Five Ways That I Battle Resistance
Anyone who aspires to create knows the resistance that they face in that pursuit. The more ambitious the work, the greater the resistance.
I have a few ways that i have found to get through it.
I started doing this several years ago after reading Steven Pressfield’s War of Art. If you haven’t, read that book. He points out that the poet invokes the muse at the beginning of the Iliad. And so, I have adapted that invocation to my own words. I say it every time I sit down at my desk, and I feel connected to all of the artists that have come before me and worked through the resistance. Here is what I say-
“Muse - Sustain for me this song,
Guard me against the selling of my soul
Make this work live for all of us. “
Set Goals of Growth -
If there is something that I want to make, I set some tangible goal that has more to do with my growth than with the project. My idea here, is that if I focus on the craft and developing my skills, work that is inspired comes more easily. It is kind of like looking to the side to watch the sun. When in doubt, focus on a skill that you can sharpen, and often the work comes in the side door.
I am my own worst enemy on this one. I often fall into the trap of trying to torture new work out of myself with copious off and long hours at my desk. But the truth is, the basics make me much more creative. Slow down,drink water, sweat a little, eat vegetables. The work is always better for it.
I try to reserve a little bit of time every day to play some creative games. I make them up and I get them from books and websites. I don’t try to make them mean too much. I just play. I try to combine as many things that I haven’t thought of combining before. Put a song on and try to paint it. Take a painting and try to write the poem. Then, watch for the spark of something that speaks something to you that you haven’t heard before. Grab that and do whatever you can to expand it.
Treasure the Pivot-
Sometimes resistance comes because we treasure something we have made or found too much. I can’t count the number of times that I have loved a line in a song fiercely, but it was only once I got rid of that line that the song found itself.It is like these nuggets are the seeds, but they go away after they are planted and sprouted. Or sometimes I have something that I am convinced is really good and I am building around it and it isn’t working, and I have to be willing to knock it all over like Lincoln logs and try again without too much attatchment. To avoid that, I often try to have a few different approaches that I work on at the beginning stages of expanding an idea, so that I can remain more playful and not get too attatched too quickly.
These are just a few tricks that I use to try to make exploring approachable, and skirt around that ever growing beast of resistance. Then of course, there is one more - try to teach . Writing this out is as much an chance for me to strengthen my own ability to tap into creativity as it is a place for someone else to start.