Monday, August 9, 2010

Resistance is Futile


Introducing a wonderful new feature here at the Daily Dose with the arrival of the Bloody Pen Sisterhood. These lovely ladies are my critique partners and will be blogging from time to time on what they are writing, reading, thinking or just feeling. Today's introductory blog is from the fabulous Kim Quinton. She's a terrific writer and a soon-to-be-published author with so many great stories to tell!

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is futile… Yeah yeah yeah, we all know where that’s from. Maybe I’m dating myself!?

Resistance took on a whole new meaning for me over the last several weeks. I was lucky enough, as an aspiring writer, to spend a wonderful week in at the RWA national conference in Orlando. It was exhausting, overwhelming, invigorating, inspiring, helpful, intimidating, educational and fun. Yes, a conference can be all of those things at the same dang time.

One of the first workshops I attended was given by a wonderfully generous author, Colleen Thompson, titled How to Finish The Damned Book. I thought it would be a good way to kick off my week since I am currently in the middle of a manuscript and have another waiting to be edited. I didn’t expect an epiphany moment. There was the usual goal setting strategies, always helpful, nothing new. Then she went off on a bit of a tangent about Resistance. Other people might call it making excuses to not get your stuff done, but it’s more. Hearing it spoken focused me in on the problem. And it was like “Ahhhh Yes, resistance... I know it well..” It was not a new concept, but one I had struggled with on major projects before. I can now put a name to it and recognize my behavior for what it actually is.

I can now recognize the lies I tell myself to stay in my safe zone. I can’t possibly write twenty pages a day and take care of two young kids at home. Or I can’t possible adhere to a strict diet because I won’t have the energy to keep up with everything I need to do. I can’t… I can’t… because.. because.. because….

There are dozens of tiny lies I tell myself every day. Once you identify that as your minds’ resistance to change or stepping out of your comfort zone, however compelling the “reasons” it throws at you, the power behind them shifts. Once I recognized where my resistance was embedded, I got real with myself. I started recognizing the lies and telling myself the truth. For me it stemmed from a fear of failure coupled with a fear of success. I know! What did I do to deserve that kind of special limbo?

It’s much safer to stay the aspiring writer that is always editing and never submitting, or always going to workshops and learning the craft but never completing a manuscript. If I spend the time it takes to polish this manuscript, I’ll have to take time away from my kids. That’s a real hard one to take. Mommy guilt is especially effective. But hey, since Nora can say it, so can I, it’s all bullshit.

It’s not any harder or easier for anyone else. Everyone has complications, issues and obligations. I know my family and my life and writing can and does fit in. I can finally move on and make those goals and know I can keep them. Not just with my writing, but with every other aspect of my life.

Where is your resistance embedded? What lies does your mind tell you? Can you identify your truth?



11 comments:

  1. Awesome post, Kim! Learning to identify my resistance was a tough lesson for me, and it's one I still have to remind myself to face, but it does get easier. And facing the hard truths, while uncomfortable, makes us happier.

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  2. Resistence...I never thought of it that way, but you're right. *sigh* Dammit. My fear is in working on a project, but knowing (somehow) that it isn't as good as the next one is going to be. I end up slapping up some words just to get it over with and move to the next story which is going to be THE. BEST. EVER. And the cycle happens again. I thought I'd conquered this little problem when I finished my first manuscript...then my 2nd, then my 3rd, but staring at my 4th I'm like "Dude-my muse is named Dude- Dude this sucks."

    I'll get around it. I did it before, I just need to do it again. But thanks for helping me pinpoint exactly where I'm faltering. Great post!

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  3. Man, did I need this today, Kim. Thanks for posting. Gotta finish the last chapters and hit send. I don't know what my resistence is...but I'm going to conquor it !!

    ~~Angi

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  4. Thanks Nikki! Yes, I'm still working on mine too- It sneaks up on me like when I find myself doing "busy work" or other unnecessary things because I'm avoiding the "hard" thing waiting for me- writing the middle of this dang WIP.....

    Hi Danica! Hope your trip home was easy. I really enjoyed meeting you and will be joining FF&P soon. Yep, resistance can hide in some really hard to reach corners, not the least of which is perfectionism. Colleen hit on that too. You don't think of it as resistance but it's a safety net to keep you from doing that thing that scares you or makes you uncomfortable. Thanks for commenting!

    Hey Angi- hang in there! The light at the end is getting brighter every day! I hope you can tell me that book three is easier than one or two was :)

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  5. Hey Kim,

    Great post. You may have been channeling me when you wrote it. I think up pretty much the same excuses.

    My biggest thing with finishing my current WIP is because I don't hear the characters talking to me, letting me know what is going on. Yet when I sit down at my appointed time to write, I can get the scene out and afterwards, think of some things to layer in and finish it off. DOH!

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  6. HI Linda,

    Sounds to me like you have figured a way around your resistance. The appointed time keeps you from listening to whatever might keep you away from sitting down and banging out the scene. For me, Just starting is the hardest part. Adhering to that appointed time because I think I just don't have it in me today, don't know where the story is going etc... The breakthrough comes when I actually just say WTH, I'm sitting and typing even if it's just slush....

    Thanks for commenting!

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  7. I feel like you wrote this post especially for me. It is sooo where i have been at for way too long. Fear of failure coupled with fear of success and using every excuse in the book to avoid having to face those fears. Thanks, Kim. This post was definietley a much needed wake up call.

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  8. Hi Kim, great points. I can sit and I crank out the words. I think I've overcome most of my resistances, now I just have to push past the fact that I can't plot to save my life. :) Working on that one, though.

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  9. Hi Regina!
    Nice to know you are not alone in this crazy venture! After years of wishing I finally gave myself the permission to dedicate some real time and effort to pursuing my dream. We can work on our fears together :) I have to know what happens with the rest of your story!
    Thanks for commenting.

    Hey Jen!
    Good for you! There was another great workshop on Pantsers by Kathleen Baldwin. I missed her at NTRWA- great inspiration! I bet she'd have some pointers for you if you need them??

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  10. My resistance is seeking perfection (an impossible goal of course). I don't want to move on to the next chapter until the one I'm working on is PERFECT. And that's totally an excuse.

    Then once I do finish a manuscript, I have this resistance to starting the next one (because I write with sequels in mind)and I think--why write a connected book if the first one hasn't sold yet? But that's an excuse too, lol.

    Thanks for the post!

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  11. Well put... I am sure this is an obstacle for most writers. Yes, my hand is up as one of them. Great job on this post! Way to relate (Dang it)

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