To my knowledge, no one has ever claimed that the life of a writer is easy. Not without a heavy dose of sarcasm. Any process that involves the production of creativity on demand will mess with your head.
As writers, we deal with Resistance on a regular basis. And just when you think you’ve got it beat and you settle down for a long winter’s nap, the devious imp sneaks in and twirls a feather under your nose. He whispers nasty things in your kerchief-covered ears until you fly to the window and throw up the sash (too much sash is notoriously bad for the digestion).
Does anyone else feel a poem coming on?
I did, and here’s what came out.
When Resistance comes and brings a friend
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the site
Not a writer was resting, we were trying to write!
Our readers left hanging by stories unfinished
Are now looking forward with hope undiminished
While others are snuggling mid blankets and sheets
We’re struggling with chapters and crises and beats
And just when we think we’ve hammered it out
We lay down our heads, then in creeps the doubt
So we spring from our beds to take a new tack
A fresh concept comes and we give it a crack
When what to our blundering brains should appear—
The Resistance black fairy and the craft bombardier
With cold, evil cackles they blast and they slice
Dismantling all our ideas in a trice
More deadly than quicksand for sinking a writer
Relinquish your nice guy and call forth your fighter!
Now, courage! Now, fancy! Now vision and wit!
On, daydream! On, brainstorm! On, precision and grit!
To the top of commitment, with a pledge to enthrall
Type away! Type away! Type away all!
Blown to the sky like a rope of black smoke
As angels and mysteries and Muse we invoke
Learning to keep Resistance at bay,
Not easy to do, but worth what we pay
And seizing hold of creativity’s star
We ride through the night to that vision afar
Where the words that we write match the dreams in our heads
And we don’t even care we’ve forsaken our beds
It’s the power of story that bids us keep going
That keeps our pens moving, our minds overflowing
And I wish for each writer most exquisite delight
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good fight!
What the pros say
When you address Resistance this holiday season, and throughout your writer’s life, take these nuggets of wisdom with you:
“The professional knows that Resistance is like a telemarketer; if you so much as say hello, you’re finished. The pro doesn’t even pick up the phone. He stays at work.”
“Dramatic characters, inventive plotlines, exciting and intense situations are not achieved through accident or ‘good luck.’ The writers of great books zealously learn the craft of their profession so they can release the power and depth of their imagination and experience.”
“Resistance hates it when we turn pro.”
Be ready for Resistance; it comes to us all. And the best way to fight it is to be professional, learn the craft, and never give up.
How about you? Have a great tip for fighting Resistance? Share it with us in the comments section.
In my last post, I shared Ray Bradbury’s injunction that writers should read poetry every day. We gain a lot by doing that, and trying your hand at writing poetry does a lot of good, too. I had so much fun writing my Christmas poem that I’d like to invite you to practice your writing skills with a poem of your own.
It could be a holiday poem, or a dream for warm weather. Or make it really therapeutic and write about the challenges of writing. Whatever you do, have fun and if Resistance calls, don’t even pick up the phone.
Write for fifteen minutes and when you’re finished, share your work in the comments section. And if you post, be sure to provide feedback for your fellow writers!