Get On With It: Tip From Alan Kitching On Defeating Creative Block
I was watching a documentary video a handful of months ago featuring Alan Kitiching to promote his new self titled book Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress.. In the video, Alan tells of when the head of school at his trade school gave him a project with a deadline and to motivate Alan to swiftness, said the phrase, “I don’t want a masterpiece, I want it tomorrow.” Alan then goes on to tell that the phrase left him with the impression to “Get on with it.” A lesson he claimed to never forget.
Get On With It. It is fantastic advise. Really, the only maxim that a creative professional need hold dear. The first time I read a similar sentiment was in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. A book I regularly refer to friends and other creative professionals and consider it a biblical tome for artists. Mr. Pressfield tells us that the most vital task that an artist can accomplish daily is to sit down and “do the work,” whatever it may be. More recently I have become a huge fan of Jocko Willink, after reading his book Extreme Ownership about 3 months ago, and his philosophy regarding discipline. He makes claims, and supports them, that once you know how to access your own human will that you will have an immense surplus of motivation, energy and creative inspiration available to you. He is correct.
I have spent about a decade of my life fumbling my goals over endless distractions, self doubt and a victim mentality. For a year straight I read Pressfield’s The War of Art. I found wisdom, but I did not find discipline. It wasn’t until I paired Jocko’s philosophy of stalwart discipline that the door to true creativity was unlocked for me. Sitting and setting a timer when it’s time to work. Leaving the browser closed except when needing to find a link or photo for an article or artwork. Simple behaviors, but exercising extreme control over the smallest aspects of life will lead you to great freedom and grandiose results.