Writing Through Resistance
The Voices in My Head
With all the different responsibilities and opportunities vying for my attention, it can be a challenging process to sit down and write. I (sort of) commit to a daily practice of writing in order to get my first draft done. Some days, it proves to be difficult to show up for myself and honor my word. After I miss a couple of days, I beat myself down even further. Thus begins the theatrical show featuring the voices in my head.
On a bright sunny day, Sana thinks about when she’ll sit down to write. It’s been two days since she wasn’t able to pen some words down for her manuscript. When the kids start playing, she finally sits down to get her writing muscles working again. Before she starts, voices emerge from deep within and she tunes in to find out what conversation is taking place.
Taskmaster: You should just quit. Obviously this is not important enough for you. If it was, you’d work on it daily.
Compassionate: I’m working on it daily. I don’t have words down everyday, but I do think about it.
Taskmaster: Psssh…you don’t write words every single day.
Complainer: She would if she got more help around here. The minute she starts writing, someone needs a snack or needs their butt to be wiped. Who can work under these conditions?
Taskmaster: Excuses excuses…blah blah blah. Once the kids are independent, it will be some other excuse.
Compassionate: OK. Maybe we are being a little too hard on ourselves here. We are still learning how to write alongside other daily life responsibilities.
Complainer: Yeah. Well… if only your husband helped around a bit more. The division of house work is very skewed. It’s time we have a conversation.
Taskmaster: Yeah. Another thing to do…you best believe it will never get done. Just quit and go back to your stupid unworthy life.
Compassionate: You’ve been on my case for the past two weeks, Taskmaster. Seriously, it’s not helping me at all.
Taskmaster: Nothing can help you at this point.
Complainer: If only we could control everyone and everything around us. Why won’t they listen? If they’d listen and do exactly as we say, we can do everything and write.
Taskmaster: If only pigs flew…there you go building a castle in the sky again.
Complainer: I will call a friend and vent about how my life is miserable and people around me won’t listen. Is it even possible to write with three kids? Is it possible to manage a house while my husband has night duty and because of that has odd sleeping hours? And my babysitter has turned part time now. The whole world is against me!
Taskmaster: Yup…that’s what needs to be done. Waste more time yapping.
Complainer: It’s not yapping. We are trying to be seen and heard and validated for how we feel. If I get that out of our system, we’ll get working again.
Taskmaster: It’s so freaking hard to maintain you. There you go being all psychological again. How hard is it to just follow through on your own word? You said you’d write, so just write. It’s not rocket science.
Complainer: Yeah, but have you seen how difficult it is? We barely get enough energy by the end of the day to sit down and write. By the way, where’s Compassionate Sana? Is she crying again?
Taskmaster: Probably somewhere avoiding responsibility.
Compassionate: You guys done? I wrote my daily* while you were yapping.
Sana looked at what she wrote and was quite pleased. It felt as if the rust was coming off and she was off to a great start. The voices kept talking and she kept writing. Silly words came out peppered with adverbs and interjections, but Sana kept flowing and writing. Soon enough, she had a mess of a thousand words.
Do your gremlins come out when you are finally about to sit down and write? What voices do you hear during your creative practice?
*daily: the work done on a day to day basis in your creative practice