The Career Author Podcast: Episode 103 – Beating Resistance

Beating Resistance

Beating Resistance is a daily challenge. For most creatives, we must battle doubt and insecurity at every step of the way. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield defines the universal force that tries to keep us from our full potential.

Thanks to Kim for sending in a topic suggestion that we’ve turned into “Beating Resistance.” What is Resistance? How does it show up? What can you do about it? Join the Career Authors in a candid conversation about this pervasive and powerful force.

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The definition of Resistance by Steven Pressfield
  • Ways Resistance has appeared in J. and Zach’s lives
  • How Resistance manifests
  • What Resistance says to us
  • When Resistance appears
  • What you can do to fight Resistance

Also, learn about how you can simplify scheduling with Acuity.

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Acuity Scheduling – https://acuityscheduling.com

J. Thorn’s Meeting with Steven Pressfield – https://theauthorlife.com/beating-resistance/

The War of Art – https://books2read.com/warofart 

Atomic Habits – https://books2read.com/atomichabits  

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23 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 103 – Beating Resistance

  • Morning guys. Not a small talk person; I’m all for the unusual approach like the “running for office” question, although that could lead to a discussion about politics which in UK is just as toxic as it appears to be in the USA. So I wouldn’t use that question. Have to think about a good question.
    Great way today J – but is it another step toward machines telling us what to do 🙂?
    I didn’t get “War of Art.” I intend to read it again one day as I hear so much about it, in case I missed the point.
    The James Clear, 2 minute thing sounds like Kaizen. That is something I do get. I recently read “One Small Step Can Change Your Life” by Robert Maurer. Brilliant book. Highly recommend it. Interesting fact, Kaizen is promoted as a Japanese thing because it is credited with the success of Toyota over the last fifty years. But it was developed in the USA by Deming and exported to Japan after the war to help Japanese business recover. The Japanese took to it in a big way and gave it a Japanese name, Kaizen, meaning “good change”. Now they sell it back to the USA and the rest of the world…
    I use Kaizen to overcome resistance. I break the task I am resisting into small short easily achievable chunks. E.g. for writing a novel the first chunk might be “start a Scrivener file” i.e. open Scrivener, choose a template and save it under a working title. But… and here’s the beauty of Kaizen, I can’t leave it there. I have to add stuff to the corkboard card view and then I have to put some outlining onto the corkboard and then…
    Kaizen wasn’t designed for overcoming resistance but it works. I highly recommend you give it a go. I think some writers already inadvertently use it. They self-publish a book that doesn’t sell. So they tweak it. New cover. New blurb etc. One tiny change at a time – that’s Kaizen.
    Talking of running for office. Election day in UK today so here is a mystery. My son is in the army serving overseas. We are very close and he would trust me with his life, but he won’t trust me with his Proxy Vote. Is politics more important than life? 🙂
    Great show.

  • Hey guys. As you both know, I’m constantly failing at fighting resistance. However, I do think I have a bit more stamina. I was actually listening to the show and realized I was still suffering from it, in a different way. I had stacked up a ton of stuff to edit and a smaller stack of things to revise. After the episode, I realized that most of the “to be edited” pile was just silliness that would help my career. So, I came back to the list and hacked it down. Now I have a smaller list. Night guys!

  • So many good things in this podcast episode.
    First off I was like yeah resistance is writers block and procrastination and then you guys break it down.
    I haven’t read the war of art though it is on my borrow list from the library.
    I like Jim Butcher’s take on writer’s block. “I don’t have a muse. I have a mortgage.” I.e. very similar to J’s take on Plumber’s block.

    The other thing that I was thinking of ahead of Zach saying it was Imposter Syndrome. Any creative or technical person deals with this all the time. The trick with this is just fake it til you make it. 🙂

    I would ask J in terms of don’t miss two days, it seems like he does that every week since he takes weekends off from working out. But I guess he has a system not a habit?

    Two things I was thinking of when I was listening was: Everything wants to go back to chaos so it requires work to get past the chaotic resistance.
    Freedom favors the prepared portfolio
    The more body of work you have behind you I would think it is easier to beat the resistance.

