Resistance and Regret

Just sit down and do the work.

I have read and heard this phrase more times than I can count.  When it comes to working on one’s craft or doing anything creative, like writing, there is no replacement for just doing the work.  Yet, over the past few months I have never felt more resistance to just starting.  To just sitting down and doing the work.

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled.  But it can be felt.  We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential.  It’s a repelling force.  It’s negative.  It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work. – Steven Pressfield

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to leave my kids for a couple hours to go write. But instead of having the resolve to just go sit down and write, I began thinking of ALL the things I NEED to get done other than writing. I need to go to the post office and send a package.  I need to get gas in the car.  I want to buy a birthday gift for a friend. And Target is a must.  Honestly, if I had a solid page worth of content for every trip I’ve made to Target instead of writing, I might just have something worth submitting to a publisher.

In reality, I didn’t go write yesterday.  And I actually believe I did not give into resistance.  My kids both ended up much more sick than I thought they were earlier in the morning.  There was no replacement sufficient to their mom snuggling them on the couch.  Sick kids are part of the work-motherhood balance.  Even though I need to just do the work, I made the right choice yesterday.

Today presented another opportunity to write and you can bet I’m taking it.  My sister encouraged me to kick resistance to the wayside by asking me, “Where do you want to be in five years?  If that includes having written, then just sit down and do the work.  It might not be anything worth publishing, but you’ll have five years worth of practice.  And there’s no replacement for that.”

Her reminder and encouragement this morning caused words from Anne Lamott to ring in my ear.  What is that one thing you’ll regret not doing at the end of your life?  THAT is what you must do.

And THAT for me is writing.

I have no idea if this pull to write will translate into a book someday, or if it will impact my kids someday, or whether it’s a means to keeping my sanity.

But I do know I must do it.  I don’t want to wake up one day with the shadow of regret.

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