Three Tips to Overcoming Artistic Resistance
Every creative knows the feeling of resistance very well. It's that dreaded feeling in the pit of your stomach that rears its ugly head when it's time to start a commission, tackle a challenging discipline, or complete an overdue project.
After being confronted about a delayed comic that had yet to be initiated, a torrent of emotions overcame my being, followed by a litany of excuses and defenses. I knew this beast.
After a brief lament, I meditated on how I slain this creature before.
1. Take Accountability
Seize a moment to take account of how you are responsible for the situation at hand. If you think you aren’t responsible, you definitely are. You didn’t have to take the gig, you didn’t have to procrastinate on the project, and you didn’t have to go into that collaboration unprepared. Yet, here we are. We can dwell in the past in our minds, but reality is happening here and now. The best way to move forward is to accept liability for your part in the circumstance.
2. Approach the Beast
Your resistance is a result of fear. The emails from your aggressive client make you grunt in frustration. Thinking about beginning that project makes your stomach drop. Your body is telling you exactly how you feel, and it isn’t great. Although your first instinct may be avoidance, take action in spite of the icky feelings you're experiencing. Draw that first page, even when you don’t feel inspired. Respond politely, even when you want to rip your hair out. Approach the snarling beast, even if your legs feel like giving out.
3. Marry Yourself to Routine
Taking the first step can often become another form of disguised resistance. Gathering references, taking notes, drafting a response, or organizing your catalog all have the potential to prolong procrastination while tricking you into thinking you’re actually working. Marry yourself to a routine to dodge the snare of the beast. Set a schedule and stick to it. Hold yourself accountable. Remember that the adversary never comes once, and consistency is the antidote to resistance.
I have to thank Malon of Malon Dot Com for introducing me to the "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield (which I initially had a ton of resistance reading. Go figure). Pressfield expertly explains the various forms of encountered resistance within the artistic path, often using personal anecdotes. If a creative chooses one book to occupy their arsenal, that one has to be it. Thank you Malon, thank you Steven, and thanks to YOU for reading.
Until Next Time,