This is a subject I know about. Adversity. While writing is a solitary sport, life–in all of it’s insidious forms–does its best to intervene. We all have different habits. Some of us start our day exercising, dragging-butt out of bed to get the kids up and off to school, checking emails or tending horses, but eventually, we have to plant our rears in the proverbial chair and start tapping the keyboard. Procrastination is only one agent of an enemy Steven Pressfield calls RESISTANCE. No matter what form it takes–TV, internet, email, video games, movies, spouses, friends or events we wish to go to–the simple fact is if we don’t write, we’re not writers. Some writers overcome this by setting and adhering to a strict schedule. Others by bringing their laptops (or recording devices) along with them everywhere and utilizing every available moment. Either method is productive, but if you plan a “writing time” and do nothing else but type during that time, lightning is more likely to strike. Pressfield calls this “being a pro.” Being a pro everyday–as opposed to a novice or amateur, who has only their amusement at stake–is what conquers the enemy: Resistance. It’s in all of us and surrounds us in everything that tempts us and everyone we speak to.
During the last year, I’ve nearly had my 15 year marriage fall apart, a business go under, began a new business, had my laptop quit on me in the process, lost friends and found out who my true friends were. All of this strangled writing to a near-complete stop for me. It seemed everything I loved was slipping away. As I said, ADVERSITY. Then, I realized something that seems opposed to the last post: “I have to pull myself out of this”. No friends, no fellow writers, no family members or co workers could do it. I had to. That is the moment when I had to make the decision–was I going to be a writer or a wannabe writer?
I write, as many others do, because I LOVE it. I gave up on doing it for the money a long time ago. Superstars taught me the most valuable of lessons (which should have been common sense) writers don’t just write one story, they WRITE! Pressfield punctuated it with a great explanation of how sometimes the people around you will recognize that you’re winning the war with resistance and be jealous that they cannot, and thus try to thwart you–no matter what it is you’re achieving. And that vulcanized my decision.
So, I bought a new laptop.
Point is, though support is great and networking is a necessity, You are ultimately responsible for getting it done.
Good stuff, Rich. Glad to hear where you’re at with writing.
So proud of you… it’s hard when life keeps trying to get in the way, but you are so right – no one can do this but us. And you did!
Great comments, Rich. When it comes down to it we write because we love forming stories; it’s just who we are. I came down the stairs once saying, “Why do I do this? This chapter sucks! I’ll never get published!” My son said, “If you never get published, do you still want to write the story?” I went back in my office and worked out the chapter.