In his book War of Art, Steven Pressfield says:
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
I’m no stranger to resistance. It manifests as beautiful weather, online training, workshops (dropping in and having a moment of awareness and dropping out), social media, anything but sitting myself down and doing the work I must do – rewriting my book.
The unlived life of a published author requires me to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. It’s painful but that’s what I signed up to. It’s my bootcamp.
So today, finally I found myself saying “Ughhh! What horrible weather! Will the rain ever go away here in Sydney?”
Was that too negative? Too selfish?
Maybe a better way to start would be with gratitude that the farmers in NSW are getting much needed rain for their crops.
And… this writer is getting much needed time to rewrite “How to Create Time” without the seduction of beautiful weather.
I had no idea what the book was about whilst writing the first draft. Apparently clarity comes with rewriting.
What is How to Create Time All About?
It’s about identifying which activities are essential for physical, emotional, mental and creative wellbeing.
Through a careful examination of where my energy is going, I strive to eliminate non-growth activities and blocks in my writing practice.
For example, important tasks which don’t require my unique strengths or focus are identified and then automated using apps and other tech tools.
The intended outcome of this book is for the reader to build their unique creative practice (be they a writer, artist or an entrepreneur) which is both spiritually and materially fulfilling.
What Is Your Current Creative Project?
What is the work you’re currently doing or avoiding? I was avoiding this rewrite for weeks and it made me miserable.
One of the ways resistance pulled me away was me stupidly volunteering to do a presentation on the Hero’s Journey (yikes! I’ve never done an hour long presentation before) and battling a general feeling of ickiness made worse by pigging out on carbs.
Hold up though… Could I use the Hero’s Journey to put some momentum into my rewrite? Let me think of my journey from a writer who’s having a hard time overcoming resistance to one that overcomes it, publishes her book and comes back to the ordinary world with the elixir to help other would-be published authors?
Could this work?
Let’s break it down…
1.Ordinary World – This was at least nine years ago when I was working for the US DEA in Istanbul. The amount of time I wasted in my cubicle is literally a sin. All in the name of avoiding my calling to write.
2.Call to Adventure – Then one day I got pissed off with one of the diplomates, a pissant who for whatever reason pissed me off by not including me in one of the consulate artsy farsty functions and I wrote ten pages of drivel about how American diplomats in developing countries are a stereotype. Oh boy, I had disdain for my audience. Not the best way to write a book.
3.Refusal of the Call – The writing bug had got under my skin but I still hadn’t turned it into a healthy habit that kept me sane. When I turned 30 and was sufficiently fed up with the cushy job and unable to find something more meaningful in Turkey, I hopped on a plane to Sydney. My last seven years were all about getting jobs in marketing getting fired, facing losing my visa, until I became a PR and a de-facto to my Australian sweet and sour heart and now about to become a mother for the second time.
4.Meeting the Mentor – I finally realised a bucketlist item April of this year and saw Robert McKee. The aftermath was that I came down with a case of writers’ block scared shitless knowing that I couldn’t write anything as solid as the structure we admired in the seminar. I’m now back in flow but it is touch and go.
5.Crossing the Threshold – This was me for the first time finishing my shitty first draft. That book is “How to Create Time”.
6.Tests, Allies, Enemies – Partner, family, editor and even Seth Godin have turned against me. I’m finding ways to avoid time in ways that are mad, mad, mad. I even joined and dropped out of an online course. Craziness. However, I also found a fellow writer who makes a living out of writing, I’ve got an editor whose writing I see on a daily basis and of course Medium articles that help me find my own rhythm to do this thing, overcome resistance, live to write about it and hopefully publish the darn book.
7.Innermost Cave – Any ideas as to what this will be? Can someone give me a heads up on this?
8.Ordeal – Again, I have no idea what this will be. I’m getting a bit scared thinking about it. What if it’s Darth Vader in its scale of evil? What if it’s nothing? Then what do I write about? Do I just make something up?
9.Reward (Seize the Sword) – This will no doubt be finally publishing “How to Create Time”
10.The Road Back – So after I publish the book, I can expect some sort of final tension blocking me from enjoying the glory. It is what happens in movies. I mean look at Dorothy in Wizard of Oz. Her balloon ride didn’t work out and she must’ve felt ripped off that Glinda knew all along her ruby slippers could take her home.
11.Resurrection – I have a vague idea this might be giving birth to baby # 2. I hope this means I won’t feel a thing. I would like to avoid a C-Section though. I don’t like the idea of having to look after sutures.
12.Return with the Elixir – This is so crystal clear. After having faced my own demons, killed Darth Vader, published the book, I can teach others how to do it. I can even teach them about looking after their physical, emotional, mental and creative wellbeing to keep the forces of evil at bay.