Today, a special post about getting writing done rather than marketing your writing. To begin, tell me a little about yourself. As a writer, how many of these have you experienced in the past two years? You can use the checkboxes to keep track. They’re not storing anything anywhere.
Never finding the time to write
Making the time but not writing
Dreaming of writing but never getting started
Starting but never finishing
Starting but never finishing that one particular piece
Thinking you can do it without help
Thinking you’re beyond help
A love/hate relationship with your writing
Focusing on unhelpful negative feedback and ignoring positive feedback
Focusing on positive feedback and ignoring helpful negative feedback
Wanting to write deep but writing shallow
Writing for others instead of yourself
Writing for money but not treating it like a business
Reading about writing instead of writing
Seeking out feedback before you’re ready
Seeking out the wrong level of feedback
Ongoing health challenges like
Unexplained fatigue (physical or mental)
Mysterious illness (a neverending or recurring cold or flu)
Injuries (constant little accidents)
Addiction of any kind (substance, activities, self-destructive habits)
How many did you check?
Is it more than zero? (If it’s zero, I’d love to hear about that.)
Otherwise, that’s Resistance.
In the past 11 years I’ve written 20 books and 200 songs. I checked 17 boxes. SEVENTEEN.
I’m facing Resistance.
You’re facing Resistance.
Resistance? What’s That?
According to Steven Pressfield in his seminal work The War of Art Resistance is the mental and emotional pushback we feel when we expose ourselves by creating something. It is our unconscious mind protecting us from the “danger” of emotional vulnerability. It manifests in all the ways in that checklist above, and more.
Resistance is a bully. It will stand in your way and stop you. It will knock you down and hurt you, emotionally, even physically.
Resistance strikes nonfiction and fiction authors alike. (Memoirists, are you hearing me?) Writing a business book is still a creative endeavor and will expose you to fear.
It will stop you from writing using the tools you checked off in that list above.
It’s Not Just You & I
Who was this loser?
Stephen King. Stephen 350 million books sold King.
This is a quote from his On Writing which, although not precisely instructional, is the most inspiring book I’ve read when it comes to staying the course as a writer.
This is the quote that gave me my writing life back. (Ask me about that story someday.)
Our innate desire to have our work accepted can lead to problems if we put what others believe about our “God-given talent” ahead of what we need to write. It’s one of many ways Resistance twists natural feelings into quicksand.
What’s a Writer to Do?
You cannot defeat Resistance once and move on. It’s part of our mental and emotional makeup. You can, though, make it irrelevant. Note that I don’t say ignore it because you can’t ignore a bully. But if you defuse them, do things to take away their power, they are no longer a threat. Like the bully at school (or, frankly, in the office) they still show up every day. But we don’t have to keep giving them our lunch money.
Being a writer is hard. You don’t have to do this alone.
Too many writers are facing the emotional struggle to write without the support they need. After years of writing about it, I’ve created a forum to help writers and artists deal with writer’s Resistance.
It’s not going to be a collective moan-fest or even chat-fest. Instead, it’s a guided learning environment, a community of writers making a safe place for some “you’re not alone” emotional support. It will also cover practical and actionable tools and processes to get you writing and keep you writing.
Membership is $5 per month or only $25 for the whole year. Questions? Comments? Shout ’em out below and I’ll answer every one.