Your Best Creative Tool (Is You) with Paul Jarvis

As you may know, I’ve been traveling quite a bit this year. It’s been fun to meet many of you at the various events I’ve spoken at or attended. One question I keep hearing is: “What’s your favorite writing tool?”

Your Best Creative Tool (Is You) with Paul Jarvis

It’s always good to ask what’s working for someone, but this question represents a popular misconception about creative work.

As I once heard Seth Godin say:

“We think that if we ate the same breakfast cereal that Stephen King ate, we’d be able to write like him.”

But it doesn’t work that way.

A wonderful trick of Resistance is deceiving you into thinking you have to wait for a better tool, a bigger opportunity, or some “break” before you can do your work.

So we tell ourselves we’ll start writing that novel when we get a new laptop. We’ll record the next album when we have more money to hire a better sound engineer. We’ll launch that startup when we have the right VCs onboard.

This is what my friend Anthony Ongaro calls the “false first step.” We think we need X before we can do Y, but that’s just another stall tactic.

Creation is always about making something from nothing, and at the beginning, the resources are always scarce. No implement is going to make you any more ready for the opportunity, because that’s not the point.

The tools don’t make the artist. The work does.

Stop searching for the right tool, piece of software, or for some magic moment that will give you permission to do your work. Start with what you have. That’s all we can do.

The tools don’t make the artist. The work does.

Jeff Goins

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This week on The Portfolio Life, I’m interviewing Paul Jarvis, one of the smartest, most disciplined people I know. Paul is someone I’ve admired for years, and he just wrote a book I wished I’d written. Seriously. He beat me to it.

For years, I’ve been talking about not building something you don’t want to run and that just because you can grow doesn’t mean you should. And here comes Paul with his brilliant work Company of One.

It’s so good, especially if you’re a creative struggling with the whole idea of scaling and the pressure to grow. In our interview, and in this wonderful book, Paul says you don’t have to do that.

You can build something you’re excited to run; you can create a job that leaves you feeling excited to go into work every day.

Listen in to our chat below. You won’t want to miss it.

By the way, I want to hear from you. Hit me up on Twitter and tell me about something that you’re struggling with right now.

I want to do a rapid-fire Q&A podcast episode soon, answering as many questions as I can. So send your Qs!