Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Steven Pressfield

Today's post is a good one for anyone trying to make big changes in their lives and feeling like you're continually hitting an invisible wall. Steven Pressfield's The War of Art is an eye opener and a helpful guide to overcoming the obstacles that get in our way.

Pressfield puts all of life's obstacles into one easy to identify category. He labels it all Resistance. Resistance takes many forms, but the result is progress toward your goals is hindered, halted even. There is only one way to fight Resistance; you have to sit down and put in the work to achieve your goals.

Resistance is that pesky voice telling me not to exercise today because I look tired or the weather is bad. It really doesn't care about me; it simply doesn't want to see me reach my goal of getting healthier.
Resistance also comes in the form of loved ones. Every time I sit down in front of the computer to write someone in my family will have a mini crisis or need to locate something only I seem to have to knowledge of where it could be. There are days when I swear they have all sat down together to create a schedule to make sure that every 15 minutes I am reminded that I have 4 children and a husband who have a bad case of the Mr. Magoos and legs that do not bend at the knee. (Really, you're standing at the fridge with the door open and asking me if we have mustard?)

Besides the form taken, there's not much difference between inner and outer Resistance. Both types don't want change (either consciously or subconsciously), both types do everything to resist it. This is understandable. Humans are mainly creatures of habit and we love residing well within our comfort zones. The thought of change, the idea of propelling myself into the unknown of the publishing world is scary for me, so why wouldn't it be for my loved ones?
Fear is the life line of Resistance. It depends on it; feeds on it. So, how do you stop Resistance? I've been trying to figure this out since my first book was published. Steven Pressfield pulls Resistance, in all its forms, out of the shadows and exposes all of its dirty tricks. He also said something that really resonated with me. Fear is always there, you're never going to find a way to completely remove it, especially when you are truly invested in an idea, project, or life changing venture. He said to stop wasting energy and time trying to stop fear and focus on the work. The person who can sit down and do the work despite the fear changes from an amateur to a professional. Resistance does not like professionals because it has less power over them.

I know that I want to be a professional writer. Yes, I want to be published again, but more so I want to give life to these stories I have piling up in my head; give voice to these characters who have for some unknown reason put their fictional futures in my hands. I am in many ways still an amateur with so much to learn about writing and publishing. After reading The War of Art I know I have the heart of a professional and I know that I can reach my future goals by doing one important thing today... I have to sit down and do the work.

I bought an electronic copy of this book and read it on my iPod. Print additions are also available. Visit Steven Pressfield's website for links and information about more of his work.
Thanks for stopping by,
Kristin : )

1 comment:

  1. I finished this book again just this last weekend. If you are struggling at starting or completing a project, a goal, or life ambition- this book will call you out, set you straight and send you off with a new resolve.