“Let the tigers through the door.”

Written by Cole Schafer


Creatives are prolific at creating distractions.

They’ll water the plants.

They’ll check their teeth in the mirror.

They’ll refresh email, refresh Instagram, refresh Twitter and then refresh them all again.

They’ll tinker with the shit on their desk.

They’ll draw.

They’ll make to-dos.

They’ll masturbate.

They’ll drink coffee and then another cup and then another cup after that until they’re riddled with anxiety and drowning in neurosis without a single word to show for the pools of sweat that now paint the underarms of their shirts.

Drop the mug and grab the fucking speed stick.

Yesterday afternoon I was finding plenty of distraction in the latter, as I sat hunched over at my desk cowering somewhere between my third and my fourth cup of coffee, resisting doing the writing I promised myself I’d do for the day.

With each passing hour I felt more and more like a wretched failure; an imposter. Fortunately, my subconscious came bounding in like a pissed-off cat with a line that would ultimately save the day…

“Let the tigers through the door.”

My hand, almost uncontrollably, shot out for a pen somewhere within arm’s reach and I captured the line before it disappeared.

Then, as I stared at it, wide-eyed realizing it was decent enough to eventually show up in a book like One Minute, Please?I was suddenly forced to put my money where my mouth (or I suppose my pen) was.

Sit down and do the damn work.

I went to the kitchen sink, poured the cup of coffee down the drain and then sat down at my desk and faced the writing I’d been avoiding like the plague the entire day.

In other words, I let the tigers through the door.

If you intend on making it as a creative, you must become damn good at calling bullshit on yourself.

All of us, have tigers in our work and in our lives we’re trying desperately to avoid.

And to avoid them, we build and close doors –– doors in the form of distractions like tweets and Netflix and drugs and alcohol and everything else I listed at the beginning of this piece.

I’ve come to find that if there is anything true of avoidance, it’s that we tend to avoid the things we most need to face. Avoidance is a pesky (but useful) compass in this way.

Sooner or later, if it’s greatness we’re after…

We must let the tigers through the door.

By Cole Schafer.