December 2, 2010 started like every other morning. I was sitting at the computer sipping coffee and browsing Facebook for all of my friend’s latest news while the girls were busy destroying the house.
Somewhere between reading about one friend’s plans for the weekend and another’s cute story about her son running scared from Santa, I had this sudden urge to declare myself a writer. Where the hell did that come from? It was like someone walked past me and hit me on the head with the “I want to be a writer” stick. I haven’t given much thought to becoming a writer before then but for some odd reason, in that moment, I decided to be one.
I thought, why not? Sparky’s been telling me to do it for years and I did have a lot of fun participating in NaNoWriMo, so why not write down some stories and be done with it? There was a split second where I expected to see half-naked cherubic angels throwing confetti around me in congratulations. I was so excited; I finally knew what to do with my life.
With this new lease on life I did what any self-respecting, dignified person would do…I posted it all over Facebook. However, to my dismay the second I hit “share” on Facebook a dark cloud settled over me. I became petrified. Crap, I said I was going to be a writer and I posted it on Facebook!? All my friends are going to expect me to write something. I can’t write! Sure my Facebook statuses are funny, but those are little blurbs, not intellectual prose. Don’t these people know what my English teachers told me?
I could feel the walls closing in and I had trouble breathing. I was afraid to post anything on my wall because people would immediately expect my statuses to be funnier, wittier, smarter. I usually post about poop. (In my defense I’m a mom of a 1 year old and a 3 year old – poop is always a hot topic in our house.) It took a couple of minutes but I controlled my breathing and actually found some humor in the situation. I decided what I needed was a couple minutes to myself and then I would write. I got up from the dining room table and went to the living room to watch tv.
What I didn’t know was that just by taking those couple of minutes for myself I was giving in to….Resistance. Those couple of minutes turned into hours, which lead to days. It was more than a week before I sat down in front of the computer to write. Some writer I was turning out to be.
At the suggestion of one my ML’s from NaNoWriMo, Erin M. Hartshorn, I started reading Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. It was one of the best suggestions I have ever received. Best-selling author Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance) examines the struggles that everyone who is teetering on the precipice of living their dream go through. He then gives you a swift kick in the ass.
Resistance is everywhere. Its job is to destroy you, to deter you from realizing your potential, to keep you from living what Pressfield calls your “unlived life,” the life you were meant to live. Sounds corny, it isn’t. Its a funny, scintillating, clever and straight to the point kind of book. No bullshit. Basically, you want to do something, do it.
Pressfield investigates Resistance in all of its forms and lays them on the line for you. It can be found in family, friends, yourself. Half of us don’t even know what hit us. We term it procrastination or self-doubt. We reason that its our busy lives or chaotic family schedule that keeps us from doing what we want. Call it what you want, you’re dealing with Resistance.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has continually put off pursuing their dream because they think they can’t for whatever reason.
Erin suggested the book, but it was this excerpt that made me buy it:
“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.
This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
(Pressfield, The War of Art)
Amen, brother. Amen.
Of course, if your dream is to be a chainsaw juggler, I suggest starting small, something without a combustion engine, like steak knives.
Well, I’m off to write!
But before I go, what is your unlived life? Where does Resistance rear its ugly little head for you? Is it the form of screaming kids and deliciously bad tv shows like it is for me?
Until next Tuesday