Tag Archives: Resistance

Be a Writing Warrior

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.

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Dodge Around the Blocks

When you absolutely can’t think of another single word, and the very thought of sitting down at your keyboard to carry on, or start, writing your book makes you almost come out in hives, that’s the very time to do just that. Force yourself, no matter how blank your mind seems to be. If you give in to the “I’ll do it later when I’m feeling more inspired” thought, there’s a very distinct probability that you’ll give in to that very same thought again, and then again. Habits form amazingly quickly, and bad habits even quicker than good ones, so it’s best to try not to give them any room for takeover. One unproductive hour becomes two – one day becomes two.

The path of least resistance is generally the wrong path to take in writing – in life too, but most definitely in writing. If writing a single book, let alone multiple books, was easy, then everyone would be doing it. The fact that it’s actually really hard, and that you’re doing it anyway makes you a legend. Not everyone has the ability to translate a story in their head to words on pages that people will enjoy reading. Just like art, you can see amazing things in your mind, but if you don’t have that mystical innate artistic talent that some are born with you’re not likely to transfer it exactly as you see it to canvas.

When the going gets hard, make yourself work harder. When the words on your screen look stupid, and you’re sure that your book is going to be laughed under tables, and physically thrown at walls because of the very rottenness of it, just add more words to those words. They’re very probably the opposite of rotten words. When doubt creeps in to try and steal your words, write those words down anyway. They’re there inside waiting for you to move around the fear.

When you get stuck, and we all get stuck at some point in writing our books, it’s time to firmly employ the dodge and scribble on anyway maneuver. At the end of that sentence that seems to be the last one you’ll ever be able to write, and you’re quivering in terror knowing full well that you’re an absolute fake. You’re not a writer, and never will be. Just hit the page break button and start typing something else. If you’ve hit a wall as far as what must happen next, forget about it and move on to the next chapter. You have a general idea of what will happen later in your story. Move on and write some of that. Never stop and allow the blank page to stay where it is while your doubt induced terror freezes you up even further. Move on. Write something else. Anything else. But write on.

Generally people don’t get impossible to ignore urges to do something unless it’s something that they should be doing. Doing anything worthwhile is seldom a doddle. If you have been called to write, then that’s what you should be doing. It’s not going to be easy, but it won’t always be hard either. So, never give up. Always dodge around the blocks and scribble on anyway.

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