Do Your Work

Day 5 of Seth Godin’s “Your Turn Challenge” – Tumblr

Getting stuck means different things to different people.  I’d imagine for a writer, “stuck” means their mental word stream abruptly slows to a trickle; for an artist, a loss of visualization or an inability to conceive of the finished piece; for an athlete, failure in shaving that ever-important tenth of a second.  In all cases, the most reasonable input would be to walk away.  Clear the mind, re-establish the vision, disassociate yourself from previous failed attempts.  This is common sense.

There is however a much more crippling manifestation of “stuck”…one that I’m more intimately familiar with than the above examples.  In my mind “stuck” isn’t repeated failed attempts or a loss of what was once a clear vision, it is the paralyzing inability to get started…to boot the word processor, to pick up the brush, to record that first time.  I rarely find myself lacking in ideas, in projects, in creative activities — I have notebooks filled with opportunities to launch.

But getting started is tough.  Even in an isolation tank, initiating a project or pursuing an original idea may mean you’re not as fit for the job as you expected.  The business fails, the short story doesn’t turn out to be compelling, the art piece isn’t beautiful.  This is where the most lethal notion of “stuck” enters our brain, the kind of stuck that has us whipped before we start.

There could perhaps be no better venue than the Your Turn Challenge Blog to share my solution to this malady.  After all, why are we all here?  To hone our ability to “ship it.”  To take an idea that is bouncing around in our heads and articulate it to a larger group, regardless of how ugly it might turn out.  And therein lies the rub.  By ignoring the paralyzing fear that what we ultimately will produce may not be as good as we like, we free ourselves.

So, “Do your work,” as Dean Briggs said.  “That little more which is worth all the rest.”  Getting un-stuck is getting started.

Do Your Work

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