The Three of Wands is about watching a plan come together.
I was at my doctor’s office on Friday (just a check up, stop worrying). He knows I do improv, so he asked if I had a show coming up. As it happened, I did. That night. My first show in nearly a year and a half.
He paused and leaned over his desk. “Are you nervous?”
“To be perfectly honest,” I said, “No.” Sitting there, I felt no different about my evening plans than I would have were I going out to dinner or to a friend’s house to play board games.
My doctor was surprised. “Not even a little bit? A year and a half is a long time.”
“Not even a little bit,” I told him. “I just trust the process.”
I’ve been improvising long enough to know there’s nothing to be worried about. When I step on stage, it will just happen. I’ll say something, my scene partner(s) will say something back, and then we’re off. Eventually, we’ll have done a whole show. Which is exactly what happened.
Of course, that’s sort of the point of improv—to go in without a plan. The only thing you can really do is trust the process. It’s all you’ve got. But that philosophy applies to so much more than stagecraft. It guides my every creative endeavor. I don’t think much about writing each week; I just sit down and do it. My co-host and I don’t plan out our podcast; we just turn on the mics.
My philosophy mirrors that of Wilco frontman, Jeff Tweedy:
“Most days I don’t come into the studio with an idea for a song. Most days I come into the studio with this interest in discovery or idea that I can’t wait to hear what’s going to happen today. I just start making sound and try to focus while it leads without trying to lead it too much…the joy it’s the discovery.”
And Andy Warhol:
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide whether it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they’re deciding, make more art.”
The more time you worry, the more time you waste. You can’t think about what’s in front of you when all your drawers are open. So schedule the time you need for the work you want to do, and stick to it. And know that when you sit down, or turn on the mic, or step or stage, it will all come together. If you trust the process, it always does.
Each Monday, I share strategies to help you master your limited time, get started, and build creative habits that stick. Try it. You’ll like it.