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How Resistance Can Help Your Writing

April 5, 2015 by Diane

hand opening red curtain on white.

I was on deadline to write a book review for a newsletter; a newsletter emailed to customers of the bookstore where I work. I usually choose the books to review; something that attracts my interest and will hopefully attract the interest of our readers.

But I was uninspired by our current selection of new arrivals. So, on the offhand suggestion of my manager, I picked up a book on sacred plant initiations. Now, I didn’t have to write a review for this particular book, but we had a plant theme going on in the newsletter, so it seemed like a good idea.

Until I started reading the book.

And the more I read, the more resistant I became to writing this particular review.

The initiation process, which included ingesting plant elixirs as a means to communicate with plants and raise one’s consciousness, seemed convoluted to me. I didn’t give a hang about what experiences other people had when drinking these potions. And the whole idea of ingesting plants seemed downright risky. This book just wasn’t cutting it for me. I was not inspired.

But I persisted in spite of my resistance. Spending far too much time at the task, I tried typing sentences that sounded interesting; but the pitiful few I managed to eek out sounded stilted and formal. I was ready to trash the entire document and start over with a different book when I decided to just let my resistance have its head.

I let it voice its thoughts.

Ingesting plants? That sounds like a recipe for entering some kind of altered mental state. I’d rather meditate on a plant than imbibe it. Besides, what if I ate something poisonous? And who cares about the conscious states these plant-dieters reached?

The more I wrote, the more energy I had for writing. And when I read what poured forth, it occurred to me…hey, I could actually use some of this stuff. I could share my doubts about the whole plant initiation ceremony, the whole ingesting thing, and point out how lucky we are to have an author who has 30-plus years practicing the art of herbal medicine, how knowledgeable this particular medicine-woman is, so anyone wanting to partake of plant-dieting could rest assured they would not be poisoned.

And the funny thing is, once I released the resistance, I saw the book in a whole new light. I was able to see how fascinating this subject could be.

So I shaped it into a review and sent it off.

Takeaways this week:

Resistance has an energy, a perspective, that just might open up the creative blocks. The next time it rears up, let go of the reins. Let it take the bit and run. You never know where you’ll end up.

Sometimes resistance is merely a messenger. It’s telling you to back away, get some distance, and come back with a clearer head. Don’t kill the messenger.


10 Comments »

  1. Tandava says:

    So you’re not into ingesting plants, huh? Did your mother have a hard time getting you to eat your veggies? :-)

    • Diane says:

      Is that what those are?

      Ha. Very funny. And astute of you to point out that flaw in my reasoning. So I should clarify: I do not eat oak or primrose or dandelions or any of the plants mentioned in the book. Although if food was scarce, I’d eat any of the above in a heartbeat.

  2. Dawne Webber says:

    Great advice, as usual. I’ve been wondering how to handle book reviews for books I don’t honestly like but have been asked to write. My answer has been procrastination, but that excuse is getting old.

  3. Resistance can positively feed our creative juice; lovely, isn’t it. Love your, ‘takeaway’ idea. #MondayBlogs

  4. […] Holcomb writes about how resistance can help your writing. Monica Gallagher tells us 5 things she learned writing part-time […]

  5. Valerie says:

    I really love this post – it’s so insightful!

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