Good tools help. I’ve often chanted the matra of the carpenter: “Buy the best tools you can afford.” But that’s only half the task.
This is my desk.
When I talk to you on the phone, this is where I am. And when I’m not talking to you, I’m either writing you to bug you about carrying through on your own best intentions, or writing my next novel. The typewriter you see here is a Hermes 3000 from 1960, the year I was born; one of the finest writing machines ever produced. And yet, it isn’t a computer, is it? It has its limitations.
I get distracted.
The heart of an artist is helped by the tools he uses. A good tool can help you express what is in your heart. And yet, it is still the heart that makes the art. What I’m saying is (and you’ll know who you are) if you focus too much on the tool, you’re playing the fool. Some of you, for example, have the latest laptop or tablet or phone. And it’s distracting you from your best work. I know. I get distracted, too, from the task at hand. Even with the humble typewriter, I am often distracted by whether the ribbon is making dark enough letters, whether any of the keys are a little slow, or any of a host of other things that can go wrong with a typewriter, or be a limitation that I can fault for my lack of top performance.
What’s the answer?
Focus on the task itself. What is your work? Whatever it is, you have your own version of what it means to do great work which is related, but not completely dependent upon, your tools. For example: let’s say you’re a guy who makes things out of metal. A great lathe is pretty essential, but even more essential is what you do with your good lathe. You could have the best lathe in the world and still your work might not be as good as the artisan who puts his whole heart into creating beautiful works in metal. You get the idea.
Define your work, make a plan, and follow through. We need your best work. So quit blaming, or being distracted by, your tools. By all means, buy the best tools you can afford; but it is the work itself that will give you the most pleasure at the end of the day.
Focus on the work itself.
Want more help?
I can help you do your best work, and limit what is keeping your from it.