Recently, my pastor mentioned he had been struggling with writer's block. He said a friend of his recommended a book to him that had helped him get past it. Being a writer, I am well aquainted with writer's block. I made a mental note of the title of the book: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
I purchased the book and began reading a detailed account about a personified being called "Resistance". Pressfield addresses "Resistance" in three separate parts.
Part 1: Resistance, Defining the Enemy
The first part of the book discusses the simple fact that anytime you attempt to sit down to write, Resistance meets you in battle. His weapons are varied but strong. He uses things like procrastination, self-dramatazation, victimhood, unhappiness, fundamentalism, fear, criticism, and self-doubt to distract you, tear you down, and ultimately win the war for good on your resolve. I was able to see myself in so many of the different ways Resistance attacks.
The good and bad of it all is the fact that how much passion or love you have for your project or work will directly correlate to how strong Resistance attacks and how strong he will stand when you can just about see the finish line in front of you.
Part 2: Combating Resistance, Turning Pro
This second part caused me to do two things:
First, to ask myself: Am I a professional? Yes, I get paid for my writing. Since I have determined I am a professional, the second question would be: Am I acting in a professional manner toward my writing? Ahhhh....here's the chink in my armor.
Why do I allow Resistance to make me act less than a professional in my writing career, when in all other aspects of my career he doesn't get a foothold?
That's a very good question.
Part 3: Beyond Resistance, The Higher Realm
In this part, Pressfield talks a lot about muses, magic, and angels. While I do believe in angels and that they probably are sent to work in my writing life in some way, I tend to believe my best work comes from the inspiration God graciously bestows upon me. Believe me, I am not that creative or that smart to come up with some of the things I have written about.
What I chose to take away from this part is that when you battle Resistance with the resolve of a true professional, it leaves room for God to inspire in ways only He can.
So am I now cured of writer's block from here on out?
Well, no. In fact it took me three tries just to finish this post. But, I can tell you I am wise to Resistance's tricks now. I can see them for what they are. I no longer feel like I am at the mercy of writer's block now, but have the power to take charge of my writing. I have the ability to approach my writing with the professionalism I apply to other areas of my life. And I'm getting better at it. Want proof? I just finished this post. Victory is mine!
What about you? Do you feel like Resistance controls your writing life?