This Is War

Recently, I began a writing course.

I’ve been learning to hone my voice, find my tribe, and establish a platform.

The lessons are intriguing; they make me love the craft all the more. The selected books propel me into action.

I get to be a part of some stirring forums. My classmates are awesome. They provide me with real feedback. Sometimes their words are rather alarming, jabbing into my outrageously sensitive core. But I know they are for my own good. I’m learning to hack it. I’m learning to dismiss the need for approval.

My creative side has acquired a true workout. I’m finding I’m more creative than I ever fathomed. You probably are, too.

This experience has exceeded my expectations. It’s been most excellent thus far.

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But the class sure is kicking my butt.

The content isn’t difficult. I understand it. Still, I’m being worked…and hard. I’m instructed to write every day, which should come as no surprise. This in itself is the most difficult part – writing every solitary day.

94 percent of the time, I don’t feel like it, I lack inspiration, I’m tired, and I have laundry to do. Nevertheless, simply showing up no matter the feeling, inspiration, tiredness, or busyness is vital.

A short time ago, I was doing fifteen-minute abs once each week. Now, I’m training for a marathon.

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“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.

The artist must be like a Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being miserable more than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby.”

-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

I have mixed feelings about the above excerpt. The outcome sounds appalling. Why would I willingly write (or for that matter,  pursue anything) if I’m bound to experience these suggested inflictions?

However, Pressfield is absolutely correct. These inflictions come. They come and make every day seem as if there is a sniper trailing terribly close, shooting down every respectable attempt at something inspired.

Pressfield is also right to call this a war, although I prefer envisioning myself a bow hunter over a Marine.

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And Pressfield is wrong, I believe. Yes, miserable times undoubtedly arrive. Still, I don’t think one needs to “know how to be miserable” or “love being miserable.” The conditions must be dealt with, certainly. But I can’t justify dealing in this fashion.

I would rather fight with love and joy. I would rather fight with the strength He provides. While walking in these outpourings of the Spirit, there is no space for misery.

I’m venturing to make this shift because there is far too much goodness to resolve for continued misery.

Mr. Pressfield, this is war. This is a war against that sniper.

This is a war I don’t have to fight on my own. I don’t know why I ever thought I had to. I can let it all go, and he gives me everything I need. He fills my thoughts and sparks creativity.

I only have to make myself show up, keep saying “yes.” He unfailingly takes care of the rest.