This is a guest post by Alison Gresik
You may have heard that Resistance is the enemy of creative work. That the reason we don’t take action or finish what we start is because the malevolent force of Resistance, like a nasty super-charged version of entropy, pushes us away from our studios.
And that the solution to overcoming Resistance is fighting it with everything we’ve got.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen to enlist in a war of art. I don’t want the central metaphor of my creative life to be one of conflict and struggle, where I overcome this opposing force by sheer determination of will. Or fail to overcome and feel miserable.
Not only that, but I actually believe that Resistance is a blessing.
I am a fiction writer by trade, and one of the things I love about writing novels is the interesting puzzles it presents. I start with a blank page and a few ideas, I mess around with scenes and characters, and slowly every piece clicks into place. I especially love the moment when an answer arrives after much hair-pulling and everything afterward flows in a gush.
If there were no challenge in the writing process – if every word came easily and I could get down a perfect draft from start to finish – where’s the fun in that? I’m glad to be working in a discipline that can hold my interest for a lifetime, always giving me a new conundrum to solve.
We need to call a truce in this battle.
Let’s start by framing Resistance in a more neutral way by calling it friction (and stop the capitalizing, which only gives it more power.) Not so scary, right? Friction is just one thing rubbing up against another. Friction can generate heat or smooth down edges or provoke pleasurable sensations (oh dear, it’s impossible to write about friction without referencing sex. So consider it referenced.)
I propose two beneficial ways of working with friction:
1. Reduce the friction around getting to your studio.
The place where we do want things to be easy is on our walk to the easel, the craft room, the writing desk. We want to slide effortlessly into place and begin our work.
Creating ease here means making changes in our inner and outer worlds. You don’t want friction from interfering thoughts or distracting emotions. Nor do you want to beat down obstacles every time you try to claim space and time for your art.
I’m a big fan of building virtual labyrinths in our lives — structures that automatically channel our creative energy in the ways we want it to go. I’m always asking myself, “How can this be easier?”
2. Celebrate and enjoy the friction of your creative work.
When you notice that you’ve encountered a sticky problem and don’t know how to proceed, be thankful for that. Say to yourself, “I’m curious about how this snag will get resolved,” and be open to ideas from unlikely places.
In the down-and-dirty of making things, that’s where hard also means interesting and absorbing and fun. All qualities that are essential to an art-committed life.
Will you join me in waving a white flag at Resistance? Where are you ready to lay down arms and work with friction, not against it?
Alison Gresik is a life design agent for quietly rebellious writers and artists. Shatter the Mould is her coaching service for those ready to melt down and remake their lives in service of their art. Visit her website to check out her free teleclass, Claiming Your Artistic License.