Facing resistance

Apologies to those who have followed me in the past.  For the past couple years I was swamped with graduate school studies, and thus pretty much gave up my blogging.  I’m now on the other side of that and working a job that requires less travel.  While I’ll miss my frequent jaunts to Asia, I believe an excellent benefit will be more time to give to my creative endeavors including writing.  In an effort to blog more frequently, I think I may try to post shorter reflections more often.

Though my blogs have been largely silent, I have been writing a lot of late. Since completing grad school (where I had built in deadlines to make sure I wrote A LOT), I decided to set myself a goal of writing a minimum of 45 minutes at least 5 days a week.  I don’t always reach my goal, but it has had the result of encouraging me to write a lot, and many days I exceed my goal many times over.

I am working on a book, and I set this goal primarily as a way to combat the resistance that most writers and creative people feel towards doing their most important creative work. The resistance is inexplicable in many ways, because it’s resistance to work we desire to do.  As part of this method of facing my resistance, if I really feel resistance, I allow myself to fulfill my goal by writing for a minimum of 3 hand-written journal pages giving full vent to the resistance I feel.  The results have been powerful.  Repeatedly, when I’ve done this, it has only been a short time before I am back to working on my creative project.

I would be curious to hear others experiences in dealing with their resistance to doing their most important creative work.

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Been Writing (almost) every day!

The following was originally written on the 43things.com website, under my goal of “Write Every Day”.

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been on this site… sorry to all the people who’ve cheered me that I’ve ignored.

Anyway, regarding this goal, I have now been doing this for some months – maybe at least 3 months straight. I started by making sure I wrote in my journal at least 4 pages if I didn’t write on my other projects. That led to writing 31K+ words in the past month, on a novel for which I’ve had the idea for years. The original idea came to me in high school, and then about 6 years ago, I got a whole framework for the story. Now, for the past month, I have actually written good portions of it.

It will need a lot of work in the second draft, but I have already reviewed a few chapters, and I feel it has promise. Even if it doesn’t – is unpublishable or something – right now I don’t care because I am having a blast writing it. I’ve long had a sort of love/hate relationship with my writing. I love it, but it also was grueling at times.

This experience, on the other hand, has been pure joy. I think it’s because I really have been able to turn off the “inner critic”, and not worry about if the writing is good or not (until I’m ready to assess all that), but instead just enjoy myself discovering the narrative and the characters as I go. I have never written a novel before, but have read of novelists describing their characters like little autonomous living beings who don’t always do what they want them to do. That is the part that is so interesting for me: I have this general direction I’m going in, but as I write stuff comes out that surprises me. It’s fun, like watching a movie. It’s coming out of my imagination, but it’s deep from my imagination at times, so even “I” don’t know what’s going to happen until it does. Weird!

I guess I’ve experienced this before in other creative works, when I’m in the “trance of writing” as Eric Maisel puts it, BUT I think the phenomena becomes much more pronounced in a longer piece of fiction where the characters have more times to act and develop.

One last observation: I believe the act of writing every day for two months was a direct cause of this creative burst now, even if it was forced, and even if it was just random thoughts in my journal. The act of free writing anything somehow turns on a part of oneself. The “task oriented” me, thinks it doesn’t count if it’s something I’m writing for “my eyes only”, but the creative side counts everything because she knows she works best when she is allowed to come out and play every SINGLE day!