Note: This photo is from Pixabay, but I love goats. Or the idea of goats.
A melancholy resistance hits me every time I finish and publish a book. I try to prepare by praying and promising myself, “This time, it will be different.” I let new ideas into my writing dreams and place them before the Lord.
As soon as I complete my current project, the pacing starts – literally. I walk into my office. It’s a room I love. In this funk, I head back down the hallway instead of sitting down at my desk, and the lid on my laptop stays closed. I miss the feeling of my fingers on the keyboard but still, I walk away.
Instead, I pace the hallway reminding myself this has happened before, and I’ve overcome it and will again. My inner voice nags loudly, “Maybe not this time.” I try to shut out the doubter, but the nagging gets loud, and I listen to it.
When I walked into and right back out of my office the other day, I almost cried. I wanted to stay, but my want to was puny.
Angry at myself, I finally sat down and wrote the prologue. I printed off the pages and headed to the hallway to pace. I was sure they were pure junk. I resisted reading them for a couple of weeks and told myself that all the pondering I was doing was enough.
Oh, stubborn woman that I am!
My resistance grew until, in the dark of a recent night, I realized how much I miss my job – the work of writing—even the hard parts. A rush of hope washed over me, and I slept.
But I didn’t stop resisting quite yet.
Today I took a step in that direction when I opened The War of Art – again.
On the first page, Pressfield writes about his writing routine, and while I’ve read them at least three times before, today, they were what I needed to “hear.” I read them out loud to myself instead of pacing the hallway.
“It’s about ten-thirty now. I sit down and plunge in. When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired. That’s four hours or so. I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. Copy whatever I’ve done to disk and stash the disk in the glove compartment of my truck in case there’s a fire, and I have to run for it. I power down. It’s three, three-thirty. The office is closed. How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it. All that matters is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.”
A funny thing happened on the way back to my keyboard . . . I decided I might need to take time first to figure out if I wanted to store my backup in my glove compartment. Or somewhere more secure. But where?
That’s not resistance. That is distraction and procrastination, and I’m pretty good at them too.
Today I took Pressfield’s words to heart. I grabbed my red pen, ready to slash the prologue to bits. Instead, I discovered that while every page needs work, the story is a good one and what I’ve written so far is okay.
It feels great. Now I’m praying I’ll continue to resist the enemy called resistance by daily repeating the process of firing my laptop up and putting words on the pages.
My heart whispered, “Lord, let this be a step in the “write” direction.”
Is there something you love to do that you’re resisting? I’d love it if you let me know in the comments.
Until Next Time,
P. S. I’m not always feeling so great these days, and I know that has something to do with the struggle this time, but today, facing down the resistance, I feel a little better, and I’m grateful.
Just in case you’d like to read The War of Art, click HERE.
I do understand. I have an almost-complete novel that truly lacks so little to finish. It’s the second of a series, is long overdue, but I can’t face it. I want perfection, and I know it won’t meet my expectations. Thanks for the encouragement!
Joy Dekok says
Sometimes the resistance in our hearts is so great! I’m saying a prayer for you today, Sam.
Jill R. Swanson says
How about EVERY time I’ve tried to write a book — all 4 of them I dealt with the same challenge. I think it was you who told me to read “Bird by Bird” — that really helped me get through the 3rd and 4th books — thank YOU Joy 😉 Now it’s the newsletter that I have managed to put off for the last 3 years… sigh.. ANY hints on that one? I cringe at the thought of new changes being made to the site I use to send out my newsletter – seems like I have to learn systems all over, but more than that, it’s just getting myself to do the duty! And yet I love it when I finish 🙂
Another beautiful piece, thanks Joy! We tend to resist going for things, because of other’s judgement. Sometimes we only have once chance at something, go for it, you might be happily surprised how things turn out! I hope you are feeling better!