Some Thoughts on Creative Resistance

Ever felt like you wanted to write, you really really did, but it just felt hard? So you did the laundry instead or wiped down your already clean counters because that felt useful and easier?

I think we’ve all been there. All my laundry got done last week though I did also write but some days felt…hard.

Yesterday, I pulled some books from my shelves to explore the idea of creative resistance, and I discovered a freaking WAR.

Seriously.

I have Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art, where you can learn to win creative battles, and Stephen Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers. Even my mentor, Dr. Eric Maisel with whom I’ve studied and taken courses, refers to a need for “belligerent commitment” in his book Fearless Creativity. 

What?

First I got annoyed. Then, I decided to see what some of the women writers (who write on writing) had to say about resistance. 

What I found felt so much better. Natalie Goldberg, in Writing Down the Bones, writes, “If those characters in you want to fight, let them fight. Meanwhile, the sane part of you should quietly get up, go over to your notebook, and begin to write from a deeper, more peaceful place.”

Yes, she acknowledges the struggle but suggests we move beyond the struggle rather than getting caught up in the battle, warrior-ing our way through.

Julia Cameron offers a similar, softer approach, recognizing that creative resistance is rooted in fear. List your fears about your project, acknowledge them, see them for what they are. They’re not deadly. You don’t need to battle them.

See them, then list what you gain by not doing the work which will shine a light on what you actually gain. Then, step in and trust.

Start that story, the one that’s calling to you. 

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