Real work and real satisfaction come from the opposite of what the web provides. They come from going deep into something—the book you’re writing, the album, the movie—and staying there for a long, long time.
Steven Pressfield is a favorite author of mine. He’s the one who brought us the idea of “the resistance” in his book The War of Art, a book I try and read at least once a year.
This concept of going deep has been on my mind for a few years. I loved Cal Newport’s book Deep Work and highlighted it to death. But highlighting a book and implementing the principles it teaches you are two entirely different things.
(One is a few orders of magnitude harder as well…)
A goal I have for the new year and beyond is to stop spreading myself so thin with as many projects as I can think of, and instead going deep on one (maybe two) things.
I have a book I’m working on, a screenplay, a web series, and a website that I’m trying to get off the ground, and the only ones I’ve been able to make any meaningful progress on are the book and the screenplay, and only when I block out a few hours a day with no distractions – no phone, no internet, nothing – and going deep.
I want to do that more often, but I’m my own worst enemy. So, that in mind, I’m going to do much more creating and much less consuming going forward.