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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Welcome to the Bane of Your Resistance

3d-green-guy-with-sword-and-writingGrowing up with “Bane” as my last name, I’ve heard more references to “the bane of my existence” than I can count. That’s right, my last name means “death, doom, destruction,” and comes from the Old English “bana” which means “slayer.” Fortunately (I guess) the clichéd use of the phrase ‘bane of my existence” has reduced the connotation of “bane” to merely “annoying or unpleasant.”


Either way – doom or annoyance – I don’t particularly want to be the bane of anyone’s existence.


But I am completely willing and well qualified to be the Bane of Your Resistance! I’m ready, willing and able to help you slay the writer’s resistance that has delayed or derailed your writing. 


In 20 years of teaching and coaching writers, I’ve worked with a lot of writers who can’t understand why they resist doing the very thing they love most: writing. Writers at all levels and in all genres struggle with resistance in some way, at some time.


Writer’s block is just one form of resistance. Resistance can show up as:

  • procrastinating
  • demanding perfection
  • looking for answers to plot or structure problems in the refrigerator
  • allowing yourself to be distracted or inventing distractions
  • assuming you must have at least two or three hours to write
  • keeping yourself so busy there’s no time to write
  • being unable to keep your butt in the chair
  • vowing to write just as soon as you get your sock drawer sorted
  • deciding to tweet on Twitter instead of working on your poetry or screenplay.  


I’ve researched creativity, creative process, resistance, writer’s block, Jung’s concept of the shadow and, most recently, neuroscience and neuroplasticity searching for answers to questions like “Why is it so hard to do what I love to do? Why do I have so many excuses and ways to avoid my writing? And what can I do to get back to my writing again?”

That’s what I intend to explore in this blog:

  • What is writing resistance?
  • What forms does resistance take?
  • How does it disguise itself?
  • What can we do to get around resistance and get back to writing?

I’ll share what I’ve learned in my research (there are amazing implications from neurology) and I want to open the discussion to all writers. 

If you’re a writer – of novels, short stories, young adult novels, children’s literature, poetry, memoir, creative nonfiction, personal essays, plays, screenplays, a blog, travel writing, nonfiction, magazine features, graphic novels, ad copy, technical writing, business writing or some other form – I want to hear from you!Please join the conversation!

Please send a response to any of these questions, ask your own questions or make your own observations about writing resistance.

  • How does writing resistance show up in your life?
  • How does resistance challenge you?
  • Does it offer any benefits?
  • What do you struggle most with?
  • What have you figured out about resistance?
  • What works for you?


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7 Comments on “Welcome to the Bane of Your Resistance”

  1. Mary Emmeck May 15, 2009 at 4:21 am #

    Hi Roseann. I realized after reading your article that maybe just writing anything is better than nothing. I took your writing resistance class last summer and I cannot believe an entire year has gone by! Wow I have so many ideas why limit myself by my perfectionistic tendancies to write a book. Just write. I have a lot of ideas for articles.


    • rosannebane May 15, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

      Yes, please write today. You can always figure out how to ‘perfect’ the writing and what to do with it later – turn it into a book chapter, revise it and slant it as an article, start your own blog…
      The one sure thing about resistance is that it’s always around in one form or another, which is why it’s so important to not wait to write. What matters most is that you show up for your writing on a regular basis. Remember the Product Time commitment we talked about in class – just 10 or 15 minutes a day is all it takes.


  2. Barbara Tuttle April 25, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    Just want to say I’m so glad you’re doing this blog, and I love the name of it! I was in your Writers’ Resistance class last summer, and it was good to see this in my email box.

    My resistance takes many of the forms you described: procrastination, thinking I’ll wait till I have some big block of time that rarely comes — and on the rare occasion it does, that big block of time looks pretty scary! Sometimes I think it works better for me to just schedule 15-minute blocks. They’re less daunting. Amazing what can get done in that time, and by the end of it, I’ve gotten cranked up enough that I can leave off at a point where there’s some momentum, and it’ll be easier to pick up again.

    Other forms of resistance I find are perfectionism and also feeling like I have to have “permission” from some imaginary writer “authorities” who tell me my work is “good enough” and therefore worth doing”: external validation, I guess.


    • rosannebane April 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

      Hi Barbara,
      Thanks for reminding me that I want to write a post about the Magic 15 Minutes.
      I hadn’t thought about waiting for external validation as a form of resistance, but it makes sense. It’s a particularly nasty form, too, because if you don’t write (because you’re waiting for validation) you don’t have writing for anyone to validate…
      Keep showing for your 15 minutes, Barbara! Your writing is worth it, you’re worth it, and the world is a better place when we honor our commitments.


  3. Sharron Stockhausen April 25, 2009 at 12:19 am #

    Congratulations on your new blog! I subscribed and look forward to your posts.


  4. Sarah Irene Dye April 24, 2009 at 10:52 pm #

    What I struggle with most is the idea that my writing doesn’t matter and that I don’t have enough material to write a good memoir or anecdote (those are the mediums that seem to have chosen me). I think that my life just hasn’t been interesting enough to yield enough funny stories to fill a story or a book.

    One thing that helps is when people remind me that folks like Garrison Keillor, etc., make wonderful stories out of very every day occurrences, and that the art is in the telling, not in what actually happens to you.


    • rosannebane April 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

      Sarah, your writing does matter. We all contribute a little to whole and if we don’t do our part, the whole is diminished. Congrats on having supportive people in your life and on having the wisdom to listen to them.


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