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?