As a creator, you want to create. You have this urge in you that needs to bring to life a vision, a feeling, a message.
No matter what else you do in life, this urge to create — this Muse ****— needs to express herself.
This urge to create often conflicts with something else that is a need, too. The need to feed yourself, your kids, your dog, your parents, and if you're unlucky, critters in your attic.
Many "solve" this by working a job, fulfilling someone else's dream. While at the same time having the hope to keep that job (read: the fear of losing it) to earn enough bucks to sustain yourself and the Muse.
You can almost look at your Muse as your prisoner. Your Muse, your innermost creative and genius subconscious being, is put in a cage.
Weeks, sometimes even months or years, go by for you to unlock her from solitary confinement for just short periods.
That seems pretty sad.
Does everyone feel this?
Maybe you're in a great spot regarding your creative endeavors (please do feel free to share your tips & tricks!).
Or you're in such a grave spot that other things need to be taken care of first (if so, and you want someone to listen, my email is open to you).
If the above is the case, better take care of those things first. (I'll be here waiting when you're ready.)
But if you find your Muse is caged too often, please stick around because there is hope.
For your Muse has a hidden ally.
This ally is hiding in plain sight. He shows up day in day out. He is optimizing and organizing. He is mechanically and unemotionally slogging on.
Almost indifferent to his surroundings, he is doing what needs to be done.
He is the Robot. Your Robot shows up every day to help you. He must do so to sustain your lifestyle. He is there when you're working on your job or running errands.
It's not the case that your Robot has perseverance. Your Robot simply doesn't care.
Feeling down? Just go to work. Feeling happy? Just go to work. Rain? Walk the dog. Sunshine? Walk the dog.
Your Robot is methodical and precise. No process or task seems daunting because every task can be cut up into smaller jobs.
Will a task take a long time? It doesn't matter. Tomorrow is a new day to continue the job.
Like Sisyphus in Albert Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus," the Robot shows up for the grind, always.
…because deep down, it knows it won't survive without doing the work.
No work means no food. No food implies death.
But why don't we apply the Robot to the work our Muse needs to produce?
It could be that you're experiencing what Steven Pressfield calls ****'Resistance,' in his book 'The War of Art.'
"Resistance is described in a mythical fashion as a universal force with one sole mission: to keep things as they are."
If I were to simplify the definition of Resistance, I would call it Fear.
Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of yourself.
Seriously, if you struggle with the Fear (aka Resistance) and you have not yet read 'The War of Art', go buy* it.
*I love Pressfield's books and can recommend any 'Muse' to read them. But I can imagine you're short on cash (starving artist and all). As such, if the $5-$10 price is too high for you — which I understand (in many countries it's a day's work) — write me a ~500-word email explaining your situation, and I will buy you the book outright.
The Robot and The Muse
Your Robot enables your Muse to be set free and flourish.
Embracing your Robot and Muse as two sides of the same coin is profound. When you do this, alchemy happens. You start being able to bring about a change in your life and work that seemed impossible before.
Big goals start to seem achievable. Unfounded criticism of your work turns into noise. You will take your profession seriously. Others will do so too.
Your Robot and Muse together can defeat the Fear—every day.
Yes, the Fear keeps showing up every day, Resistance does not yield the fight. But when you overcome it once, you know you can do so again.
Robots do more
A Robot has some extra features on top of just 'showing up every day,' even though, showing up is the most important one.
Let's look at a few definitions of a Robot:
- "A person who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner."
- "..a mechanism guided by automatic controls."
- "A robot is a machine designed to automatically execute one or more tasks with speed and precision."
These definitions lead us to a list of characteristics, some of which we already covered.
- Show up every day.
- Do the work, regardless of how you feel.
But robots do more in regards to processes. They do them:
- in an optimized way
- with precision
- with speed
These second set of features of the Robot are something we can influence by implementing technology and procedures that make your Robot able to thrive. Create an automated distribution of your creative content, for example.
When you enable your Robot to do robot-things, you free up time and energy for your Muse to create remarkable things.
I hope you can find both the Robot and Muse within yourself and embrace them as part of yourself.
If you feel you have gained insight into your inner Robot or Muse through this article, please let me know. :)
And did you like my article and want to discuss it? Feel free to have a conversation with me on Twitter. I hang around there most.