At the time I roughed out this post, twelve hours of unimpeded writing stretched before me. I was slouched in an IKEA armchair, feet propped on a windowsill, my view a boreal forest in the grip of an autumn palette.
“Contentment” is likely the emotion you’d ascribe to one in a position such as mine. Yet my heart was only just settling into a normal rhythm and an uncomfortable layer of sweat negated my morning shower.
What happened was this: for a half-hour, despite my backup system, I couldn’t locate the previous day’s writing—a breakthrough on the work-in-progress which promised to address the main weaknesses found during critique. Once I located the errant file and read it, I discovered it wasn’t the precious boon of my memory.
Further, I was fresh from reading the liquid poetry of another writer’s first draft. Nothing good ever comes from going down the wormhole of comparison, but good luck telling my mind that! So as a familiar cocktail of grief, envy, humiliation and anger sluiced through my veins, I was tempted to blow off the writing session with one of a hundred handy excuses.
Does this in any way sound familiar? I’m betting a few of you can relate. Though the triggers and specific emotions might vary, all creative people endure visits from the Drama Llama.
In other words, we insecure writers are a severely normal species.
There is good news, lest you think that I’m vying for the title of Most Depressing Blog Post Ever. (Or Most Hyperbolic.)
At some point in the past year, I’ve become better at handling such moments of potential derailment. The proof lies within the very existence of this essay, which was a better use of time than a freak-out and silent tantrum, wouldn’t you say? Also, that when I finished penning these lines, I returned to my underdeveloped manuscript and continued drafting fresh words.
How did I get to this new, improved resistance to Resistance? A smidgen of self-knowledge, a pinch of Zen wisdom, and tools cobbled together from various psychological disciplines—the subject of today’s post.