Reflections on Resistance

I was hanging out in a bookstore looking at the contents of a tome containing all the Gnostic gospels, trying to imagine reading it all (it’s way over 1,000 pages), dreaming of retirement, reflecting on when I might have enough time for everything I want to do, when I heard the people who work there talking about a workshop using the book The War of Art.

Now that I can read, I thought. I’ve been hearing about it ever since it came out. Other writers have been telling me how it’s one of those essential books. So I bought that one instead.

Holy Cow! What took me so long to read it?

Resistance, that’s what. At least, that’s what Steven Pressfield calls it. I love how he’s made the whole thing very simple. Resistance fights us to the death over doing our work, the work we were born to do, the work that will push Humanity one iota closer to realizing its full potential. Our job is to just do the work anyway.

Yeah, that might sound grandiose, but if we all did pursue our dreams, what would the world look like? Probably better, bit by bit. But leaving that question aside, how would we feel? Better, that’s for sure. I’m always happier when I’m doing the work rather than procrastinating. Sometimes dreaming and listening is necessary, but that’s doing the work, too.

His list of how Resistance shows up is funny, darkly funny. Like, “the consumption of all products containing fat, sugar, salt, or chocolate.” He names healing as resistance. Boy, am I guilty of that. I’ll start teaching meditation again when I’m enlightened. Ha! Self-dramatization. Who, me?

I love how he says once you do start writing, that mysterious process begins. The universe begins to support you, to suggest ideas, to bring people to you to help. The Muse whispers to you how to revise what you’ve just finished, brings you ideas for more work.

Become a pro, he says. Don’t write for money, love, approval. Don’t chase that next “thing” that’s going to catch on. Don’t belong to a hierarchy, he says. Claim your territory, put your head down, and write. Yeah, I said I wanted to get a fabulous contract, have a movie, and retire from the proceeds, as well as fund my son and grandchildren. But will I stop writing if that doesn’t happen? No. Pressfield says if you’re the only human left on earth, would you still do your art?

It’s so romantic, isn’t it? So glorious. Ha. It’s like his writer friend told him when he finally finished a novel after years of throwing them out right before they were done, making his friends and family miserable, not to mention himself, running away, etc. His writer friend said, “You finished? Good, now go start the next one.”

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Author: Theresa Crater

Award-winning author Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.

11 thoughts on “Reflections on Resistance”

  1. Oh, Theresa, how true. “I’ll start writing when the kids are grown.” “I’ll do that after I learn how to X.” “I’ll never be James Patterson, so why bother?” We make up so many excuses, don’t we? Yet Pressfield is right. When I’m in a story, the ideas seem to start bubbling to the top and I can’t imaging doing anything else.

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  2. Theresa, yes, when you’re cleaning behind the refrigerator, you’re in full-on avoid-the-WIP mode! But it’s all so true. Keep going, keep writing, keep developing. It’s a mysterious process for sure.

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  3. Love this, Theresa! And since I’m currently online because I’m resisting attending to a scene that I don’t want to rewrite, especially pertinent. 😉 Thank you.

    This is so cool: “I love how he says once you do start writing, that mysterious process begins. The universe begins to support you, to suggest ideas, to bring people to you to help. The Muse whispers to you how to revise what you’ve just finished, brings you ideas for more work.”

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  4. Very interesting! I love this question: “if you’re the only human left on earth, would you still do your art?” Absolutely. One page at a time.

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  5. Love! Thanks for sharing–I definitely need to read this. As munchkin gets older, I struggle with how to teach her to follow her dreams, yet do the things she has to do right now. It’s a tricky balance!

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  6. I read this right after reading a couple of other posts on issues like confidence and doing-things-that-hold-us-back. Eureka, I thought. Maybe there’s a reason I procrasinate, don’t follow lists, or make excuses. I’m resisting. Now I just need to figure out what!

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  7. I’m fighting all sorts of resistance. With my drawing and painting, it’s my monkey brain complaining that I suck and it takes too long. It doesn’t look the way I’d like, so why bother? But my writing doesn’t turn out the way I want, exactly, either, and I don’t use that as an excuse not to write. I find other excuses for that. 🙂

    Thinking it’s time for me to pick up The War of Art and get reading… or would that be procrastinating?

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  8. Carmen, it’s so tricky, isn’t it? Resistance is everywhere! And Kit, you are smart to keep going. At one point or another, seems like we all have those thoughts (or at least that’s what we’ve been discovering here on the blog). Seems to be just part of the process.

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