This blog is a collection of real-world stories, examples and case studies of people at conflict with themselves. Since experiencing a complete reinvention a couple of years ago, I became somewhat evangelical on the topic. I poked and prodded and looked under rocks for people, trying to find formulas and systems that my students and clients could use to improve their lot in life. We strategized ways they could seek a little more happiness for themselves. I have done my best to avoid promoting false prophets, infomercial miracle factories, and BS pop psych programs.
My professional calling is now clear to me – I need to be helpful or I won’t be happy.
I have a job that uses my strengths and feeds my passions. I used to be a little embarrassed telling people how great my job is and how much I love it. It felt a little self-serving. How dare I proclaim I have found my own Holy Grail of career satisfaction?
So many people carefully craft their social media profiles to make sure that only the bright shiny stuff is represented. We post happiness in our words. We post only pictures that we feel comfortable looking at. This is not so much dishonesty as it is merely presenting our universe a profile of who we aspire to be. We show these strangers the good stuff, and we minimize the less flattering. After all, who believes a profile or a wall full of angst and sadness would be viewed as anything but a cry for help?
I wrote a book 2 years ago. My editor pinged me the other day, asking how the rewrite is progressing. A sweet voice in Oakland has whispered in my ear…”Well, how’s it going?”
Embarrassed, I am. It’s taken forever, and for no good reason other than I think it’s just not that good. I have delayed and procrastinated, blaming my full work schedule and other obligations as reasons to not write. I hope that on this blog I have never given you the impression that I own the answers, all the secrets. We have so much more in common with each other than we think. We all fight our battles, and that book is mine.
It’s easy and painless self promotion to keep saying to people, “I’m writing/have written a book” when the fact of the matter is I have yet not done anything of the sort.
As it turns out, I too am battling Resistance.
I have opined about this monster several times on this blog, a recent example is here.
Resistance is the invisible monster that author Steven Pressfield writes about. I have found his words to be both illuminating and comforting. Pressfield is no Svengali; he’s a guy who was pissed that he didn’t get off his butt and write that screenplay. Then he did. A couple of them were major motion pictures.
He has no miracle formula, no “30 days and you are perfect” promises. His basis for his arguments are simple – get off your can and do your work. Do it now.
And then we don’t.
I have beaten down Resistance many times, and I have managed to score a couple of nice victories against it the past couple of years. But the book…the book.
It’s weighing me down. The pages are sitting right here on my desk. The words are waiting to be shared. Yet I have stalled, put on the breaks, and managed to avoid the risk of letting you see them. You might not like them. You might think it downright sucks.
I’m reading a wonderful book this week – A Writer’s San Francisco: A Guided Journey for the Creative Soul, written by Eric Maisel. It’s a combination love letter to the City and County of San Francisco/ Resistance-bashing how-to-get-it-done motivational tool.
I came upon these words yesterday:
” Would-be writers prefer to live uncomfortably in their shell of resistance rather than risk cracking it and exposing their insufficiencies.”
” ..we write, if we write at all, not because a special silence has descended but because we have hushed the universe with our own fierce intention.”
This week, I have a new attitude.
If my book stinks, so be it. If it’s a tale for the ages, that’s good too.
Maisel taught me that the sharing of words is not some Facebook wall post. It’s not polished and buffed and beautiful. It represents the authentic you, and by sharing you have liberated yourself from the chains of Resistance. My goal was to be a published author – not to be an author of New York Times bestseller. But I have to put one book out before I can release another.
You have to start somewhere. The marketplace will decide on the quality of my words, and I will accept their verdict with humility – because I will have completed my stated goal, and that will likely feel remarkable. Then I will know that I am capable of doing it again and again!
Thank you to my parents and friends for reminding me I have something to do. Thanks for holding me accountable.
Damn you, Resistance. I’m feeling like killing you. I want the paragraph below to actually be truth, not to represent some phony hope.
Today I shall write. Then I shall write some more.
John Scott is the career services manager, national online learning coordinator and a media history instructor at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He also counsels clients and groups on the art of reinvention. His debut book Broken Glass and Barbed Wire will be released soon. Follow John on Twitter @johnscottsf.