How to Begin.

How to Begin.

“Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!”

Sol LeWitt’s famous letter to Eva Hesse may be the best antidote to creative paralysis we’ve ever seen. In our Campfire workshops, we invite educators to consider why so many of us struggle to do the things we actually want to do: read, write, exercise, cook, make art. In this letter (image and full text in PDF), he urges us all to stop making excuses and just do.

The choreographer Twyla Tharp has her own remedy for the same problem: She begins every day with non-negotiable ritual of going to the gym. And actually, she writes in her book The Creative Habit that the gym itself is not exactly the ritual:

“The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual. It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it – makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.” (PDF excerpt)

And finally, the writer Cheryl Strayed – writing an advice column as “Sugar” – responds to a young writer who is struggling to persist through her own insecurity and hesitation. Her classic response, “Write Like a Motherfucker,” pretty much sums it up. (PDF)