Resistance – Writing Even When Life Gets in the Way

There’s a myth to long lazy summer days. Because I teach, the school year brings busy-ness and obligations, so I always look forward to summer as a time to write and get caught up.

But not this summer.

This summer has been filled with unexpected trips, family medical emergencies, and distractions that have pulled me from my writing. I don’t usually write reflective posts on this blog, but today, that’s what I’m feeling.

I love to write, but this summer getting words down on paper makes me feel a bit like Sisyphus – the mythological character who was doomed in the underworld to forever push a boulder up hill only to have it roll down before he reached the top. He then had to push it up again.

I get an idea or a thought for my novel but sitting in the hospital right now surrounded by family, I have no way to capture it other than going on a walk and talking it into the audio recorder on my phone. If I don’t capture it, it rolls back down the hill, frustrating me.

It’s not that I have writer’s block. I have all kinds of ideas but no uninterrupted time to get them out of my head.

In The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield talks about Resistance, which he defines as  the “negative force that arises whenever we try to move from a lower level to a higher level.”

It’s the dream crusher, and it can be anything, like almost cutting your thumb off when you’re cooking dinner so typing is hard (yep – that happened to me this summer), or it could be going to the movies with a friend or working out rather than writing (um, me again).

In my case, I feel like it’s a whole bunch of stuff happening in my life that I can’t always control, but Pressfield would still call it Resistance, with a capital R.

One of my favorite stories in The War of Art is about Hitler who apparently wanted to be an artist. Pressfield writes:

“At eighteen he [Hitler] took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas” (loc 120 – kindle edition).

Resistance beat Hitler, but I don’t want it to beat me or any writer for that matter. Our words need to be written, our voices heard. How would the world be different if Hitler had honored the artist within and overcome Resistance?

So, how to break resistance? Get my butt in a chair and write.

Even if it’s a blog post in the hospital while my husband recovers from emergency surgery or on a walk dictating a scene into my phone.

I got this.

We all do.

How does Resistance appear in your life? How do you deal with it?

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