Overcoming Resistance

The War of Art  

A good conference is like a good cookbook, if you take away a couple of good ideas/recipes that you actually implement/make, then it was worth it. Don Miller's Storyline conference was a good conference. A lot of the speakers offered inspiration that landed with butterfly brevity and flitted away. A couple of things stuck. First Don mentioned an author and I wrote in my journal (Steve Pressville-vale?) Later in the conference binder I found a quote in print and learned that it is Steven Pressfield. And the book I might want to start with is The War of Art. I downloaded it on my Kindle and then started reading it this morning, right after calling Verizon about my damn phone plan, taking a break only to hand my daughter resumes I printed for her before a job interview, then finished it under some pressure from my dog whose pleading eyes made it clear that it was time for a walk.

Wow! It is an amazing distillation of my experience with resistance to the work of creation.  Inspiration is just one small aspect of the process and a fun distraction. This book is much more practical. I also laughed because as I read The War of Art I recognized it is another act of resistance: reading about writing instead of writing.

The first evening of Storylines Anne Lamott said the same thing: you have to put in the time. Write the shitty first draft. Revise. Write more.  When so many people who have actually produced a lot of great stuff you like to read say the same thing, they may be speaking the truth.

Pressfield's message broke through and is already making a difference. I recently made two commitments to myself: 1) to ride my bike for at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days, and 2) to write 5 days a week in the month of March.  When I finished the book I started to get sucked into the world wide web. My daughter called to tell me how her job interview went and I practically shouted, "Got time to meet me at the Cloud Forest Cafe for a coffee?" I leaped on my bike and raced into town with my computer. She shared her interview experience and then left me with my decaf, my computer and free wifi.

I slayed two small dragons this morning with one fell swoop.  Thanks Steven.

Struggling with Focus on Writer's Retreat

snapping fingers

I have committed a significant chunk of time and money to create an envelope for writing.  I am excited to progress on several projects already underway. I drove 6 hours to Trinidad, California on Christmas Day so I could maximize my time. And I have not accomplished anything in the last two days.

I returned to an open internet page on my computer from Writer's Digest blog. A guest blogger, Danie Ware, explains how she makes "snap writing" work for her busy schedule. My problem is focus; however, these words got my attention: "DON’T get into a routine. Don’t fall into a habit. Don’t fall victim to your own behavior patterns – you can only write with a coffee, with a biscuit, at 4pm, at your desk, with your cat on your lap and your favorite music…"  Love this advice since I hate routine. Check out her post for other good advice.

I also remember the advice from Bicycling magazine to set small goals and build in rewards when met. My challenge is getting started and feeling overwhelmed with all I want to accomplish. I need to chip, chip, chip away at my goals and stop thinking I have failed  if I do not write all day.

My plan is to identify the projects that if finished will give the greatest satisfaction. Then I will break those into pieces and write, write, write, and reward myself when I have earned it.  I will report back on January 3 and let you know how well this plan worked.