“Why does Resistance yield to our turning pro? Because Resistance is a bully. Resistance has no strength of its own; its power derives entirely from our fear of it. A bully will back down before the runniest twerp who stands his ground.
“The essence of professionalism is the focus upon the work and its demands, while we are doing it, to the exclusion of all else. The ancient Spartans schooled themselves to regard the enemy, any enemy, as nameless and faceless. In other words, they believed that if they did their work, no force on earth could stand against them.“
From Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art
The War of Art: Break Though the Blocks and Win your Inner Creative Battles is one of my all-time favorite guides because of its no-nonsense attitude toward writing. Every page offers tough-love advice on how to break through the barriers that keep us from getting our work done.
“Resistance” — isn’t hard to decode, is it? It’s anything that gets in the way of our creativity — and most of the time it comes down to excuses about why we can’t our work done: we don’t have time, we’re tired, we can’t get published, we don’t have enough experience.
How do we overcome Resistance? We do it “turning pro” — by being professional — by focusing on our work and seeing anything that’s in our way as the enemy. And how to we vanquish the enemies we face every day — whatever they are? By being relentless in our pursuit of our writing goals.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? When we face up to Resistance — whatever wants to keep us from writing — it melts away. Why? Because Resistance really has no strength of its own — it depends on the strength we give it. When we simply focus on our work — on the job at hand — then whatever self-imposed barriers we’ve erected fall away.
“No force” — no enemy, real or imagined — can stand against us if we see ourselves as pros and just keep working every day — what an inspiring jolt of energy this can give us as we all write on!
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