Creative Pep Talk: Keep Going

June 28, 2016

Starting something new–a book, a piece of art, a 30-day Yoga challenge–can be discouraging. As Papa Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” The key to getting better is, of course, not giving up, but that can be hard to remember when you’re looking at what Anne Lamott calls “the shitty first draft.” (There just aren’t that many ways to describe first drafts.)

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the biggies of Yoga scriptures, giving up is addressed in Sutra 1.4: Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness. Thousands of years later, Ira Glass, host of This American Life, says basically the same thing in this great video. Remember, shit is just another word for fertilizer, which is vital to making beautiful things grow. (Thanks to David Shiyang Liu for sharing the video.)

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