The opposite of resistance is insistence

Overcoming resistance to writing requires more effort initially than it does later on, particularly if you build a writing habit and get into the swing of doing it every day without question, like brushing your teeth.

Before that — and sometimes even after you have a writing habit in place — one of your best tools for fighting resistance is insistence.

I suppose it’s a kind of willpower but I think of it more as a blazing piece of magic and determination that tells resistance: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

Insistence means drawing a line in the sand and saying, “I WILL write today!” even if that looks like aiming for your rock bottom minimum of fifteen minutes or 350 words or whatever you’ve identified as your “no matter what”.

Insistence doesn’t have to be a ruthless warrior either. She can also be a gentle goddess, coaxing you to the page, kindly insisting that yes, indeed, you can write today, even just for five minutes. She’s the one that helps you set the timer and get the file open and start typing.

There are days when insisting that I write feels exhausting, like one more thing to do on my overly full plate. But there’s a deeper part of me that feels relieved and satisfied when I show up and do it.

Release the joy

I believe that writing is a calling. Something we can’t not do. It doesn’t come easy for all writers. For many of us, resistance is so overpowering that we begin to believe perhaps we just don’t care enough about writing to actually do it.

Here’s the thing. Where there is resistance, there also is passion, secret joy, energy, enthusiasm, and delight just waiting to burst out, to be freed from its prison.

You are the one with the power to release it.

Gently insisting that you will write today, even just a little bit, begins to break down the dam that holds back all that joy.

Is writing always joyful?

Will you feel joyful while you write?

Maybe not.

Perhaps it’s the pessimistic side of me but I often feel more like a terrified deep sea diver putting on her scuba gear when I sit down at my desk to write. And while I’m underwater I focus on doing the work, as if the sharks and other unseen terrors might be show up at any time. And it’s hard work too, extracting ores and hauling buried treasures back to the surface. It’s only once I’ve returned to the surface, pulled off my gear, and taken a breath of fresh air that the relief and joy erupts through me.

I’m okay with that. But sometimes, I need a little insistence to help me get past the fear of facing all that hard work. :)

 

What about you? How does insistence help you show up and do the work?

 

Comments

  1. Hi Jenna,

    Very clever article! Yes, I write because I have to. Is it always joyful. No. Sometimes it is hard to edit a piece and I keep thinking about what needs to be changed – for days. And then it comes to me and it is all worth it. I think there is this weird notion that our calling will always be a walk in the park. It’s really more about feeling like you can’t live without doing it. When I face a new play and a blank piece of paper am I feeling all light and airy? No, I need to write a play and at the moment, I can’t think of anything that isn’t cliche. But, then it does come to me – the angle I didn’t think of and all is well. Like anything in life, it is a roller coaster. Thanks! G.

    • Jenna says:

      I could not agree more, Giulietta! A calling is something you must do, hard or easy, it must be done. Glad you liked the article!

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