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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.

If You Love to Write, Write!


Last time, I gave you a Radical Solution to Resistance, aka don’t do what you don’t want to do, as it applies to exercise. To effectively apply a Radical Solution to Writing Resistance, you need to know exactly what it is you don’t want to do. It’s probably something you associate with writing, not the writing itself. If you REALLY didn’t want to write at all, you wouldn’t read this blog.

So what exactly are you resisting or avoiding? What comes along with writing that you really don’t want?

Rejection is one of the most common fears behind resistance, so let’s start there. Applying the “Do what you love and love what you do” principle and the corollary “Don’t do what you don’t love,” yields this bit of wisdom: If you don’t want to be rejected, don’t reject yourself.

That’s right,  stop rejecting yourself. Avoiding your writing is the ultimate rejection. It’s saying “My writing doesn’t stand even the tiniest chance of not being rejected, so I just won’t write.”

Maybe it’s other people’s displeasure you want to avoid. So if you don’t want to be rejected by others, don’t let them reject you. Don’t show them your writing. More importantly, stop looking for their approval. If you don’t care if someone approves of you or not, their rejection or disinterest doesn’t matter either.

This might sound difficult, but you do it all the time. Anyone in the political party you’re not in disapproves of what you think and do, but that doesn’t stop you from believing what you believe.

Most of the people in the world will neither care about nor like what you write. So what? Most of the people in the world don’t care about or don’t like what any writer, artist/performer or any other person creates. If we let that stop us, no one would ever write again.

We write for the tiny percentage of the world who might appreciate what we write. And even more, we write for ourselves: to figure out what we think, to solve a puzzle, to entertain ourselves, and so on.

If you don’t want to be rejected by people you know and respect, don’t show them your writing – at first. Wait until you have enough confidence in the writing that you’re willing to risk, even want to risk, the possibility those people won’t like it in exchange for the possibility that they may enjoy or even love it. And the only way they can love your writing is if you love it first.

We avoid our writing, the very thing we love, because we’ve associated writing with things we want to avoid. Instead of resisting our writing, let’s avoid the other things. Break the association between what you really don’t like (rejection, imperfection, lack of inspiration, etc.) and what you really love (writing). Remind yourself that all you’re doing now is playing around with words, ideas and images that intrigue you. Now is not the time to show your writing to others or judge your writing.

Just do what you love – write. Later you can decide IF you want to risk rejection or some other unpleasantness that you previously associated with writing. Sometimes you choose to do the unpleasant things for the sake of who or what you love (what I’ll call the Poop Principle in a next couple of posts). But you don’t have to.

If you can honestly say, “All I’m doing right now is what I love,” you are applying the Radical Solution to Resistance.

Please comment on what you want to avoid. If you figured out how to avoid that without simultaneously blocking your writing, please tell us that too.

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  1. Poop Principle Prevents Writer’s Block « The Bane of Your Resistance - November 1, 2012

    […] wisdom of the “Do What You Love, Love What You Do” principle needs to be complimented by the awareness that sometimes you have to do what you […]

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