‘Leave Your Problems Outside’ in 2014

steve-pressfield-2
Steven Pressfield.

In his “Writing Wednesday” message on Christmas Day, author and writer Steven Pressfield opened with an anecdote about studying ballet at the Metropolitan Opera. Miss Margaret Craske, a teacher who danced with Pavlova in the 1920s, told her students:

“LEAVE YOUR PROBLEMS OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM.”

That’s good advice as we begin a new year. Like a lot of good advice, it can be hard to follow.

Pressfield offered this encouragement:

How will you and I handle our work in 2014?

What’s so great about “Leave your problems outside” is it’s applicable even if we’re only going to have one hour a day to pursue our artistic dreams.

One hour is plenty if we banish all distractions at the doorstep. We enter our workspace, which is sacred space even if it’s only a cubby at the end of our double-wide with a hand-scrawled sign:

KIDS STAY OUT NEXT 60 MINS.

One hour is plenty if we focus. It’s plenty if we block out the self-censor and the inner critic. It’s plenty if we play. It’s plenty if we give it our all.

Steven Pressfield is the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, The War of Art and several other titles.

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