The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.
~ Steven Pressfield from The War of Art
If you write copy for election advertisements, you don't have to read this. Resistance doesn't know your name. But if you have chosen the artist's life, no matter the medium, and you're bleeding from battle, let's talk.
Pressfield articulates the struggle precisely in his tidy tome, The War of Art. Resistance, he says, is "a force of nature. It acts objectively." So when you answer the call to create (or anything else you can't finish in a nanosecond), you will come across a pernicious energy that seeks to kill the artist within.
Resistance comes in many forms. Doubtless, your nemesis is on this list: procrastination, fear, spouse, relatives far and near (including children), jobs and bosses, bad days, good days, feeding the poor, baking PTA cupcakes, giving blood, TROUBLE, a headache, automobiles that don't work and those that do, promises made in haste, the clock, a beautiful sunset, a moonless night, and people who feel guilty because they've given into resistance while you sat at your computer typing the Great American and/or Canadian Novel.
Whatever prevents you from creating is by definition resistance.
Wait! Don't comment yet. I'm not saying that spouses and children et al are inherently bad. NO!!! They are good and worthy of your love and nurture. That's what's so sneaky about resistance. It can be good things that keep you from creating.
We understand one another, don't we?
We don't slay the tools of resistance, we manage them. But that discussion is for another day.
I've written six novels. I know what it is to be a warrior artist, but I have a new-to-me source of resistance.
For background: The door to publishing opened readily for me. I held out my indulged manuscript, and a publisher swept it up, and then four more. I'm too embarrassed to share the self-important thoughts that filled my fat head in those first months.
Fast forward to several months ago: I ate my self-important thoughts. My book sales didn't warrant more risk, so I'm publisher-free. With a lance in my gut I battled resistance to finish my work in progress, but now what?
What to do? What to do?
My dragons have mushroomed in size. And my sword is a toothpick!
What to do?
After prayer and counsel from my husband, I spent the weekend filling out applications, polishing an odd resume, and cursing the invention of cover letters. I need to find a job. A real job. During a recession. Help!
The notion of having a job and writing at the same time isn't the greatest source of resistance I'm facing (not yet). No, it's worse than that. There's the very real possibility that my poor sales performance will dampen my writing career, meaning publishers may shy away from this poor-performing author. And so, my stories may not reach an audience.
I'm trying very, very hard to sharpen my sword on what Pressfield says, "...the artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling...He must do his work for its own sake...Do it as an offering to God."
My sword is still nicked and dulled, but this is where I want to be again, writing for the pure joy of creating, whether I have an audience or not.
Can you relate? Are you steeped in the battle to create? Is it possible to find joy in writing without an audience? What causes resistance for you? How do you battle on? Let's talk!