Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

Working & The War of Art

by Tara

These days, we spend nearly every waking moment working towards paying off our land. Tyler programs diligently away as he re-writes his database management software in Ruby and Javascript. He'd really rather be in the woods clearing brush and lighting campfires, working outdoors instead of inside, staring into a computer for 12 hours a day. For as much technology as we have in our lives, we're becoming more neo-luddite every day.

Tyler Just Deleted His Work

On our trip, Tyler sometimes thought eagerly of the days when we'd get home, when we wouldn't be photographing and traveling and journaling every day, when he'd have the time to re-write his software. And now here we are. These hectic, full days that slip through our fingertips are the ones we thought would be easy and open.

We're on the greener side of the fence now, as far as work is concerned, and yet still we must fight the constant battle to claim our time, to pursue our projects and dreams, to create the lives we want. No matter where we are or what we're doing, we must realize that now is all we have, now is when we live our dreams. Even if it doesn't feel how we thought it would, we have to decide that the time is right for a project.

Now, we fight the urge to pine away for those days in the future when we'll be living in the woods, camping every night, making a homestead for ourselves in the wilderness. The time for that project will come, but in the meantime, we've got to finish what we're working on. All we've got is right here, right now, and the ever-present struggle every single moment to craft a meaningful life in this world.

Meanwhile, I've started writing a bicycle touring cookbook. I've never undertaken such an ambitious creative project before, and though I've always dreamed of writing books and cookbooks, the reality of it is different than I ever could have imagined. For starters, it's a massive amount of work and requires the constant acquiring of countless brain-melting new skills. (Who knew!?)

Besides writing the sucker, along with all of the recipes, I've taught myself to use Adobe InDesign and I'm currently laying it all out. When the weather gets warmer, I'll do the final recipe-testing (since these recipes are made outdoors) and photographing of each dish. I'm learning about kerning and tracking, etc.

Working on my Cookbook

There are wonderful, invigorating days, when I feel like a muse has taken hold and I pursue my dream with joy, completing large chunks of it with ease. On those days, I feel it in my bones through and through that making books is what I was meant to do with my life. How satisfying it is to be able to create something exactly how I want it to be! How liberating it feels to do deeply meaningful, rewarding work!

On the flip side, there are other days when I am amazed at how much I need to fight against my own inner demons to get anything accomplished. Steven Pressfield's book, The War of Art has been immensely helpful in dealing with my own resistance: the negative force within me determined to be jealous of others' successes, overly critical of my own efforts, and generally eager to quit all large creative endeavors.

Doing this project has made me respect Tyler and his software business all the more. It sounds glamorous to be self-employed and to work from anywhere, but in reality, it takes huge amounts of discipline and self-mastery. It takes showing up at the office rain or shine, no matter what, and getting the work done whether inspiration strikes or not. It's so ridiculously easy to waste time, to fritter it away with nothingness. To use time well, to use it productively, is an art-form that seems to take a lifetime to master.

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London