Committing to Change

I may never know why so many writers and artists resist working on their craft. We writers often slog our way to our desks and force ourselves to write, turning it into a dreary business. For whatever reason resistance happens, I’ve learned I’m not alone in experiencing it.

Recently, my friend Robin Vada and I taught a workshop designed to help writers free themselves from the burdens of resistance, doubt, fear, and procrastination. We combined guided meditation with writing prompts. We knew something special was happening early in the 90-minute session because everyone trusted us enough to close their eyes and follow our directions for breathing, stretching, and visualizing.

When we shifted to writing, the room filled with a productive silence as everyone bent over their notebooks and wrote. Some students melted into the page, their bodies curving toward the desk. For others, the page pushed back, so they leaned away from the desk, closed their eyes, took a few breaths, and bent in again, gaining a few more sentences and a little less push back from the page.

When we asked for them to read us some of their writing or describe their experience, I identified with all of their creative struggles. I realized that fear and resistance come easily to me, they are familiar and well practiced; whereas calm and confidence feel difficult.

Where does the fear come from? What is there to fear about creating stories, paintings, or music?

One student answered my unspoken question. She said resistance comes from fear of change because:

Committing to a creative project means committing to changing ourselves.

This rang powerfully true for me. It’s not easy to learn, to stretch, to risk, to endure failure and bounce back. I’m not even sure in what ways I change, but I am sure she is right.

Is this true for you? Do you resist getting started on your creative work? Do you think the creative process changes you? In what ways?



I write and illustrate stationery, cards, customized snail mail (yes, you can receive handwritten and illustrated letters in your mail!!), coloring books, and more. My business name is "Carrot Condo." After teaching English for 15 years (gasp!), I am now a full-time parent and part-time artist slowly, but steadily, building a creative business and life. You can read more at or see my products at Thanks for your interest and support!!
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6 Responses to Committing to Change

  1. Solveig says:

    Oh this is so true! Of course I resist getting on with my creative work, it took me MONTHS, maybe even YEARS to trust myself to start my blog.
    I do think that the creative process I am in at the moment has had a lot of positive impact. I am closer to my equilibrium, I think it makes me happier, and it makes me see things around me, and even life differently. My mind is more organised now, when I see something, think something, I always ask myself how I can make use of it creatively.

    • TRISTA says:

      I totally agree with you, Solveig; I feel the same way after many months of daily writing. Which is why I’m so surprised many of us resist getting to work. It still happens to me, although less often. If the ways we change are so positive, why resist the work? I suspect I’ll never know the answer to this, but you’ve described the benefits of creative work perfectly here.

  2. Rose L. says:

    I seem to find more creativity and get the juices flowing when I am touched by something. Once I wrote a short poem about abortion after watching a movie which touched me. I was not sure anyone would really understand it, but was surprised when most in my group did. It is still untitled.
    Seedling planted in lust
    ripped from me,
    drips from me,
    weeps between my thighs,
    the sin cleansed,
    washed away
    and I am pure again,
    a mutilated Madonna.

    When I take workshops from Paulann Petersen, her springboard sessions give me so much and I come away with so much. There is a way in how she walks you through memories and expanding them. If you have not done one of her workshops I highly recommend it.

  3. Alex Hurst says:

    For me, I think the resistance comes from fear of not living up to the expectations of the work in my head. For years, my excuse was “I’m not developed enough to write the story I want to write, so right now, I’ll just work on getting better”… but now that has become a mantra for not attempting at all. It’s very hard to break that habit, now.

    Sounds like I could have used your workshop!

    • TRISTA says:

      We are all so good at putting obstacles in our own path, aren’t we? Even when they don’t seem like obstacles. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with working to get better before tackling a big project, but then again … how do you know when you’re good enough? When I ran track in high school, I loved track practice but dreaded competition. I could have practiced happily for years without ever actually testing my ability in a real meet. Sounds kind of like your “mantra for not attempting at all.” I related!

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