Little Known Ways Not to Write
The other day I spent a good half hour trying to get a cat treat (that I'd put in there myself) out of a plastic toy ball. My kitten looked on with curiosity.
Hey that's for me, he was obviously thinking (because as you know, we humans always know what our pets are thinking).
The sad part of this was that it was supposed to be my writing time, and I'd no other time to write that day. And very little time to write that week.
The cat treat was too big for the ball and so I really HAD to fish it out, otherwise my kitten would be traumatized not being able to get it out.
I convinced myself that I saved the day for him, but really all I did was lose a day of writing for me.
The truth was that I didn't need to do that thing right then. Just as cats love bits of shiny yarn, a bird at the window or a necklace dangling from your person, so humans get distracted by the smallest of things. Especially when it involves avoiding creative work.
Steven Pressfield talks about this in The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles.
Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator.
Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
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.
Here are some other ways I've not written:
Said yes to something I should've said no to.
Made a chocolate cake with nasturtiums and lavender.
Cleaned the windows.
Took up sculpting.
Folded my sweaters after watching a video of how to fold sweaters on YouTube.
Bought an online course that I never started.
Binge watched everything.
Shopped online for something I didn't need.
Went out for coffee.
Painted a room.
Called my mother.
Cleaned the oven.
Googled old teachers, old lovers....
I'm not saying that I was never justified in doing something other than writing. Sometimes it's important to take time out for other things, because those spaces can be crucial to our creative work. Yet if we're always finding other stuff to do instead of writing, then this truly is resisting what we know in our heart of hearts that we really MUST do.
Here are some ways you can have a pillow fight with resistance and beat her at her own game:
- Set an alert on your phone to write. Even if it's 15 minutes of writing time, you can say you got it done!
- Set up a Google sheet with your name, the name of the project, and dates that you intend to write. You can use the tracking sheet I've created HERE.
- Bargain with your voices of resistance. Read Steven Pressfield, be kind to yourself, and remember that resistence too will pass, eventually.
- Envision and create mantras that enable you to see your finished story or book. How does this feel in your body?
- After meeting a writing goal give yourself treats like chocolate or taking time out to watch a movie or see friends.
- Be kind to resistance. Don't try to shame her or push her away.
“The most important thing about art is to work," says Steven Pressfield. "Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
Also, please check out Marie Forleo's interview with Steven Pressfield. It's gold!!
On that note, you can check out my writing prompt below. I do weekly writing prompts on Facebook Live, which I post on my blog and on my Good Stories Grow Here Writing Studio Facebook page.
Writing prompts are great for developing a writing habit and for tapping into your creative fire. You know you want to! It's only 10 minutes long and some talking at the beginning and end. A very short amount of talking, I promise.
Writing Prompt - History of a Hat
Write a scene about a woman who walks into a hat shop and finds a hat very similar to the one she's seen her grandmother wear in old black and white photos. She tries it on, posing in the mirror. When she takes it off her head she peers inside it and notices a folded piece of paper tucked into the side. Pulling it out, she opens it up. It's a letter written in 1958.
Feel free to reach out and share your story with me and/or this writing community. Or you can simply post your story in the feed below this video.
Have a story that you'd like some help with? Check out my writing courses for more information about how I can help you reach your writing goals.
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