On overcoming fear, procrastination, and (capital R) Resistance

There's a great book by author Steven Pressfield called The War of Art.

Pressfield is an old Marine and best-selling author/screenwriter, and this book, for me, is a great summation of a lot of the thoughts and challenges that I've been experiencing as I dive into standup.

In the book, he talks about the idea of Resistance, which is a powerful internal antagonizing force that all people - but especially creative people - feel. A lot of the book is dedicated to how we think about, approach, and ultimately overcome that feeling every day we have to create. 

Here are a couple favorite quotes so far:
Remember our rule of thumb: the more scared we are of the work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
A professional acts in the face of fear. An amateur believes he must first overcome his fear, and then he can work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior, or a dread free artist.
The battle must be fought anew every day.
If you ever struggle with procrastination, or internal rationalization which keeps you from doing your work, or external pressures which draw you away, this book will help. I recommend it on audio book, it will only take about two and a half hours of your time.

Brief stand-up  advice for the day: I got some feedback after another mediocre mic last night:

1) tell the audience where to laugh - they don't know you yet, your structure, or when you're joking. Build in a consistent rhythm so they know where to laugh. Do material at the beginning which establishes this rhythm, and then stick to it.

2) when you make your friends laugh, what are you doing? - this seems so stupidly simple I should have been doing it already. But think about what you do when you make your friends laugh. What kind of things are you saying? What kinds of situations? What kinds of opinions, thoughts, observations?

Both of these, looking back, seem really obvious. It's stuff I've read before, which I simply have not incorporated into the work. 

That's all for today, see you tomorrow!

-Jon

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