Show up and play.

Don’t be afraid of failure. Relish and learn from it.

Show up and play.

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Michael Jordan

Feel Like A Writing Failure Today?

Because I do.

No, I don’t know why. But there’s that ominous feeling again.
That voice in the back of my head, that is all too happy to take residence all up in there.

You suck!” It tells me. “Why even bother?” “You don’t know what you’re doing.

Creatives know the feeling. I believe everybody knows the feeling. But what is it?

A black cloud?
A heavy fog?
A sense of impending doom like that last scene in Stranger Things? #nospoilers

I don’t know. But it’s here. It’s big. It’s hairy. It’s evil. It’s running through my head like a movie trailer voiceover.

In a world. Where one man battles the forces of evil bent on destroying his creativity. He must make the choice between believing in himself and being creative, or falling prey to…. The Resistance.”

I don’t want to watch that movie.

But I now know what it is, this dark feeling. This doubt. This fear.

I’ve acknowledged it.
I’ve become aware and know that it’s there. I’ve given it a name, actually the name Steven Pressfield gave it, and I recognize it for what it is. It’s stupid, but it’s there.

The Resistance

Now what am I going to do about it?

Well, this post is a start. Because if I’m feeling like a failure at writing, it’s probably because I’m not writing.

Most, if not all, successful writers will tell you that you have to write every day in order to be a Writer.

“If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate…” – Ray Bradbury

“Write a page a day, only 300 words in a year…” – Stephen King

“Unless I write every day, I don’t feel I deserve my dinner.” – Charlie Chaplin

See? And that’s only a few examples. There are thousands of others.

Okay, so… I’ve recognized the feeling, acknowledged it and realized that it’s time to write.

So problem solved. Right?

Post is written and will be posted. Now I move on.
Resistance defeated.

Today.

But tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow it will return. Another day to struggle. Another day to battle. But I’m not promised tomorrow.
None of us are. It’s that thought that should make you want to get to work and fight. Because you only have now, today.

So I fight today.
I write today.
I win today.

Suck it Resistance!

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What Would Happen If?

If you were in a show and no one came to see it? Would you still be happy you were an actor?

Think about it. Close your eyes, no wait… don’t. Keep reading and imagine it.

You’re backstage in the dressing room. Your street clothes are hanging on the rack and your in your costume. Ready to hear the Stage Manager come over the speaker and say “Places”. Some say  “Actors to your places.” Some will be really nice and say “Places, please”. But they shouldn’t have to. You should know when you need to go on, right? You’re a professional.  They’re not your Mom.

Now you’re off stage and waiting for your cue. The moment comes and you Enter. You feel the lights on your face, your feet on the stage. You open your eyes and get ready to say your first line and see no one is in the audience.

What happens next? Because what happens next can define your character. Not the character you’re playing. Your actual character.

Do you go on?

If you don’t, why?

Of course, there are unions that have set down rules from on high to say you don’t have to go on if there aren’t enough people in the house. If the ticket sales haven’t reached a certain dollar that the house won’t open. If you built it and they didn’t come, you don’t need to be out there. That’s not the question.

The question is a philosophical one. If an actor stands on a stage and no one is there to see the performance, does it go on?

Are you an actor only to be in front of an audience and get the applause and praise? Or are you an actor because it’s like breathing? You have to do it, or you’ll die.

I heard a quote from Whoopi Goldberg once, “Do you want to be an actor? Or do you want to be famous?”

Any chucklehead can be famous. Look at all the “Reality” TV stars out there who have us all scratching our heads, wondering what it is they actually do. Are they doing it because they love it? Or because they want to be famous?

Fit in any creative career. Writing. Directing. Painting. Blogging. Editing. Dancing. Architecting. Okay, that isn’t a thing. But you know what I mean. Fit in anything that takes an imagination, creativity, passion and dedication and find out how badly you want to do it, and what are willing to do it for.

Look at what you’re doing, or want to do, and ask yourself, “If no one showed up, would I still do it?” Because if you love it, you will already know the answer. If you know the answer, you can then ask the real question, “What am I waiting for?”

“...the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs