Creativity Versus Resitance
I’ve recently downloaded the audiobook, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, and just finished listening to it, for the fourth time. It has so much juice and honesty. It felt as though he wrote it for me.
I’ve been fighting my own war as of late. VoiceOver is a creative endeavor, and can be all consuming on the business side. As entrepreneurs, we are continuously deluged with a blinding amount of daily details, distractions, have to’s, go-to’s and each day we work like crazy to try to bring home the bacon AND fry it up !
My ” to do” list seems to grow like Godzilla overnight. I’m pretty much resolved that it will never be completed. So I work hard and fast to focus and scratch things off one at a time. It helps, for sure, but what about those auditions piling up in the in-box?
How do we suddenly shift our mindset from the harried and rabid business owner that needs to write another blog post, prepare invoices, reach out and touch clients, take some phone calls, marketing and social media, editing, checking email, cleaning the workspace, bookkeeping and accounting, and then boom…switch gears, focusing all attention into the booth to connect with the copy and create some kind of magic with the words. You have a deadline to send those suckers out within the next hour! Why even put in the time if you put in less than 110% effort. A slacker’s method will never book the gig.
Some use interns, assistants, virtual or otherwise. Unfortunately I can’t get interns out here in the area I am located. Even though I’ve occasionally hired virtual assistants, I’m pretty much a hands on business person, and I watch my expenses more closely than ever. But I do I hire others to clean my house. That’s where I’ll draw the line. My time is better spent working on and in my business than swishing out toilets.
The Resistance Within
I have been fighting the war against resistance, too. Resistance, Pressfield contends, is the enemy, and it can destroy us if we allow it. Resistance, procrastination, excuses, surfing the web, gazing at email on the Steve Jobs device are all that, and more. (Think vices. )
So how am I going to get rich in this business, or any business if I let Resistance in the door? One thing I will do is not allow the external world to define me, and compare my income to others, who may make more or less than I. Success is relative! No more trying to keep up with others, or burn myself out and threaten my health by working myself to death. One thing I know for sure; if I take the time time to fully live today, I’ll be better at the work tomorrow. And success will take care of itself.
What are the Characteristics of Resistance?
So what are the characteristics of Resistance? Pressfield has identified many different ones. They are as follows:
- Invisible – The only sense we have of its presence is through it being felt as a repelling, negative force intended to distract and push us away. We can’t hear it, taste it, touch it, or smell it, but we can feel it. We get that unsettled feeling that wants to distract us and push us away from what we know we need to do.
- Internal – It arises from within and is the enemy from within. Don’t ever look outside for sources of Resistance. People say I will begin this or do that when I start feeling better or when I’m more ready. According to Pressfield, this is hogwash. There are never perfect conditions to begin tackling what we have to do. We can always cite some sub-optimal condition to delay starting the project. The professional, according to Pressfield, shuts up and gets to work. He goes on to use an athlete as an example of this ridiculous type of thinking.
Invoking the Muse
I like how Pressfield conveys his own struggles with Resistance, and works to banish it by “praying” the invocation of the muse. The muse comes from early Greek literature, and was used by Homer, a blind poet, father of the great oral tradition and ultimate storyteller. He was the rock star of his day. Homer invokes the muse for inspiration at the beginning of The Odyssey.
The Muse is a spirit of inspiration. The Ancient Greeks of the Bronze Age believed that one of nine Muses, daughters of the Greek God, Zeus, inspired different forms of prose, poetry, drama, rhetoric, or general writing. Thus, the invocation was a homage and supplication to these deities in hopes of best capturing the topic of Epic poems, expressing the purpose of the narrative, but also incorporating mores and traditions familiar to that specific audience.
One of my favorite voiceover coaches, Marice Tobias says, “Don’t phone it in”. Promise, I won’t. Since reading his book, I’ve adopted Pressfield’s use of the invocation of the muse and have invited her to my sessions and auditions. I implore her to find myself worthy of her inspiration so I can fully lift my voice and allow creativity to spring forth from the written narrative before me.
Invocation to the Muses (Howard Andrew Jones)
Muses, I praise thee.
Grant me the vision to craft words of power that sear into the mind’s eye.
Let my ears hear words that are true and pure.
Let my inspiration be a mighty steed that carries me forward.
I pledge to you that I shall fight Resistance and strive to bring glory to the tales you would have me tell.
Let the work begin.