Posted by: annmariegamble | November 10, 2009

Resisting the Chance to Work on the Task at Hand

Fighting hardIn psychoanalysis, resistance is what the patient does when things start working—once they get close to the problem issue, patients engage methods to maintain the status quo. Resistance, thy name is Ann Marie Gamble.

When I decided to do NaNoWriMo, I decided to work on an idea that I hadn’t done much prep work for. I’m not only writing this story from the beginning, but starting from scratch developing characters and plot. It’s been interesting to see all the parts unroll in a concentrated time frame.

But what else is part of my process—at least for the moment, I’m hoping—is this resistance. This trip around the park, I’m having flickers more than a full-bore attack: thoughts like “under what possible circumstances would one have to write a novel in a month?” (My resistance involves a lot of melodrama.) It leads to behavior like going to bed at 10 p.m. and fixing the back porch steps instead of writing.

My worst episode was at the beginning of a yearlong writing workshop I signed up for. Commiting to the workshop was a landmark moment identifying myself as a writer and deciding to use my time to write novels. The first month’s assignments were deliberately non-writing activities. After the first two, I was in such agony I was ready to sign on to some learn-to-do-other-people’s-taxes correspondence course. We were also journaling our days, though, and I could look back to see that my pain had only lasted eleven days. Not only did things start to get easier, but I could see what I’d gotten done while I was lambasting the process.

So when I have minutes and mood swings now—although they’re not pleasant, I’ve seen their end before, and I don’t worry (too much) that they’re a permanent state. I can make my decisions after they’ve passed. It’s part of the stamina I’m developing to write through to the end.

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