July 16

The Second Wall

Beginning a new project can feel daunting. The blank page, endless pos- sibilities, and a concern that a wrong move early in the process can take you off course might leave you struggling to take those first few steps. An object at rest wants to remain at rest. You hit the wall before you even begin.

Then, in the midst of your work, an insight emerges. You make some progress, and you are feeling good about your direction. You finally feel some momentum building. Then you suddenly stall again. You are tired, or you encounter a thorny new problem that needs to be solved, or you somehow lose your passion for the project. You’ve hit what I call the “second wall.” It’s the moment when you’re tempted to just push the proj- ect to completion and get it over with or give up and move on to some- thing else.

It’s important to recognize these moments, because they are crucial. When you’ve arrived at the second wall, you must push through it. Don’t stall out at the moment when you’re stuck, or you will struggle to reen- gage with the project the next time you begin your work. When you feel like giving up and moving on, push on for a short while until you feel some momentum building again. Then that momentum will carry you into your next work session.

There are two walls you must surmount in your creative process. The second one is the most challenging.


When are you most tempted to give up on your work? Do you ever experience the “second wall”?

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