Every writer needs a writing process to conquer resistance to writing. Resistance happens, no matter how many deadlines you have or how much you usually enjoy writing. On some days, you’d rather do anything than write. To avoid writing, you spend an hour decluttering your bedroom closets, or mowing the lawn.
Unfortunately, resistance is not only common, it can also dress itself up in fancy clothes: beware of hunting for reasons for resistance.
Writing process: resistance is common, and dangerous
Why do you experience an overwhelming need to avoid writing? Honestly, it doesn’t matter why you think you resist writing. Who cares? You’re resisting, for whatever reason.
(BTW, telling yourself you MUST learn the source of your resistance is simple procrastination, that is: resistance in disguise. You don’t need to know why.)
Let’s look at some savvy ways to conquer resistance.
1. Recognize resistance and acknowledge it
As we’ve said, resistance can camouflage itself.
Here are some common disguises.
- Convince yourself you need more research;
- Tell yourself you’re too tired;
- Think you need more time: “I’ve only got half an hour. I’ll have more time tomorrow…”
Etc. If you’re not writing and have an excellent reason writing isn’t happening, you’re resisting.
Here’s a quick solution…
2. Start writing. Write a sentence (any sentence)
If you’ve just given yourself an excellent reason you can’t write, write anyway. Pick up your phone and write a sentence in your Notes app. (Or in Drafts, as I do.)
Any sentence will do: write a sentence describing your super-excellent reason for not writing.
This simple but powerful writing process works because you’ve broken through your resistance—with a single sentence. You’ll find yourself writing another sentence, and another.
3. Draw an image of your resistance: you’re accessing your creative self
You don’t need to be an artist to use this easy doodling process. Draw a simple stick figure and a few lines representing your resistance. For example, if you’re tired, create your stick figure with wavy arms and legs and a drooping head.
Then write a sentence. This is another simple process that just works because your creative self “thinks” in images—that is, via your imagination.
4. Visualize yourself writing before you sit down to write
Try this. Before you get out of bed in the morning, see yourself going through your day in your imagination. Imagine yourself writing, and completing projects.
Visualize before you start writing, too.
This process works because you’re using the major tool of resistance (imagination) against itself. If you’ve seen your fingers flying over the keyboard and words on the screen in your imagination, it seems to be hard for resistance to take hold.
5. Build a simple “no thinking” ritual into your day
A ritual becomes automatic. Twyla Tharp, choreographer, dancer, and author of The Creative Habit, says:
“Dancers are totally governed by ritual. It begins with class at 10 am to noon every day. What makes it a ritual is they do it without questioning the need.”
Your ritual can be anything you choose.
Keep it simple, but repeat it for a month or two, until it becomes a habit. You might do five minutes of stretching exercises, make a cup of coffee, then turn on your computer and write a sentence in a current project.
Here’s an article on some very strange writing rituals.
Your writing process: you CAN conquer writing resistance
Learn to recognize resistance. Then deal with it, and write.
You can do it. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.