17 Steps to Beating Resistance

Keeping the themes of “The War of Art” (by Stephen Pressfield) going one more day, let me ask you this: how did the battle with Resistance go today?

Here’s how it went for me, and the 17 steps I took (or that I felt myself taking?  Or that someone gave me the strength take?  Or…) to keep my project going.

  1. Woke up with the following forms of Resistance sitting on my chest: jealousy, ambition, self-deprecation, doubt, fear, defeatism, and why-don’t-you-just-give-it-up-now-itis.
  2. Waited, sitting in bed, staring at my computer screen, feeling the weight of ONE specific problem in my current project.  It felt like Mt. Everest, and I feel barely capable of driving up Queen Anne Hill.
  3. Prayed.  But note: I didn’t yet name those things sitting on my chest.
  4. Got out of bed.  One step, another step, and so on.
  5. Got coffee: important step.
  6. Went to my work space, moved letters and words around in some of the character files, trying to sneak up on the whole thing.
  7. Left my house with Anjie and headed toward Sea-Tac to pick up Amy, all the while naming out loud some of those Resistance guys from when I first woke up.
  8. Got coffee at coffee shop (Anjie worked until time to get Amy); important step.
  9. Reached out to a couple of people describing the exact nature of the problem. (As well as subjecting them to my end-of-my-life-as-an-artist whining.)
  10. Went to work, applying what I knew, hunting down clues, places of entry, places to begin.
  11. Heard back from a couple of friends.  I accepted their feedback, and each of them had at least one killer idea to help dislodge the logjam.
  12. Went back to work, drilling deep into the character that was causing me fits, and discovered, “WOW!  This is an interesting person I’m trying to write here!”
  13. Decided I wouldn’t end my life as a writer, and continued pounding away.
  14. Was again kind to the people in my life.
  15. Prayed, said thanks.
  16. Took that Mt. Everest hill, and found it really was about the size of Queen Anne, which isn’t small, but it’s not Everest.
  17. Tomorrow, I’ll keep this ground, and take some more.

I’m joking a little, and a little not.   Maybe the list is smaller.  Maybe 2. and 3. should be reversed, but here it is succinctly.

  1. Wake up
  2. Wait
  3. Pray
  4. Take Sustenance
  5. Go to Work
  6. Name the Enemy 
  7. Go Where You Have to Go
  8. Reach Out to Allies
  9. Apply What You Know
  10. Hunt for Clues
  11. Accept Feedback
  12. Drill Deep into the Problem
  13. Make the Decision to Keep Going
  14. Be Kind
  15. Pray Your Thanks
  16. Take the Ground You Need
  17. Give Tomorrow”s Resistance Fair Warning That You’re Taking More Ground Tomorrow.

One thing I could have done, that I’ll do next time and let you know.  After 6., I could have simply shown the enemy the door, and said, with great heart and sincerity, “Get out!”

Spiritual implications?

Do the work…they’ll find you…

5 Comments

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  1. Wow. Your today and my last Saturday look VERY similar. Thanks for writing to let me know I’m not alone in my life-as-actor crises.

  2. Sarah Stillion June 5, 2011 — 11:35 pm

    Thank you for writing this for all of us. It is encouraging to know you aren’t alone in this constant struggle (human) and reminded you need to know you aren’t alone every (spiritual). I’m printing this to go on my writer’s wall of encouragement to remind me to pray more whine less and no matter what I feel keep working most of all!

    • Sarah,

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s not easy to get through all this stuff, is it? Have you read Pressman’s book, “The War of Art?” It’s the book that’s really jumpstarted my thinking on all this.

      Keep going!

      Jeff

  3. Sarah Stillion June 5, 2011 — 11:36 pm

    Ah, typos—that should be “alone ever”, but you knew that.(:

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