At my local RWA chapter’s Christmas party last month (yes, it was only last month), the book exchange was a mixed blessing for me. One of my colleagues received a book he had read and kept a copy of, so he gave me the book and offered to trade with the one I chose. He already had and read that one too.
The first one he rejected is the one that is the subject of this piece.
January is the time of year we pressure ourselves to make changes. So, when I
finished reading The War of Art I was in the right frame of mind to take on the
premise that Steven Pressfield eloquently presents.
With due diligence, I set my goals and leapt into the new year (which also
happens to be a Leap Year but no pun intended there) with renewed determination.
Pressfield’s major premise is that we are at war with ourselves in the form of
resistance to our creative goals.
I think we can all raise our hands when we’re honest about how easily we slip
into some self-defeating behaviors.
Chief among my self-sabotaging activity is Procrastination.
I have another name for it: Displacement Activity. I use those two words as a
Category on one of my blogs to disguise the truth behind them. There are ways
and ways to NOT write. Blogging is just one. Some call it a necessary
marketing/promoting/branding effort. As may be, but it is also a substitute for
“real writing”. While I’m blogging, I am satisfying that niggling drive to put
Another of my “resistance” efforts is to Prioritize. This
always sounds as though I’m truly setting forth on a planned mission but the
items on the list of Things To Do aren’t always about what is necessary to do
for my work: writing. I prioritize interesting activities that I can excuse as
creative or enhancing my creative drive, freeing my creative brain cells,
structuring my creative efforts to be more efficient.
And there is always Planning which brings me to the second
book of the Secret Book Elf tome I have read over the past few days, K M
Weiland’s outling your NOVEL: Map Your Way to Success. In all my
writing life, I have never “planned” a book. I’m one of those: “put some words
on the page and see what happens next” writers. But I see Weiland’s point and
questioned myself about my “process” (another P but not as daunting). The other
P word that is used for those of us who “see what happens” is Pantsers – flying
by the seat of your pants – I prefer the O word that Ian McEwan calls his
I attended many business seminars in another life. We said it this way: Those
who fail to plan, plan to fail. We also had a different set of daunting Ps but
the messages are the same: Get to Work and Don’t Give Up.