In this generous and courageous book, Tim Grahl demonstrates why being creative is much more than simply corralling good ideas and how to prevent the corrosive effects of fear and resistance.
In case you’re not familiar with him, Tim Grahl is book marketing expert. I’ve followed him for some time, having taken a couple of online courses from him, subscribed to his blog posts, and bought and read his books. He even provided a book blurb for The Writer’s Process. He is consistently generous with his knowledge and experience.
In his latest book, Running Down a Dream: Your Road Map to Winning Creative Battles, he expresses a different kind of generosity by sharing his personal experiences.
This book is the antidote to blog posts that promise “Do these three things before breakfast to be a more creative or productive person!” Running Down a Dream describes the hard parts of a creative or entrepreneurial life. You may not want to hear it, but when you run into the parallels in your own life, Tim’s advice will be valuable.
The Personal and the Universal
Running Down a Dream is the tale of Tim starting his business, writing his books, and facing his demons along the way. It’s a compelling story. As someone who has followed Tim for a few years, I was unaware of this internal side of his struggle – and that’s exactly the point.
While the details are unique to his experience, this is also a universal story – an allegory of the risks of both creativity and entrepreneurship. Tim is the allegorical “Everyman” as he faces down Resistance with a capital R – the force that Steven Pressfield writes so compellingly about in his work The War of Art.
Running Down a Dream offers a first-hand look into the the various kinds of doubt and dismay that often derail writers, entrepreneurs, creative types – almost anyone who attempts to craft a more intentional and creative life.
Resistance may not appear exactly the same way in your life or mine as it did in Tim’s. We have our own paths to travel, but everyone encounters Resistance at one point or another. We can learn much from those who are brave and honest enough to share their inner journeys.
While it’s inherently an inspirational book, I don’t think that Tim Grahl can write anything without being practical and helpful. Small nuggets of wisdom appear throughout, like this one: “Only ask advice from experts on things they are experts on.”
As he recounts his tale, he shares a number of “tools” to help those who follow a similar path. These include:
- Creating systems and, for longer processes, checklists. (As a “process” geek, I approve!)
- Cutting out the nonessential tasks
- Proactively seeking rejection
- Inhabiting an experimental mindset toward your work
- Choosing your mentors with care
This book offers inspiration for shifting your mindset about fear and working through inevitable difficulties. A creative life isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. As he writes at the beginning of the book, “Success is inevitable if you keep moving.”
Lace up and get going.