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The One Word that Defines Who We Are and What We Write (or don’t write)


Humans who write are not like other people.

I’m not talking about people who want to write, but don’t actually do it. I’m talking about people who actually write. People who make it a habit to sit down on a regular basis and face the fears that come with creating something, from nothing.

And whether you’re an author or blogger or some other type of online entrepreneur who has to write to keep your business going, there is one thing that binds us all together – one word that forces us to face defining moments over and over again – in our life and in our writing.

15/52 "haywire"And that word is Resistance.

Most people cave into resistance most of the time is hits. And even when we’re not aware of it, resistance enters our lives every single day, multiple times. Which means most people make it a habit to let resistance define who they are as human beings, what they accomplish, and what kind of life they have.

Resistance keeps them from being all of who and what they truly could, should be.

Resistance keeps them from breaking free from what everyone else is doing to claim their rightful place as a unique contributor of the world.

As writers we are doubly cursed blessed because we hit resistance in our daily living AND in our daily writing.

How Resistance is Defining You

I’ve never met a writer who didn’t hit some form of resistance when they write. But whether or not that resistance is a 2 second blip on your screen or an all day, or week, or yearly affair with not getting your work done – that is all up to you.

The very act of writing gives you extra opportunity to change a lifelong habit of giving into resistance into a habit of making your life everything it can be because you are not giving into resistance.

When I wrote my first few books, and then a couple more (as of today I’ve written 9 books), would-be writers were always very interested and whether we were at a social event, or business gathering, or just happened to cross paths, they always said the same thing:

“I’m writing a book.”

And I would say, “Cool. Tell me about it.”

And they would launch into the fascinating story about their story, with intricate plot points, vivid characters, awesome storyline.

And then I would tell them it sounds great and ask the dreaded question:

“How much have you written?”

That’s when the blank stare would always come in.

“Um, well, I haven’t really written much but I’m going to.”

And then 90% of the time they would ask about getting published and if I had tips etc. Then invariably they would ask if I could help them get published when they finished writing it.

Long ago this used to scare me. I was afraid if I said yes, I’d have to spend a boatload of time helping every not yet published novelist and frankly, I was too busy with my own writing to do that. So, I’d give some vague answer and recommend a couple books that would help them because I do like to be helpful but I don’t want to spend all my time doing other people’s work.

Now after more years in the field I don’t hedge my response at all. I don’t recommend books or say sorry I’m too busy. I say this:

“Yes, I’d love to help you get published. Send me the book when it’s done and I’ll help you edit it and if you’re interested in self-publishing (which I’m all for these days) I’ll help you do that. Once we have a final edited version we can have it for sale within 2 weeks.”

Scary, right? This could lead me down a path of OMG, how in the hell am I going to get my own work done now that I’m spending all my time helping virgin book writers?

But in truth, I have no hesitation saying this.


Because I know that resistance will beat them every time and they won’t write that awesome story. Ever.

Do you know how many novels I’ve had to help wanna be writers publish since I started saying, sure, send it to me.

ZERO. None. Nada. Zip.

Wow. I’ve been asked that question at least a couple hundred times in the last 10 years and NEVER had to follow through.

Not good statistics.

So here it is – if you can make a habit of not letting resistance stop you, day in and day out, you will absolutely succeed as a writer.  I guarantee it. Tweet This

What does Resistance feel like to writers?

In “The War of Art” Steven Pressfield writes:

(Resistance feels like:) First unhappiness. We feel like hell. A low-grade misery pervades everything. We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the source. We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party. We feel unloved and unlovable. We’re disgusted. We hate our lives. We hate ourselves.

He goes on to talk about the fact that left to roam free resistance becomes depression and dysfunction. He also talks about that fact that we live in a consumer culture that’s seeking to make a profit on this. And they do. Everything is working to support resistance.

And this is particularly harsh for writers because writers who don’t write are not happy and they don’t have happy lives. Period.

The Antidote to Resistance

The longer you’ve gone with letting resistance win, the harder it is to turn that tide.

And truly the only way to overcome resistance, to create a new habit of taking control of yourself and your writing, is to actually do it.

I’m sorry about that. I wanted to give you a 10 step plan but here is reality:

  • Don’t go on a writing retreat.
  • Don’t meditate longer.
  • Don’t take classes.
  • Don’t spend hours surfing the net.
  • Don’t do anything that is not actually sitting down right now and writing.

Just write. Anything and everything. Stop letting resistance define who you are and what you write (or don’t write).

Do that every day and you will succeed. With your writing AND your life.

image Creative Commons License Porsche Brosseau via Compfight

About the author: Karen, zencopy creator, is a top 10 bestselling amazon author, creativity coach, and an online content specialist with a masters in psychology and passion for learning and teaching new topics.

6 comments… add one

  • “Just write. Anything and everything. Stop letting resistance define who you are and what you write (or don’t write).”

    I am doing this and it’s beginning to work. Thanks, Karen.
    Ruth Clark recently posted..7 Things To Look For In A Mentor or Guide

  • Cynthia

    Thank you for this article! I suffered from this ressistance complex for a long time before I met someone who had the same problem as me and I decided to break the habit. Will share this!

    • You’re welcome, Cynthia. Resistance is so pervasive and has so many layers it seems so easy to not see – for all of us all the time. Glad you broke the habit – would love to hear some of how you did that.

  • Terrific summary of ‘the beast.’ You are soooo right. Just get started.
    I’ve written and self-published one book..and have loads of content ready for another. I’ve just organized my ‘writing space’ so that I can easily reach for the resources (articles, books, websites). Can feel the resistance growing as I get ready…but I also feel the excitement of finally getting down to it. Thanks to you, I’ll spend 2 hrs today writing.
    And tomorrow, and the day after that.

    • That’s awesome Marguerite! I guess the good thing is, the beast does lose some of it’s power over time. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. Write on!