A cavalryman's horse should be smarter than he is. But the horse must never be alowed to know this.
A horse must be a bit mad to be a good cavalry mount, and its rider must be completely so.
Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.
We’re all pros already. 1) We show up every day 2) We show up no matter what 3) We stay on the job all day 4) We are committed over the long haul 5) The stakes for us are high and real 6) We accept remuneration for our labor 7) We do not overidentify with our jobs 8 ) We master the technique of our jobs 9) We have a sense of humor about our jobs 10) We receive praise or blame in the real world
Next morning I went over to Paul’s for coffee and told him I had finished. “Good for you,” he said without looking up. “Start the next one today.
The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.
As powerful as is our soul's call, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. We're not alone if we've been mowed down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us.
If you want to send a manuscript, send it to an agent. And send a letter first, asking permission. Launch it into the real world of cold-blooded commercial response, not into the fantasyland of wishful thinking, cowardice and surrender to Resistance.
I wrote in the 'War of Art' that I could divide my life neatly into two parts: before turning pro and after. After is better.
Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we're thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don't show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin', no matter what.
Long-term, we must begin to build our internal strengths. It isn't just skills like computer technology. It's the old-fashioned basics of self-reliance, self-motivation, self-reinforcement, self-discipline, self-command.