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My intention was to write my heart out—and then I lost my voice.
Just recently, I fell back in love with writing after avoiding it for over a decade.
I signed up for the writing Academy through Elephant Journal to hone my craft. To widen my audience. To share my voice. To be of benefit.
Two weeks in, and I’m completely frozen, dried up, void of voice.
It is evident that I have the time. For my ukulele. For extra long dog walks. To incessantly check my new Instagram account devoted to my ukulele obsession.
Why the resistance?
In one of the class videos, Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal, mentioned that writer’s block is not real. Writer’s block is a sign that you are coming at your writing from the wrong direction. Most likely from ego.
Writer’s block is really a chorus of critical voices, like those two old cronies, heckling insults, in the balcony on “The Muppet Show.” They utter a litany of wacky, opposing thoughts, such as:
It must be perfect.
It must be meaningful.
It must change people’s lives.
Nobody cares about this topic.
Nobody will read this anyway.
Does anyone even read anymore?
Nobody cares what you have to say.
This is pointless.
You’re a narcissist.
You just want attention.
Why can’t you just be happy playing the ukulele?
Instead of believing the voices, I use them as feedback. The feedback is data, information. Informing me that I am not coming from a place of authenticity and truth. I am coming from ego.
The resistance shows me that I am heading down the wrong path. It is full of brambles, thorns, and stones. Instead of giving into the resistance, and continuing to wander down the shadow road, I pause. I turn around. Return to the intersection. Reread the sign. Okay. Now, where is it that I really want to go?
I feel into the moment. I write about what exactly is coming up for me. Not what I think a thousand Elephant Journal readers want to read. Not what I think will be good for my coaching business. Not what I think will please or grow my audience.
Instead, I write about the resistance monster in the room. And, as I write about the resistance monster, it grows less and less powerful over me. Before I sat down to this blank page, it looked like the dragon from “Game of Thrones.” Now, it is more like Clifford (the big, red dog) from my favorite picture book as a kid.
I start down a new trail. This one is bright and shiny and new. The leaves on the trees are the new green color of spring. Alive. My steps get lighter. I start whistling. Every bud, every blade, every birdsong is a place of inspiration. The miracle within the mundane. The smallest detail screaming to be written, begging to be inked, shouting to be shared.
I see now that this is not just about writing. The resistance monster rears its scaly head anytime I am about to embark on anything of purpose or potential. When fear is present, ego loves to chime in, trying to keep me safe. My ego thinks it is helping, protecting me from failure, not wanting me to risk anything too precious.
I tell my ego to relax, to soften, to ease off the pressure. Instead of helping me by protecting me, it can help me by remaining open, curious, and interested. I remind my ego that nothing is precious, anyway.
I can’t control how my writing or message is received. The only thing I can control is my honesty and authenticity. By writing what is true for me in this moment, I act out of love for myself. By baring my shadowy side, I am accepting and allowing it to be. By not resisting, I am able to let in something new.
Whether it is writing an article, painting a mural, designing a coffee mug, or exploring a new relationship that is bringing up the resistance, I invite you to explore it, poke it, nudge it, maybe even nuzzle it.
Befriend the resistance. Don’t try to resist, ignore, or fight it. It might just be offering the information that you’re coming at this project from the wrong direction.
There may be an opportunity to find a more authentic and honest path.