Show up

I saw a makeshift sign/poster on a design agency wall the other day, it read “Show Up. Be Present. Tell the truth. Let it all go.”
‘Show up’ seems to be coming at me from a few sources lately. David Taylor recently asked the artist Jim Janknegt to give his top tips for being a productive artist. ‘Show up’ came in at number 5 on his list of ten. He says:

“I generally stick to my schedule even when I don’t feel like it. 90% of getting things done is just showing up. If I show up and just sit in a chair and stare at my painting or fall asleep I have not lost my momentum. Inertia is hard to overcome. Once I get started, I don’t stop.”

In the following video Elizabeth Gilbert also places emphasis on showing up, for these is a sense that in the creative process there is more going on that what we bring to the work:

For the creative we must know both discipline and grace. We must practice our craft, put in the work, and most of all simply ‘show up’. But, there is also a sense of grace. For, where does the scientists hypothesis come from? Where did those first few words of that poem come from? How did I just know to write it that way? How did I just know, the line had to follow that curve? Grace, I believe is present in our creative work, but we must show up.
Sleep also works in this way, sleep is a grace for the body, it re-vitalizes and re-juvenates us, it gives us energy of the coming day, and reminds us that the world can continue spinning with out our intervention. But a good sleep pattern also requires a discipline of sorts, nothing complicated we simply have to show up. And in this place dreams are made.
Finally, (also from David Taylor) –

According to Schwartz, courtesy of the Harvard Business Review: “The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them—build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.”

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