We’re studying Steven Pressfield’s classic book The War of Art in the Ninja Writers Book Club this month. (If you’d like to join the book club, sign up here.)
I thought it would be fun to tie that into this week’s Hump Day Writing Prompt.
Here’s what Pressfield says about Resistance (which he always capitalizes): “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
That really resonated with me, because I’ve actually done a pretty good job with not letting Resistance veer me off my path, at least as far as my work goes. (There are many ways that Resistance shows itself.)
I’ve actively avoided being a classroom teacher, even though I think I’d be good at it, I would enjoy the work, and over the last twenty or so years, the money would have certainly come in handy.
I’m scared because some part of me recognizes that being a teacher is my RESISTANCE, all caps. I’ve convinced myself that if I become a teacher, it’s the same as giving up on being a writer. Being a teacher is my plan B and I won’t even look it straight on.
I’ve held off that Resistance by spending years six credits away from a degree that would lead directly to the classroom. I’ve held it off by turning down offers to join programs that would let me work while I was getting accredited.
My husband? He’s done the same work since he was 21 years old. He’s so entrenched in his Resistance that he can’t even imagine doing anything but this work that he doesn’t even like. He’s an artist at heart, but can’t even let himself think about being artistic.
We’re going to talk more in our Facebook group about our personal Resistances and what Resistance looks like for us.
Today, I want you to think about how Resistance affects your story’s hero.
It was easiest for me to think first about the life inside. What does your hero really want, in their heart of hearts? If nothing stood in their way, where would their life path lead?
Then think about their actual life. How far is it from where they wish they were (or maybe even from where they are afraid to wish they were)?
What lies in the space between?
My NaNoWriMo story is called Milk. It’s about a 14-year-old girl named Tessa who lives in Los Angeles in 1984 and realizes that she’s babysitting a kid who was kidnapped.
This exercise was interesting to me, because it’s hard to imagine an eighth grade with Resistance. I really had to think about this one.
Tessa has always been perfect. A good student. A good girl. Her parents divorce was sudden. Her father’s 24-year-old mistress got pregnant and Tessa’s whole life imploded. Her dad moved from Denver to LA. Her mom took her and moved to Chicago. She’s on her way to spend the summer in California and she feels pulled apart like a wishbone.
She’s not perfect anymore. She’s weird. A Freak. She can’t throw away her milk cartons anymore, because she can’t make herself throw away the lost and stolen kids printed on them. So she starts to collect those kids like baseball cards.
In Denver, Tessa is an athlete. She dreams of being in the Olympics, which are happening in LA the summer she’s there. Her mom is caught up in some weird second adolescence and Tessa doesn’t have a team in Chicago. The lack of a team only makes her feel more lie a freak. She doesn’t want to visit her dad. She doesn’t want to be in Chicago, either.
No one asks, anyway.
Her pouting is her resistance. It keeps her from pursing her sport in Chicago. It keeps her from letting her dad buy her love with the Olympics when she gets to LA. If she lets it, her anger and bitterness will steal her athletic dreams.
Whew. That was hard!
Are you writing this week’s prompt? Leave a comment and let me know! Come on over to the Ninja Writers Facebook group and share your work. Get some feedback, leave some feedback–get involved in the community. I can’t wait to read what you come up with!
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