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.