Fighting the Resistance

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

Steven Pressfield – The War of Art

I have been reading a book, lately, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance). It’s about winning your inner battles, the ones you fight with yourself when you are trying to create, to be a better person, or reach for somethign higher. It’s about how to win the battle against procrastination, writers’ block, distractions, self-doubt, and anything else that keeps you from exercising, or reading the Bible, or writing regularly (or at all).

Pressfield calls all of those obstacles “resistance”. Procrastination, distractions, self-doubt – they are all resistance. Resistance, he says, is what happens when you began to pursue your purpose, to be who you are, to answer your higher calling. it’s that curious…resistance you feel in yourself when you think about writing, when you tell yourself you are going to start writing, today, at such-and-such a time.

You know the feeling: you tell yourself that you are going to start writing at 8 AM, then something just stops you. Hard. You just don’t want to do it. You just aren’t ready. You have all day. You watch a YouTube video, then another, and keep them on in the background, sound off, so you can look at them now and again. You need to check your email. You need to put a load in the wash. You have all day. You didn’t decompress enough last night, you need an hour or so to do it right now so that you can focus on your writing. You have all day. It’s only 10 o’clock. Et cetera.

You know the feeling – or you don’t – and we all have our own rituals, our own way of resisting the things we want to do, that we should be doing , that we need to do. And, Pressfield says, it is us doing the resisting. The resistance is coming from us. I have known this for years, that I was the reason I wasn’t getting enough done. I am the reason I still haven’t published a novel, or finished this book of science fiction short stories, or even started on most of the novel ideas I have.

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

Right now, I am writing on once computer and watching “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold” on another. The writing’s getting done but I am also telling myself that t will go a lot smoother, and quicker, if I have something to watch while I do it. I am resisting getting this post written – I am resisting writing anything at all – but the writing is getting done.

and, that is the important thing. We have to face the resistance every day fo our lives, whenever we try to do something important to us – be it walking 10,00 steps a day, or flattening our abs, or getting that degree we have always wanted – and the only way to defeat it is to get the work done, whatever it is – reading the Bible, finishing that story, working on your website. get in your steps, your words, your reading, your therapy session, and you will have beaten the resistance. For. That. Day.

It’s a daily problem and you, and I, have to fight it every day of our lives until it defeats us or we die.

So get up and keep writing. Keep walking. Keep trying. Keep Fighting.

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