The Obstacle is the Way isn't really a creativity book but I'm finding it pretty helpful for getting through the creative process. It addresses many of the things that creatives go through... fear, obstacles, limits, failures, set backs, etc. The author Ryan Holiday sums up the book with:
See things for what they are. Do what we can. Endure and bear what we must. What blocked the path now is a path. What once impeded action advances action. The Obstacle is the Way.
My favorite part of the book was the action chapter called Follow the Process. In it, he tells the story of Alabama football coach Nick Saban who says...
"Don't think about winning the SEC Championship. Don't think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in the drill, on this play, in this moment. That's the process: Let's think about that we can do today, the task at hand."
Holiday goes on to explain...
Exellence is a matter of steps. Excelling at this one, then that one, and then the one after that. Saban's process is exclusively this---existing in the present, taking it one step, at a time, not getting distracted by anything else. Not the other team, not the scoreboard or the crowd.
How does this apply to me/you/all creatives?
Okay, you've got to do something very difficult. Don't focus on that. Instead break it down into pieces. Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well. And then move on to the next thing. Follow the process and not the prize.
Today I'll put paint to canvas and write some words because those are the tasks at hand. Tomorrow I'll do the same.