Finding constant inspiration and energy to write and create can be difficult.
There are a lot of schools of thought about writer’s block, laziness, rules of writing, etc. etc.
I like to make my own rules and find what works for me and then do it until it doesn’t work anymore.
Well, let me tell you, I was just plinking along rather fine until this stupid thing called Covid decided to come join the party. Man oh man, talk about a downer.
The pandemic threw me (and millions of others) into that proverbial tailspin. Nothing seemed important anymore and even if I did try and produce anything it was all nonsense and didn’t matter because we were all going to be joining the zombie apocalypse soon–unless you got some toilet paper before everyone else–then you might survive…..I didn’t get any…just so you know.
So in March, I went from a normal routine of writing everyday to zero production. Boom just like that. Then I transferred my focus to the news…couldn’t get enough–now can’t stand to hear another statistic! Then I moved on to the all time favorite Netflix where I binged on crap that isn’t worth watching but it distracted me. Ugh.
I chatted online with a buddy, Jonas Saul, who is a Canadian writer. When the pandemic hit he was in Greece so he opted to stay. He continued to write and write and write. I was inspired…for almost the entire month of April 2020!!
Whoop Whoop–watch out world, here I come.
I sat down and challenged myself to complete a novel in one month. I enlisted a friend who was also writing a novel at the time, Lorna Schultz Nicholson. She finished and I stopped just before finishing.
Who knows? It’s crazy.
Some spark dimmed and fell out of my universe. I didn’t want to write. I forced myself to work on my blog. That’s easier because they’re shorter and less involved.
So now what?
Meh, might as well quit, right?
Heck no. I listened to my new favorite audiobook: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.The audio is only a couple of hours long and the book is only 162 pages.
A little background…Pressfield is a fiction writer who, like the rest of us, is in a constant battle with those inner demons of self doubt, sabotage, deception, and corruption all presented as Resistance.
Resistance is the little devil who sits on your shoulder and says…go take a nap–you don’t need to write today or have that third glass of wine–you can sleep in… He’s the one who keeps you from reaching your true potential.
It is PACKED full of a kick in the butt, get off the couch, get that frikken book done NOW!
“What I Know—There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down to write is Resistance.” The War of Art; Pressfield 2002
This idea of “Resistance” is all about our own insecurities, doubt, “self-drama”, fears of success, and excuses.
“Resistance Can Be Beaten—If Resistance couldn’t be beaten, there would be no Fifth Symphony, no Romeo and Juliet, no Golden Gate Bridge. Defeating Resistance is like giving birth. It seems absolutely impossible until you remember that women have been pulling it off successfully, with support and without, for fifty million years.” Pg 57 The War of Art; Pressfield, 2002
It’s a book that when I finished listening, I felt a lightness in spirit and a need to start writing. I’ve written nearly every day since.
Pressfield says we must EMBRACE the Resistance and we must FACE the Resistance. If you’re a creative person you must sit down every single day and face the fears. It’s not a selfish act. Those who create have been given a gift that needs to be shared with the world. It’s not an easy task but it is worthy and must be done.
“Creative work, is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” The War of Art; Pressfield pg 165
Sit down everyday. Have a strict routine to take on your own inner demon Resistance. When you do this an energy is created that brings about the creativity. I know this to be true because as I continue to write on a regular basis it becomes (dare I say) easier. Pressfield call it the Muse. A magical visit of positivity. I love it.
The way Pressfield looked at the author and craft was unique to me. The book spoke to me in such a way as a reminder of all the things I intrinsically know but choose to ignore or downplay. It was a reminder that I’m a writer, a damn fine one, and I need to do it. Simple as that.
The need for a boot in the butt is some times necessary.
I’d highly recommend the book. I have both the paperback and the audio. In the audio it’s read by Steven Pressfield and it threw me for a loop at first by how fast he talked, but I still got a lot out of it. I’ll go back and re-listen for another shot in the arm.
At this point I have two more novels written that are in need of editing and then beta readers. Both are good and will get better as I pay them some more attention. The first YA thriller is still out there floating around looking for a buyer. It’ll happen.
Keep writing. Don’t let all the crap get in your way and stop you.