Don’t Get Stuck On The Sidelines

Sometimes when you start writing, people get uncomfortable about it.

They don’t want to end up as a character on your page, or they’re worried you’ll start digging into stuff they’d rather leave buried. Some people get snarky, others get confrontational, others still will just refuse to engage.

But sometimes, the most uncomfortable person is you.

You know you want to write, you have plenty of ideas about what to write… it’s just the actual writing bit that seems tricky. This is called resistance, and it happens for all kinds of reasons — usually because writing asks us to get comfortable with discomfort, and no one likes the sound of that.

Resistance shows up in all kinds of ways (and Steven Pressfield has written about them a whole lot in The War of Art).

Here are just a few symptoms of resistance, though the possibilities here are legion:

  • Settling in to write, and then thinking, “I’ll just check Facebook real quick”
  • Doing all your housework & life admin before you’re ‘allowed’ to write
  • Researching for the entire block of time you’d allotted for writing
  • Incessantly fiddling with your outline or first little chunk of words
  • Asking everybody else for their opinion about your idea

Let me cut to the chase. None of that will get the thing written.

If you let resistance get in the way, you’ll get stuck on the sidelines for good. Resistance doesn’t just disappear if you wait around long enough: it gets stronger the longer it gets its way.

Even if you don’t know what to write, or you’re deep in a slump, or you’re just tired, there’s always something to write. It could be a line or two — doesn’t matter. Put something down, beat the resistance back a bit, and come back and do the same again tomorrow.

If you want to be a writer, the only requirement is that you write. Not that you publish, not that you market, not that you sell. The only requirement is that you write.