Monday, February 1, 2010

On Lizard Brains And Shipping

"Real artists ship." That is a quote from Seth Godin in his latest book Linchpin. I talked about my crush on Seth a few weeks ago. But can you blame me? This guy always gets me thinking.

Depending on your art, shipping can mean a lot of things. As a blogger, it means hitting the publish button. My last blog was January 28. I haven't been shipping. Mostly because the lizard brain has crept into my psyche and has been refusing to keep his voice quiet. You might think that voice would get me writing and shipping, but it hasn't. The lizard brain is the fearful part of me. The one who worries about money and success and things like that. You would think that would get me moving. But it has done just the opposite. When the lizard brain gets noisy it evokes in me a semi state of inertia. I am not completely frozen. I am wandering, from project to project, completing nothing.

Everything I want to do is swirling around in my head, manifesting the last few days in opened and minimized documents on my computer screen and piling up around my feet in the form of notebooks, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, half read books and health insurance plans. No shipping. Which as a writer makes me question whether I am truly an artist. For if real artists ship, what have I been doing the last few days. Pretending to be an artist? This is my lizard brain in action. Questioning everything and getting no movement.

OK, so if you have not read Linchpin, and again I highly recommend you do, you are wondering what exactly a lizard brain is. The lizard brain is also known as The Resistance. For me it's been manifesting in writer's block.

I decided to stop this morning and read that chapter on The Resistance in Seth's book. I struggled with my decision, because reading instead of shipping didn't make logical sense. I didn't know at the time that I was actually taking control of my lizard. You see according to Seth, the lizard brain will tell you not to do that. Read. The lizard brain thinks reading books that might make a difference is a waste of time.

The lizard brain is wrong. Taking a moment to do something useful , like reading Linchpin, can have profound effects. It got me to ship something today.

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