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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.

Five Reasons to Thank Your Resistance to Writing

writer-passionHow could you possibly be grateful for feeling resistance to your writing?

1.  Resistance Reveals Your Passion

A student in my Writer’s Resistance class confessed “I thought I must really not want to be a writer since I’m not writing.” I reassured her that her resistance was a sign that she did want to write. If she didn’t want to write, she wouldn’t be in class. If she didn’t want to write, she wouldn’t feel less resistant, she’d feel indifferent. 

We don’t have resistance to things we’re not interested in.

For example, I have no resistance around climbing Mt. Everest. I’m not torn between wanting to climb Everest and not being able to; I just don’t care. I climbed Tablerock Mountain in North Carolina when I was a 16-year-old participant at Outward Bound. I continued rock climbing for a couple of years after that because I worked at a store that sold rock-climbing and mountaineering equipment and my mentor and co-workers all climbed. Then I realized I didn’t really like heights and decided not to do it anymore. I have no regrets because I have no interest.

No resistance means no passion.  

2.  Resistance Keeps You Interested — and Interesting

We experience resistance when the limbic system (aka emotional brain) recognizes a potential threat. Creative risk will trigger resistance, but creative risk is essential to creative reward.

bored-canstockphoto5089712-2If there wasn’t some risk, some challenge, some puzzle to solve, you’d be bored with your writing. Bored writer = boring writing = bored readers who just disappear.

You can easily solve a jigsaw puzzle designed for a 5-year-old, but who cares? The degree of difficulty in solving the creative puzzle determines the degree of satisfaction in figuring out how it all fits together. Resistance is an essential part of creative fulfillment.

3.  Resistance Stores Energy

When you feel resistance to writing, you pour energy into avoiding your writing. Which can seem like a waste. It’s not.

As soon as you learn how to respond to your resistance, there is a tremendous release of energy. This stored energy can propel you to new heights or in new directions and sustain your writing for days, even weeks.

4.  Resistance Makes You Stronger

kites-against-wind-resistance-makes-you-strongerThe only way to get a stronger body is to challenge your body just slightly past your limits, then rest. The muscles that are damaged by exercise grow stronger when they repair themselves.

The only way to get stronger as a writer is to challenge yourself to write just slightly past your limits, then let the writing rest for a while, maybe get a little feedback (just make sure it’s the right kind of feedback) and then “repair” the writing.

What do you feel before and as you write past your limits? Resistance, of course.

5.  Resistance Is Natural

Resistance is normal. Every writer experiences resistance at some time. What matters is not whether you experience resistance (you will); it’s what you do with your resistance. You’re never going to be free of resistance (unless you’re writing the equivalent of a jigsaw puzzle for a 5-year-old), so embrace resistance as a natural part of your writing life.

39205105 - (sarcoramphus papa) king vulture in flightResistance is like a vulture. Vultures aren’t pretty, but they are an essential player in the ecosystem. They deserve a place in the natural world just like all the other birds. You’ll never want a pet vulture, but when you learn to appreciate their purpose, you can see a kind of strength, grace and beauty in them.

Likewise, you probably won’t jump up and down for joy the next time you feel writer’s resistance, but you can learn to appreciate its purpose and learn to respond to it with your own strength, grace and beauty.

What gifts has resistance given you?


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3 Comments on “Five Reasons to Thank Your Resistance to Writing”

  1. Jan Bulawan November 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    Aloha Rosanne,

    I want to say Thank You for helping me push past my resistance to finish a short story. Small step, but I won, and want to win again. Onward!

    I am Thankful for your blog and all your words of wisdom. You hold me up so I can take wing.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Jan B.


    Liked by 1 person

    • rosannebane November 30, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      Aloha Jan B.
      Thank you for your message — you brightened my day when I read it the first time and now again as I’m responding to comments. Holding writers so they can take wing is a big part of my mission.
      And let me also say that you are the one doing the work — the one who shows up and pushes through resistance. Congratulations on finishing your short story — I suspect it will be one of many. You definitely won! I’m delighted to hear you celebrate this success.
      We’re both moving onward. Cheers!



  1. Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 01-19-2017 | The Author Chronicles - January 19, 2017

    […] Writing can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Chandler Baker explains how to revive your writer’s soul, Roz Morris reminds us not to neglect our reading, and Roseanne Bane lists 5 reasons to thank your resistance to writing. […]


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