I can’t believe I forgot to write a blog post last week, because I actually had something really cool to share. Last week I read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and I felt like I was reading a book about myself. If you know me and you’ve wondered over the years, “What is the deal with Alison? She’s seems smart enough. Why can’t she get her shit together?” (Believe me, I’ve been wondering that too.) This book has the answer. It’s Resistance. Resistance is the inner force that works against us whenever we try to do something positive or creative. I recognized it the moment Pressfield began to describe it. I’ve wrestled with Resistance for years. I feel it everyday. But now that someone has identified it for me, and clued me in to its devious manipulations, I feel more powerful to fight it.
There are so many takeaways from The War of Art, that I could never convey them all in a blog post. I highly recommend reading it yourself. Especially if you are someone who’s always had a desire or calling you’ve never fulfilled, or never tried to fulfill. You know who you are. And it doesn’t just apply to creatives. If you’ve ever dreamed of doing something that would be good for you and the world, but a little voice told you not to, because of fear, insecurity, or inertia—you should read this book.
Normally I don’t read a lot of “self help” books. I tend to get bored with them. But I will probably read this book again. That’s how great it is. I also read a follow up called Do the Work, which is shorter but takes the concept of Resistance and lays out more practical advice for actually doing the work required to accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
I’ll leave you with this quote from The War of Art.
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
– Steven Pressfield
Today I reread Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work. His book is the reason I’m blogging about my screenwriting efforts. He makes a simple and logical case for doing something I’ve always found difficult: letting people see behind the curtain. For a person with perfectionist tendencies, it’s much more comfortable to keep your work hidden until you’ve finessed and approved every detail. But Kleon makes the case that a lot can be gained from sharing online throughout your process. Through sharing I could find a community, get feedback, acquire an audience, and potentially deepen my understanding of what I’m working on.
Kleon pulled this quote from Harmon’s 2011 interview with Wired magazine. (Click to go to the article.)
But even if I gain none of that, if I keep sharing on a regular basis I will eventually have a nice record of what I’ve been up to.
This morning I finished my first draft! It feels a bit premature to drop the confetti and balloons. It will no doubt be the first of many, many drafts. But it feels good to have accomplished something.
The story I’m writing now deals with more everyday aspects of life, like work and relationships. Things I’ve written in the past dealt with more extreme behavior and emotions. My challenge right now is to find conflict in each scene (or create it) and raise the stakes enough to keep it interesting.
While I have some big goals for 2015, I thought it would be fun to write about the smaller goals I’m aiming for this year. Specifically in regards to upping my nerd cred.
I’ve always been what I consider “nerd adjacent,” having a lot of friends who are into stereotypically nerdy things like science fiction, comic books, and role playing games. I like science fiction but I’ve mostly only seen very recent movies like Moon or Another Earth. (Both excellent.) When I fell headlong into a Game of Thrones obsession a few years ago, I learned how fun it is to be part of a fan community. It’s been on my mind for a long time, that I’d like to be able to experience this culture in a deeper way.
Thus I’ve set these goals for myself in 2015.
- Watch the Star Wars movies. (All of them, even the ones people say are bad.)
- Read a graphic novel. (A very patient friend lent me his copy of the Watchmen months ago but I’ve been having trouble connecting with it.)
- Play a game or two of Dungeons and Dragons.
What do you think I should add to my list?