My Resistance Monster & Me
Posted on: March 4, 2018
I’ve been bracing myself, because I knew the time was coming to get serious and finally sit down and write my novel. I mean, this particular story has been simmering inside my head (and heart) for over 15 years now! That’s a long time, but I believe it was necessary in order for the story to develop.
Over the years, I’ve jotted down scenes, ideas, and characters, and once I looked at the huge collection of notes and snippets, I got overwhelmed.
So I said to my husband: “I don’t know how to do it! I would need a lot of SPACE in order to give myself a clear overview!”
The next day, I entered the study, and to my amazement, I found an extra desk in there! Wow! It was exactly what I needed: A plain work surface off the ground that provided unlimited space for my stuff. It’s actually not a real desk. It’s an unfinished door, that he made into a work-table. And since it’s not a fancy wooden desk, I don’t need to fret when I spill some ink! (He lent it to me, but there’s a very good chance that he’ll never get the door-desk back…)
Writing my story is like a puzzle, no, a mosaic! Not only are there notes all over the desk and in several note books, but there are also 90 pages of the actual story, more ideas, and character descriptions saved on my laptop, written over short, but productive periods over the years.
And to complicate it even more, I decided to go back to basics and start all over again with a fountain pen & big notebook. Because over the years, my writing, the story, the voice, and its characters have all changed. They grew with me!
I also understood that writing by hand, first, works much better for me. It leaves more space for instant inspiration and makes me feel connected to the actual process of writing, because it’s such an organic experience.
So how to combine and tame the unruly mess into one coherent whole?
I have no idea!
I’m trying to figure it out as I go. I’ve printed out the old version, then cut it apart. As I’m going forward in the process, I glue the useful snippets on slips of paper organized by theme or character. Some don’t fit anywhere. I toss what I don’t like anymore. I write notes on the printed-out version. Then I write it again by hand, always trying to be alert and mindful of the new ideas to incorporate along the way (it’s hard to keep an overview, I tell ya!). Then I type what I just wrote back into the computer (i.e. editing the old version, and keeping or moving around what I like).
It’s a very SLOW process (but it’s a process, much better than stagnation!).
Finally sitting down to really write feels exciting, but DREADFUL!
As Steven Pressfield, one of my precious mentors, says: a tree (=dream) comes with a shadow (=resistance). He describes resistance as interior self-sabotage, and says that the more important something is for you going forward as an evolved human being to realize yourself, the more resistance you will feel for it.
On the first day of my new commitment, I could feel myself tearing up.
But I knew this would just waste my time again and lead absolutely nowhere. I’d eventually return to the fact that I have to SIT & WRITE. I’m incredibly tired of postponing (chickening out), but it’s hard to face the challenge and do the work. My mind continues to make up all kinds of reasons to do anything else (i.e. resistance trying to get its way).
Yet, lately I also notice a steely force in my mind that defies resistance. Not always successful, but it might grow in its power the longer I stick it through. I’m hoping for this!
Beating resistance feels like mental Kung Fu training. No kidding.
But you know what? I trust it’s getting better from here. The more I get into my routine, the more I might get into the flow. And when I write something that I like, something that magically appears out of nowhere and excites or even baffles me, then I know it’s all worth it.
Now, I’m curious! What pops up in your mind when you think about resistance? Is it writing a book? Registering for a course? Following through with that business idea? Be brave and share with me in the comments below!
With loads of love,