"Resistance is futile" is jokingly our family motto. Hey, if you’re born a Borg and someone starts using your name for a race of unemotional bad guys (yeah, I'm looking at you Star Trek: The Next Generation), you learn to roll with the Sci-Fi stuff for life. Hell, I was even asked to prom with that phrase.
Yet even though, I know resistance is a ridiculous place to be stuck, here I am adrift in an Inertia Wasteland. Stubbornness may be the only thing keeping me upright currently as this creative block slaps me around every time I open my document to actually write my new story.
One of resistance’s meanings is, “an opposing or retarding force” and that is undeniably what I am feeling every day.
Steven Pressfield wrote a great book The War of Art in which he discusses resistance. He says any time we try working on things we hold important to us, resistance springs into action. It could be improving our health, writing a book, reaching a financial milestone—we’ve all felt it a hundred times. I’ve struggled with it this morning— it has hit me at least ten times and it’s not even ten o’clock yet.
Which is a horrible place to be where everywhere I look, I feel this drag and drain of "don't do it." I've done ambitious things before and the magnitude of this time's avoidance seems unreal. So I check back in with good old Steven and he gives me a possible reason.
“The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”- Steven Pressfield from The War of Art
Awesome, so now I have confirmed why everything feels so difficult to start this process. How do I channel my inner Borg Queen to punch out the pesky bastard and get started on my super important work?
Why must I write this specific story? My upcoming book A Single Girl's Guide to Wedding Survival: A Novel the why was easy. I wanted to write a book that I could hand to my mother and make her laugh before she died. At the time, she had been diagnosed with ninety days to live.
With my why crystallized, I churned out that bad boy fast. It was rough and ragged, but I was able to print it out and hand her the manuscript in the hospital to read.
But now, it's years later. My mother has passed. The same urgency to crank out a draft isn't there since I will self-publish.
Quit squirreling, Melissa and stay on task, what is your why?
To have fun. Sounds nebulous, but for me, if there are parts that make me laugh as I think of or write a scene, that's the magic. The joy of the characters bickering and pushing each other.
Okay on to #2.
First, name the issue. I really couldn't care less that the story I'm planning spans four books, which could easily lead me to write around half a million words. So it's not the size of the task, what is the pinch point holding me back?
Steven Pressfield says that the resistance is always internal. It’s not the facts of the case that are the problem, but how we emotionally respond.
Doubt. Ah, there's the cursed irritant. I've written numerous book one manuscripts before and none have survived. I'm tired of stories dying during the writing process. For an added bonus, the story I'm working on is a reboot. The story has been rewritten and overhauled three times over the years.
The problem with those other attempts was that I had thought very little about how series work.
I'm different and the story is different. I have dedicated the last few years to understanding book and series structure. I'm ready to put all the theories and knowledge I've collected and funnel it all into my story.
Whee, the monster has been named and I'll keep reminding myself that I'm ready to start the process and go deeper into understanding how stories can tie together.
I am grateful to know and be supported by fantastic writers and friends. I know me and the one thing I hate is missing a deadline. Deadlines push me forward.
For example, I decided to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I had written only 20,000 words of the 50,000 needed to win. With five days left, I took two days off work and churned out 30,000 words to finish on time.
So, knowing me an accountability partner should help me get words on the page.
Alright, it is time for me to act on my three steps and get words down on the page.
To the keyboard!
How do you handle such resistance to do important work? Leave me a comment and let me know, I'm always interested in knowing how others handle getting things done with your willpower has gone kaput.
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