song in my head — “One Foot Before The Other” by Frank Turner
Some days the words come. They flow from mind to fingertip or pen as easily as a river flows to the sea. The Muse is with us and there’s magic in our bones.
Other days the words are hard to come by. They hide in dark shadows just on the edge of our vision; they gang up on us and overwhelm us until we can’t make sense of them. On days like these, we might think we’ll never write again.
The great Steven Pressfield would call this feeling “Resistance.”
In the opening of his masterful creative manifesto, The War of Art, Pressfield says:
“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”
But are you a real writer or a wannabe?
If you’re a real writer then do the hard part. Sit down to write.
This doesn’t always mean the words will arrive, but it means the intention to write has. Struggling with the work—thinking of it, pressing through it, mulling it over—is the valuable work of a writer, too. It’s not just words on the page. It’s butt in the seat and story in the head. It’s exploring. It’s discovery. It’s wrestling with yourself and the material, battling with the Muse and the forces of Resistance. If you run from it, you’re lost. But if you face it, if your intentional, you’re doing the work.
So are you intentional with your writing time whether the words are there or not? Good. You’re being persistent. And Resistance hates persistence.