A cure for writer’s block

There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

— STEVEN PRESSFIELD, screenwriter, creator of the film 'The Legend of Bagger Vance' Tweet

Picture this: You’re sitting at your writing table, a fresh cup of coffee is steaming on your desk near your monitor, you’ve saved a new document as the title of your new blog post or book, and your cursor is blinking at the top of the page. It’s blinking and blinking and blinking and blinking.

So you sigh and you get up to make yourself a piece of toast. While waiting for your bread to finish you answer a few texts, one of which takes you to Facebook where you like the posts of your sister’s kids. This reminds you to post your own photos from the weekend on Instagram which you do before going six or seven scrolls through your feed to like and comment on your Insta-buddy images.

By the time you butter your toast and head back to that blank document you get a notification about an email from an important contact and you pop over to answer it.

Now it’s 2pm and you still haven’t typed one word on the first page of your new post or book. You tell yourself you feel it’s too late in the day to start. You’re creative juices just aren’t percolating now. 

Does this sound familiar?

It should because many of us hit a wall when sitting down to write and that wall has the word PROCRASTINATION written all over it.

Most creative souls go through this because we feel like we’ll never be as good a writer as our heroes like J.K. Rowling or Danielle Steel or Dan Brown says the author of The War of Art, Steven Pressfield.

So to help you get you back on track, some noted authors recommend reading Steven Pressfield’s slim book each time you begin a new writing project. 

It’s a fairly quick read and it reminds both new and seasoned authors that we are all unique in our talents and so no two writers will author the same story the same way. You shouldn’t think of other authors you admire as competition because your writing style and subject matter are unique to you…and the rest of the world needs to see your talent. So start writing already!

When we make a start...angel midwives congregate around us; they assist as we give birth to ourselves, to that person we were born to be, to the one whose destiny was encoded in our souls, our daimon, our genius.

— STEVEN PRESSFIELD, author 'The War of Art'

I highly recommend that all creative types read this book, even if you’re not an author. Not only is the book for anyone pursuing a creative career path or starting a creative project, it’s it’s an easy read because of the story-like style the author has used. With chapter titles like ‘Resistance Can Be Beaten’ and ‘A Professional Acts in the Face of Fear’ it reads more like a poetic treatise than a complicated technical manual for squeezing creative content out of our heads and onto the page.

I also recommend though, that you read this in a private, quiet space (like in your office with a closed door) because if you’re like me, there are plenty of goosebump-then-tears moments you’ll experience while reading it. And it might look bad if your son or daughter walks in on you crying at your laptop instead of tapping away at the keys.

Before you doubt you’ll experience the same effect, I have to tell you that every single one of the people who I’ve read the last chapter of the book to (called ‘The Artist’s Life’) has burst out in joyful tears. No exceptions.

My favorite paragraph, that to me has the most gravitas and instills the most confidence in my abilities to write something that people will want to actually read, is the very last one in the book. It reads:

"Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got."

So if you’re experiencing some mean writer’s block, go pick up the book right now for plenty more quotes like this one. Quotes that will not only tug at your heartstrings but give you the well-deserved kick in the butt you need to finally sit down and write that New York Times bestseller I know you have in you.

Book link: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

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