6. Go for the ‘Pump’

(lol, this video nothing to do with the book but everything it has to do with the idea of ‘the pump,’ as a metaphor)

These highlights are derived from chapter 6 of the Book, The Heart to Start by David Kadavy

Opening quotes:

The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference

Eli Wiesel

Monotony [in his life routine] helps me be more sensitive to the thing I’m looking for: I’m looking for ‘The Pump.'”

“The Pump is a sure way to power through the start of a project, and if you get good at sensing it, it can also keep you going when things get tough.”

Listen to your Heart (Literally)

“The Pump is a lot like it sounds. As I’m tapping out those first few words, which sometimes feels like cranking a bike with a rusty chain, I’m listening for the pumping of my own heart. It could be that I’m really excited about an idea. It could be that I’m scared. Whatever I’m feeling, my heartbeat will change accordingly. Sometimes I can feel it pound through my chest. That’s when I know I’m really onto something.”

Pay Attention to this, it’s the reason why ‘the pump’ is so important:

(Take out your note and pen (lol))

“I look for The Pump because I’ve learned that if an idea makes my heart beat harder, two important things will happen:

  • First, just as water pressure powers a lawn sprinkler, it’s as if the pressure of my own blood powers my fingers. When I really get in touch with The Pump, writing comes much more easily.
  • Second, I believe my readers will feel what I feel. If I feel The Pump, they’ll feel The Pump.”

Writing is Telepathy”

Stephen King

The substance of this upcoming passage is pure and simple.

Internalize it.

“Each word represents an idea or a thing you can put in someone else’s mind.

Did you internalize it?


“But I’ll take Stephen’s description one step further: Not only is writing telepathy. Art is telepathy.”

“The communication isn’t always as literal as words. Sometimes it’s as simple as what that person felt when he or she was making that thing.

The next passage is referring to an individual, an example, of someone who also seeks his pump:

“He wants to make sure he’s feeling what he wants his listeners to feel. He said, “Over the years, there’s been a number of occasions where I’ve set everything up and it hasn’t been right.” So Andrew puts extra care into his recording routine. He puts on the most comfortable clothes he has, he closes the curtains over the windows of his home studio, he sits down in an extra-comfortable chair that he’s selected just for recording, and he slips the hood of his sweater up over his head. He even records by candlelight.”

Hold up, I’m going to rewrite the important line, the KEY ingredient on how to secure the pump:

Put Extra Care into your Writing Routine

(or painting, singing, producing, etc)

“When you’re trying to get started, it can be easy to get too focused on producing the work.”

“When you’re looking for the fuel to finally get started, you can easily miss out on The Pump. You can get overstimulated by things that have nothing to do with your work, and you can wind up pursuing an idea that won’t keep you moving. Or,”


“the very act of making your art can keep you from getting into the right mood. When you set up to create your art, make sure you’re in touch with how you feel in that moment. Is your idea giving you the feeling you want your audience to have? If not, is there something you can do to get yourself into that mood? If you listen for The Pump, you’ll connect with powerful ideas, and the feeling will be contagious.”

Up Next- Chapter7: That Which Pulls you Through

I hope these notes and highlights are helping you as much as they are helping me.

The URL to the Book

Leave a Reply