Alright. This is me keeping a promise I made.
I’m going to talk about every writer’s mortal enemy: The “Resistance”.
First coined by Steven Pressfield, the Resistance is the collective term for everything that gets in the way of the creative process. It’s what every creative person in every creative endeavour endures as a result of pursuing his/her chosen craft. This could be painting, or writing or dancing or music or…anyway, you get the picture (or the memo, or the ballet, or the concert, or the…).
I feel it each time I sit down to create a piece of writing. It’s there through the first draft, then the second, and then the third. And even as I reach the ninth or tenth, I must still contend with this relentless, nasty beast.
In his wonderful book “The War of Art“, Pressfield explains in great detail not just WHAT constitutes Resistance, but WHEN it happens. It begins the moment you think of sitting down to write, or even while you are walking over to your favorite chair to sit down and write.
And it doesn’t stop there. It’s your…
…dog barking at the delivery man who’s just appeared unannounced at your door.
…baby boy crying because he’s just pee-ed all over the kitchen floor.
…head voices reminding you it’s time to pay the bills, or take out the trash, or any number of domestic knick-knacks screaming for attention!
In short, ANYTHING and ANYONE (including your family) preventing you from writing or creating, IS Resistance!
Writers are always at risk of succumbing to it. I’m no different. Just putting this piece together took me more than two days! There were so many resistant voices in my head, telling me not to do it. They say that I’m NOT…
…knowledgeable enough to talk about it.
…a prolific author, so how dare I speak like I’m an expert on Resistance?!
…good enough to make my writing worth reading in the first place!
That last one always gets me the hardest, like what it must feel to be hit by Tyson or Holyfield in the boxing ring! This voice doesn’t only mock; it stings like a bee. It’s the universal voice of derision. It’s the voice that pushes me to the brink of despair, making me ask the ultimate question, the mother of all questions:
What constitutes my…
In short, W.I.S.E, as in “WISE-up you pseudo-writer, and give up already!”
It goes straight to my heart and soul, questioning my very existence. When I let this particular voice envelop me, I am both trembling with rage and also shaking with fear and loathing.
But most of all, it makes me cry.
I cry because I can’t understand why I would let myself succumb to such cruelty.
For all of my life, I have had naysayers tell me I’m not good enough, strong enough, tough enough, or worthy enough. The society I live in prizes tangibles and rewards, not “whimsicals” and “whatnots”. Which is where many in the creative industry find themselves: under the intense scrutiny of society’s examination and judgment as to each individual’s inherent worth.
But darn it, what I do matters! What I have to say matters! What I believe I am made for matters! And how I express all of that is through my writing. It may not mean anything to the world, but it means the world to me!
So I will continue to stand and fight the good fight every day, and conquer this nasty beast every day.
If you’re a writer like me, then you stand and fight Resistance too.
After that, you sit.
And you write.