Resistance is Futile

Have you ever read something and felt the author was speaking directly to you? That’s what happened when I picked up The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The book is all about Resistance with a capital R, that awful burden that keeps anyone from reaching for their goals.

It could be a creative goal, such as writing, painting or sculpting, or something totally unrelated, such as starting a business or going back to school If you have a dream but balk at going for it, you are suffering from Resistance.

Here’s what really jumped out at me:

“The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

                                                      —Credit: Steven Pressfield,
                                                     The War of Art 

I have known I was a writer since I was a small child. It just came naturally to me. Most importantly, writing filled me with incredible joy. Sitting down to the keyboard and banging out a few hundred words lit me up inside. Even if I only wrote for a few minutes, I was high for the rest of the day.

The problem was, I didn’t sit down to write often enough. Something always got in the way: kids, work, relationship stuff, whatever. I always put myself last, or so I thought that was my reason for not writing.

But my kids grew up and work carried on and my relationship with my dear one was great so I had no excuses. All I had to battle was myself and that was the hardest fight of all. I knew I was a writer, had been told I was a good writer, even made a living as a marketing writer for years. I didn’t want to do anything else, just write all day.

But writing was so hard for me emotionally. Every time I sat down to write it was like pulling teeth. I knew other writers who churned out words like a fountain, seemingly with no thought, they just did it. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do the same.

Which brings me back to the book. Resistance was holding me down, strangling me before I even said a word. Why it affects me so deeply, I’m not sure. Maybe because I have such high expectations for myself: I am a perfectionist. My ideas are perfect when they’re still in my head but what happens if the written page doesn’t mirror what I have imagined?

The only way I could deal with this fear was to just start writing, no thinking allowed, stream of consciousness and all that. So far, so good. Hurray! The kicker is, my writing is better and braver.  I say what I think without censoring it for anyone’s approval. The more emotional, raw and personal, the better.

It works for me. Maybe it will work for you too.

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8 Responses to Resistance is Futile

  1. hawleywood40 says:

    I am going to add this to my to-read list, because the rest of your post reminded me so much of myself!

  2. It’s a great book. Changed how I viewed myself completely.

  3. Patrick says:

    My guess? You could write copy or marketing materials all day long because you are a good writer… and it’s safe, impersonal writing. But when you wanted to write for yourself, it was about YOU – and that’s not as safe and it’s intensely personal. Hence the Resistance.

    But it sounds like you’ve found the magic key to breaking through that Resistance – “say what I think without censoring it for anyone’s approval. The more emotional, raw and personal, the better.”

    Fantastic!! This is what the world wants from you. And this is what you owe it to yourself to share with us.

    • Exactly, Patrick. My personal writing is scary because it is the real me, warts and all. It’s hard to share the not so perfect stuff but in the end, that is the material that resonates with people the most. Maybe I am doing what other people want to do but are afraid to be so real. Anyway, I love it!

  4. Judith Bean says:

    I have felt the very same fear many times as I would sit down to practice the piano or sing. I have said many times over the years that I have a “love/hate” relationship with the piano. As I worked, I would feel inside pressure from myself to “do it right” and outside pressures from professors to “get it right and get it done”. That paralyzes one.

    Not sure if you have heard of it, or read it, but I just started reading a book by Sir Ken Robinson called “The Element”. It is about finding your passion (which you have) and where to go from there. He also has some video lectures on Youtube! I have watched his lectures and he is VERY inspiring!

  5. Judith Bean says:

    I forgot to mention…. my students were singing in the Kodaly Festival this week at the Centre in the Square with 500 other students. Most of them had never even been in the Centre, let alone, be able to sing onstage. They were scared, fearful, and some were quite in a panic.

    I told them what my definition of courage was:
    “Courage is being able to feel the fear of whatever you are doing or want to do, but to go ahead and do it anyway, in spite of the fear”. This definition has pushed me through many times when I wanted to run away or give up.

  6. Noelle Jenkinson says:

    Great post, Leanne! What you’ve experienced translates into so many areas where people can feel “blocked”. I think I’m going to direct a few peeps to this post including a few of my actors.
    Thanks for your honesty and sharing.
    N.

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