If you had an activity, healthy, non-addictive, which did not involve an over-dependence upon others and did not harm them, in which you could make a contribution to others, that gave you a huge sense of accomplishment, which gave you deep contentment and pleasure, which you had been doing off and on all your life, which didn’t cost anything, which you could do almost anywhere under almost any conditions–if you could do that activity, wouldn’t you? Merely for the sheer joy of it?
I’m writing again . . . again.
How many times have I been here? How many times, and in increasingly public ways, have I declared “I’m a writer!” How many times have I re-engaged the discipline of daily writing? And how many times have I ultimately begun to write less and less and less? Well, here I am again, starting again.
The novel I began working on about two and a half years ago (and wrote about half of it in first draft) has been dusted off and re-imagined. I have some new writing tools which make organizing the draft so much easier and more pleasant. I even recently hied myself to a coffee shop and wrote a thousand words of the first scene while sipping some locally roasted java. As I parked the car back at my home, the sun was shining, the spring air was warm. I felt as though my life again had a center to it. I felt determined, oriented, focused.
And I thought to myself, “Why the [expletive] don’t I write every dadgum day? What gives? This has been in me since I was six years old. Why isn’t this my daily focus?”
If you’re a writer, too, you know the answer to this. Resistance. (Thanks, Mr. Pressfield.) And, at least for me, back of that Resistance is a fear. Perhaps a fear of being different. How many people do you know who claim to be writers? “And what do you do for a living? No. Seriously.” Perhaps a fear of being rejected. “You write what?” Or: “I’m sorry, but your manuscript doesn’t meet our present needs.” Or, worse: _____________________. (That’s silence, in case you were wondering.)
There’s always the fear of failure; that somehow this whole writing thing is just an ego-driven delusion, and when you put it on paper, the fantasy will dissipate like morning fog in the light of growing day. I would say also that perhaps it’s a fear of succeeding. Because if there’s anything worse than failure it’s success. Because with success it’s real. You did it. Now: do it again. With failure all you have is broken dreams. With success you have the agony of having realized a dream, only to face the possibility of losing it again. It feels like it’s actually better not to have loved at all. Better not to know what one might ultimately miss . . . and never have again.
But, honestly . . . who cares what the Resistance is about? I don’t need sessions with a therapist. I just need to write. I need sessions with my keyboard. Every. Dadgum. Day.
This self-absorbed, navel-gazing post is not working on my novel. But it is writing. Not world-class writing. Not great writing. Not even good writing. Just writing.
So screw you, Resistance.