I follow a number of blogs. Most of them are related to writing in some way or other, how-to’s and what-not-to-do’s when writing short fiction, novels, blogs. Jeff Goins at Goin’s Writer focuses on grabbing the ring as a writer, that is, acknowledging to others our avocation as writers, and on blog writing and how to create a tribe for yourself and how to gain subscribers to your blog. And he’s good at it and he’s making a living by writing these days. Joe Bunting over at The Write Practice remains more focused on writing fiction, and he also is living on his writing. Christi Krug’s blog, Kindling encourages us to just sit down and write something – anything because if we’re compelled to write, to be writers, then what’s stopping us?
Steven Pressfield Online answers that question. Resistance. In his book, The War of Art he explains how resistance keeps us from our work, writing, that one activity that writers are compelled to do, but tend to avoid. It’s a dilemma we all seem to face. We want our words to be read, but we’re afraid to share them. So we let that voice in our heads, the one Mr. Pressfield names resistance, the one I call ego, talk us out of sitting down.
There are always tasks that are more important than writing for the person who is not making a living with his words, and there is an infinite number of reasons for placing what we love most at the bottom of our to-do list. It makes absolutely no sense. I learned, in one of Ms. Krug’s classes a couple of years ago that I was a “perfectionistic procrastinator” – not her words, but those of a guest speaker. I laughed out loud. Actually, I think I guffawed. People looked at me. I clapped my hand over my mouth. I was that person. I had to have the perfect spot to sit in order to write, the perfect journal, the perfect pen – no, pencil because what if I messed up and needed to erase? All of those needs effectively kept me from writing much of anything. When I finally did start writing, thanks to Christi, I then had to acknowledge my fear of being heard.
Fear. That word again. Resistance. Ego. That pit-in-the-stomach, dry-mouthed, clammy-handed thief. It steals our POWER! It usurps our CONTROL! Ego keeps us living small because we allow it to. We believe it when it tells us that our writing isn’t good enough, or original enough, or smart enough, or funny enough. That voice keeps us from engaging in the activity we love the most.
Until we stop listening.
What is ego/resistance keeping you from? What is it that sits on your shoulder and whispers, How about now? Come play! How will your life be enriched when you start listening to that voice instead of the ego-voice?