It has been months since I picked up a pen or opened my computer with the purpose of writing. It isn't as though the thought hadn't crossed my mind, if anything, it lurked quite vividly in the forefront while I actively pushed it away. I cannot describe with certainty whether it was a fear of beginning, a fear of finishing something, or just a fear that I had nothing important to say, no value to add to anyone, anywhere. Either way, I kept putting it off.
Perhaps the problem lies in how well I can disassociate myself from the idea of being a writer. I used to do that with my art as well, dismissing myself with self-proclaimed labels like doodler, sketcher, or when I didn't want the attention, just as someone who enjoys the act of drawing. And so, I killed a passion by pushing any who were interested in my work away until no one took me seriously. With writing, it's different because I am distancing myself from myself. I have been my own worse enemy. Instead of going out on a limb and just writing, refocusing my attention on helping friends manage the pursuit of their dreams became the obsession. It worked for a while but, passions have a way of reminding you that you are not doing the thing you're supposed to be doing.
One morning I was working through emails at the office and my hands just stopped typing. I stared at the dual monitors scanning the workload, the emails, the administrative duties, and the meaninglessness of it all. I was an email pusher, and the emails were all the same. I had no lies to tell myself, no words of encouragement, and the only thing I could do was try to keep myself from walking to my boss and handing over a resignation letter. I regret the decision to stay (the typical I have bills to pay so just hang on a little longer rationale) but, something awoke that I had been trying to lull away all this time.
I messaged the only person I could think of who was working towards living her dreams. As I pulled my phone out I pictured her sitting at a coffee shop coding the shit out of her future while still holding down a steady job, then I asked her rather point blank, "What can I read or do to change my work ethic? Anything you can recommend? I just feel like doing nothing all the time." Three minutes later I felt a rush of excitement at the 4 little words in her response: The War of Art. I downloaded the Audible.com app and got my ears on the audio-book immediately. The next day as I worked from home it blared through my speakers and I imagined my neighbours being annoyed at the gruff voice narrating what I imagined might sound like gibberish to people just trying to get by.
It was a game-changer! I tried passing it on to everyone I knew, who I believed, had the potential to do something better with their lives, something that channeled their creativity and encouraged them to focus on their purpose. According to the author Stephen Pressfield, I am suffering from resistance and it is winning. It is so strong in me that I managed to get lost in the everyday, slowly and surely slipping back into my old ways. Tomorrow, there's always tomorrow, but here I am today furious with my choices. Furious that something intangible is winning me over; that I am pushing my dreams away! There can be no more excuses; no more broken promises; and no more reasons for regret.
If you struggle the same way I do, please, take a moment and read or listen to The War of Art and take back the life you were meant to live, the person you were supposed to be. Fight back! Resist resistance and start valuing yourself, start doing everyday what inspires you to live a fuller and meaningful life. Do anything you can to get back on-track or to at the very least, find what motivates you, what excites you, and dare to be unconventional if the shoe fits.