    I am having resistance in writing because I have let other priorities come to the forefront. I know they are temporary but they still have higher priority than writing. I’ll get back there since I want to make writing a higher priority.

    Two ways I overcome the resistance is:
    1) having a partner. I.e. I’ll meet you at the gym
    2) The Not Sienfeld Break the Chain. I am at 10 days in a row of exercise of some sort. You can bet I am going to exercise tomorrow.

    thanks for the episode guys

    • I like that Butcher quote 🙂

      For me, I consider the weekend “one day” as I go hard for 5 days straight and nearing 50 years old, I need two consecutive days to rest my muscles. I rarely miss a workout day unless I’m traveling and even then in only rare situations. I was working out every morning before Sci-Fi Seattle in the shitty workout room of the AirBnB apartment building we were in. Once I lock into a system, my habits are rock solid.

      I’m glad you have ways to overcome Resistance. Both of those are tried and true tactics.

  • This could not have come at a better time. Dealing with my own resistance this week. It usually happens around the same time in revising the flaming garbage that is my first draft. Zach, your honesty was amazing, thank you for sharing it. And you’re on fire this week J.Thorn!

  • What a great episode! 🙂

    I appreciate you both being so honest about how Resistance has affected you. After I sent you that message, I decided to try something new in my practice. Now, before I start my writing session, I take a moment to sit quietly, take some deep breaths, and allow my mind to become calm and still. I even invite the Muse to join me! As woo-woo as it sounds, it’s been working. Taking that five minutes or so helps me shift gears from “work” to “creativity.”

    For me, Resistance voices itself like this: “Writing isn’t important. It’s a waste of time. No one wants to read what you have to say.” That’s when I get discouraged and wonder if it’s worth all the trouble. I now have this hanging near my computer, and I read it when that inner voice gets too loud. It’s from The War of Art.

    “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

  • I think another thing to note in regard to resitance is mental health. Anxiety and depression can hit anyone, and it may hide in the form of resistance.

    By no means am I an expert, but my partner suffers from anxiety and depression. I’ve seen the ups and downs, including the moment where leaving the car to go their dream job was impossible. For some of us sitting in the chair and writing can be the same. Self talk running through your head, telling you that you can’t do this, or your aren’t good enough, and you freeze up.

    I wrote all of this just to say that seeking out a therapist is not a form of weakness, and they may be able to have some insight or tools that can help you overcome your resistance. If that isn’t in the cards, then talking to someone, a partner /friend/family member, about your resistance, and vocalizing your fears can help you overcome them. Writing can be a lonely process, so talk to someone.

  • I had a similar experience convincing myself to meet Dave Chesson (name drop, Boi!!!) at the last Tribe conference. I chickened out twice with the ol’ “Oh, he’s busy,” line. Then he turned towards the backstage and I forced myself to call out and we had a great chat.

    The Resistance I’m hitting a lot these days is when I’m doing what I should be doing for marketing, ads, craft, etc,. And things still aren’t working. A lot of “Why bother,” Resistance because I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing according to all the courses and pod casts and books I’ve read. And so far, it isn’t working. Then I have to remember I’m in it for the long game and it’s time to get back to work.

  • I’ll disagree on the writer’s block thing, although resistance makes it worse and can enable it. It can certainly give you all the excuses you need to let writer’s block win.

    Maybe some people don’t have writer’s block and can find a way to get the words out no matter what, while others just don’t know what to write. That’s not to say there aren’t techniques. Resistance might let you skip those techniques and turn on the tv, instead. Or let you tell yourself you suck or your words suck and let you believe it.

    I think it’s weird to say it doesn’t exist. Plumbing isn’t a creative job. Not knowing what to plumb next is not what would typically stop you from doing that work.

    • I understand why you feel that way and it’s cool to have differing opinions here 😉

      In my experience, the most productive and professional plumbers always show up for work. The ones who don’t have to find a different way to make a living. And I’ll disagree with you that plumbing isn’t a creative pursuit. Ever tried to find the source of a leak inside of a wall? And then try to figure out how to fix it without ripping the walls apart?

      My overall point on a less-than-perfect analogy is that successful people (in any industry) don’t make excuses.

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