As much as collaboration is a great thing and working within groups enriches us – sometimes we have to work alone and I tripped over this piece about working alone that I thought I’d share. It comes from Steven’s Pressfield’s ‘The War of Art’ ( by the way the rest of the book is just as great) ….
Sometimes we balk at embarking on an enterprise because we’re afraid of being alone. We feel comfortable with the tribe around us; it makes us nervous going off into the woods on our own.
Here’s a trick: We’re never alone. As soon as we step outside the campfire glow, our Muse lights on our shoulder like a butterfly. The act of courage calls forth infallibly that deeper part of ourselves that supports and sustains us.
Have you seen interviews with the young John Lennon or Bob Dylan, when the reporter tries to ask about their personal selves? The boys deflect these queries with withering sarcasm. Why? Because Lennon and Dylan know that the part of them that writes the songs in not “them,” not the personal self that is of such surpassing fascination to their boneheaded interrogators. Lennon and Dylan also know that the part of themselves that does the writing is too sacred, too precious, too fragile to be redacted into sound bites for the titillation of would-be idolators (who are themselves caught up in their own Resistance). So they put them on and blow them off.
It is commonplace among artists and children at play that they’re not aware of time or solitude while they’re chasing their vision. The hours fly. The sculptress and the tree-climbing tyke both look up blinking when Mom calls, “Suppertime!”