Tag Archives: the war of art

Resistance is Futile: And other writing myths

Moonday Mania

a blog for the readers and writers

I’ts hot! And to keep my mind off of the heat this summer, I’ve been blogging on the five top things I’ve learned writing romance. Today we’re on number four: There is such thing as resistance.

  1. As soon as I think I’m on a writing roll, life will intervene.
  2. The plot can be thought out in advance, but the characters are bound to have issues with whatever you’ve decided. So be flexible and roll with it.
  3. There is no such thing as the muse.
  4. There is such a thing as resistance.
  5. Writing is a muscle. Use it, or lose it.

Now on with today’s blog:

Resistance Exists

A few years ago someone gave me the fabulous book on resistance The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Stephen Pressfield. It introduced me to the concept of resistance: the idea that once you decide to do something creative you immediately create roadblocks for yourself.

Now, I’m not going to go into all of that here, you should read the book. It’s truly a classic for any creative trying to achieve anything. Basically, we all throw up roadblocks when we want to succeed at any endeavor and Stephen Pressfield labels this “resistance”.

I can see this all the time, especially in my teenagers. The classic line at our house from our kids is: “The problem is…” and then they’ll list the reasons why whatever solution we’ve come up with is not going to work. Or just plain wrong.

But it’s not just the kids, it’s me too!

Whenever I face something difficult, it happens to me too. When I try to make time to get back to writing my book I find myself saying, “I’d get that done, but the problem is…” And what’s bad is that the problems are legitimate. I do have too many important things to do. Cleaning the house, cooking quality food, exercising—all of that is important. And taking care of family emergencies is super important and with two aging parents and two maturing new adults there are a lot of family emergencies.

Or, maybe it’s legitimate work that is book related, but not actually writing. Because you see, there are always tons of things to do that are not writing paranormal romance, but are very important. Like blogging!

The fact is: I’m not lying to myself, or to my spouse, or even to the world in general, there are reasons why I should not be doing any creative work. And they are all legitimate. But without the writing, there are no books.

Woah! Then how does anything get done?

If you let life intervene, nothing else gets done. That’s the simple truth. If I let all my excuses, valid or not, keep me from writing. And I want to write books, don’t I?

The real question behind resistance is not: are your excuses are valid? It’s: how badly do you want to create, or succeed, or take risks?

And the real answer is: How willing are you to face your fears?

Because that’s what it really comes down to. Legitimate or not, all those excuses are just excuses—reasons why we are not doing what we set out to do because, for whatever reason, we’re afraid. How do I know that my family issues, cooking, cleaning, whatever… are only roadblocks and not reasons I can’t write? Because I’ve seen other people do it. People with full time jobs, five kids (one of whom has a disability), and just as dirty houses write books. And some of them write way more than I do.

Excuses are resistance. They are my way of avoiding what I’m afraid of. Now, what exactly is that? Well, that’s another blog topic all together. Or therapy session. LOL!

How do I overcome resistance?

Back to Stephen Pressfield’s book, THE WAR OF ART. You have to do it every day. So that’s my challenge. I struggle with writing new fiction words on a daily, sometimes even weekly basis. Because real life interferes, and I let it. Stephen says you have to face resistance every day, and that’s the real war of art.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

I’m always saying, I’ll try to do this. But I need to apply my inner Yoda and just do.

What are you not doing? What are you avoiding in your life, creative or otherwise, that is a form of resistance? Have you read THE WAR OF ART? Have you tried, ahem, done the work? How did it work out?

Tune in next week for topic number five: Writing is a muscle, use it or lose it

***

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Recognizing Resistance

Moonday Mania

a blog for those of us who get off track

Hello! Last Moonday Mania I told you how badly I needed to reorganize my writing life. How I’d life and work had pushed me off track. And I promised this week to tell you how I’ve gotten back on the writing track. If you missed that post, you can check it out HERE.

the war of art by steven pressfieldIt hasn’t been easy. Like everyone else I let things distract me. Work. Kids. Life. But the worst distraction is resistance. If you’ve read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, you know what I’m talking about. (I did a post on The War of Art a few years ago, HERE) Resistance is that thing you do to yourself whenever you come up with excuses why you shouldn’t be working.

Here are some of my latest:

  1. My family, house, parents need me.
  2. I don’t have enough time to do a good job.
  3. I need to be by myself, at my special spot, with my particular cup of deliciousness…and the sun needs to be just right.

Some of that is true. Okay, it’s all true some of the time, but some of these things are just roadblocks I put up so that I don’t sit down at the computer and work. And the way I normally get around these roadblocks is that I have a schedule. Here’s my typical week-day schedule before the new job and when the kids are in school.

  • 5am -Get up, make coffee, sit at computer and try to wake up while dealing with emails and social media
  • 7am-Get dressed, make husband lunch, eat breakfast
  • 8am-10 walk dog, take shower, get small things done around house.
  • 10am-3pm write (This includes my 45 minutes on computer and 15 minute breaks to move around, as well as a break for lunch)

After that, kids get home and I change gears. This has been a terrific schedule for me. I get a lot of writing done and I am able to exercise, pay attention to my kids and the dog, and I have the afternoon for doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, or whatever I need to do.

But now I’m working in the mornings. And the kids are home for the summer. And it’s all gone to hell.

Do I have reasonable excuses for not getting the writing done? Yes, I do. I’m a smart person and I want to write. But writing is hard. It’s full of self-doubt and editing and those moments where I stare at the screen and think “What in the world comes next?”

Writing, for me, is best done between 10 and 3, by myself, at my tiny portable TV table in front of my back window where I can see nature and the sky and no one bothers me because the house is empty.

But that’s not my reality this summer.

Reality is two crabby teen-agers who get moving right around the time I want to get to work. Who ask me questions and make noise and want me to drive them places. Reality is the job that I’ve taken on that gets me home most days around noon, so I have to have lunch and time to recover. Right? And at that point it’s nearly 1pm and I’m tired and don’t want to start working at the book. Besides, the dog missed her walk and I have things to do.

You get the point.

My job isn’t that hard, and it’s not full-time. I have plenty of time and energy when I get home.

My kids are big, they can fend for themselves.

My things to do can all be reshuffled. Including the dog.

So, the first thing you need to do to resist resistance is to recognize it. Recognize that my objections are not insurmountable. I have time. I have hours in the afternoon. I have a way to get the dog walked, the house cleaned, and the teen-agers entertained. It’s called: get them to do the work. Get them out of the house, or get me out of the house. That only leaves me with one excuse.

Me.

After I come home from work I don’t want to start writing so I come up with all kinds of reasons not to. But they are all just excuses. So how do I get around my resistance once I’ve recognized it?

Next week I’ll let you in on my resistance secret. The way that I have encouraged myself to stop sandbagging and to get back to writing.

Oh, and Camp NaNoWriMo starts July 1st! I’ll be majorly writing then and you can join me! I’ll have some details on Camp NaNo next week as well.

Do you have resistance? Have you read The War of Art? What about Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro? Want to listen to Steven talk about resistance…check out Joanna Penn’s interview HERE

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