One of the best books to have in your writer’s tool box is Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Just like any other profession, we scribblers should have books by those who have so successfully gone before to inspire and teach us. Steven’s original claim to fame was the bestselling novel The Legend of Bagger Vance, but he has quite a few great non-fiction books out there now too.
One of our biggest stumbling blocks in our writing lives is resistance. In fact in all aspects of our lives resistance can cause us to refuse to even take on a hurdle rather than risk falling at it. Resistance is what leads to procrastination. Steven is a religious man and some disagree with him when at one point he likens it to evil. All of us have battled resistance in one form or another, and I for one agree with him. When those little voices in our head get busy trying to stop us from starting anything that will lead to our success and joy, they most certainly are evil little devils.
Steven gives a small list in his book of those activities that most commonly elicit resistance. A couple of those he mentions are:
The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, no matter how marginal.
The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise for profit or otherwise.
Any diet or health regimen.
Any program of spiritual advancement.
There are eleven altogether, but I just want to give an indication of the pursuits rather than swipe swathes of his writing. I suggest rather that you buy his book, and read it, and then read it again every time you feel too intimidated to either start writing or carry on writing.
As he does, I also see resistance as an external force, coming from all sorts of directions. People, situations, and life’s challenges. Resistance is a force, wherever it comes from, that wants to stop us from achieving the best that we can, and being the best that we can, and it must be fought at every turn. Never fear it. Always challenge it. No matter how good it appears to be to give up on your writing and just do something easier, you will always be happier in the end if you fight back and write regardless of the fear or apparent obstacle.
The bigger and more fearsome the fear of writing, or the thing or person that’s trying to stop you from writing, or doing anything really, the more important it is for you to do it anyway. So remember fellow scribblers, when it comes to writing there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Write on through – fight on through, always, no matter how dodgy the sentences look at the time. If resistance is trying to stop you, then know that you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing.