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Overcoming Resistance (A.K.A. Fear)


Considering Halloween is here, fear seemed an appropriate topic for a post.

I just finished reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

In a nutshell, this amazingly talented and successful writer speaks to a writer’s resistance to the writing itself, gives practical guidelines on how to overcome it and inspiration on the writer’s journey.

I have to admit, I’m struggling with this now.  And as the deadline for my second book to Kensington draws near, it seems I find more and more…resistance.

And…yes, this post as well as reading the e-book, counts as distraction, and thus, resistance.

Paraphrasing Pressfield’s astute definition of resistance, it is any distraction, real or contrived (mostly contrived) which keeps you from sitting down and getting the words on paper — or rather, on screen. 

You know them–blogging (eh-hem), research, facebook, twitter, reading, TV, movies, friends, kids, laundry, trimming the dog’s toe nails, washing the hamster, brainstorming your next series before you’ve finished the edits on the one in your editor’s hands… [yes this resembles you, dearest CP …].

Yes.  Distraction = Resistance.  I know.  Painfully so.  I’m there.

But, where does this resistance come from?

Ah, yes, fear.  I know it well.  That little devil whispers in my ear constantly.  “Will my editor like this?  Is it too ordinary?  Is it too contrived?  Is my plot organic?  Are my characters 3-D?  Is there too much sex?  Too little?  Too explicit?  Not explicit enough?  OMG, what if I write these 100,000 words and she hates it?”

You get the picture.  It’s not pretty.  It doesn’t feel pretty either.  And as I get closer to finishing–now about five chapters away, the stronger my resistance becomes.  Which, once again, is explained by Pressfield:

Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.

Well, then, this writing gig must mean a lot to the growth of my soul, because I’m nearly frozen by the damn thing!

I’ll get over it.  I have countless times before.  I will again.  Because, deep down, I know writing for me is both a curse and a calling.  About 90%-10%, respectively.  I couldn’t quit writing any more than I could quit being a mother to my two teenage daughters.  As challenging, hair-pulling, nail-biting and potentially health threatening as it is…that’s who I am–as much a writer as a mother.

I’d just love to find a kinder, gentler way to beat this fear, a.k.a. resistance, so I’m not beating myself up over revisions right down to midnight the night before the dang project is due.

How do you handle fear and/or resistance?

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