Frustrated by Your Lack of Progress? “Take What the Defense Will Give You” (Some Encouragement for Writers)

I was working (plodding would be a better description) through rewrites of my upcoming book (September ’12… can’t wait!) when I came across this helpful piece from one of my favorite authors, Stephen Pressfield. I love his fiction, but as a neophyte writer, I’ve found his thoughts about the craft to be a lifeline at times.

Pressfield posted this on December 28th:

Everybody loves the vertical game. We all thrill to the deep ball, the long completion, the 55-yard bomb that breaks the game open. (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of football over the Holidays.)

The problem is that, a lot of the time, the guys we’re playing against are as good or better than we are. Or they’re lucky, or they’re having a great day, or they’ve just studied our tendencies and know how to counter them. The defense won’t let us throw the deep ball. We’re dying to. We’re on fire to. But the bastards just won’t let us.

That’s when we’re not unwise to rein in our expectations, give up on what we wish we could get and settle for what we can get.

In writing terms (and I know this is true for dance, for painting, for film-making and on and on), there are days—and sometimes weeks—when Resistance is just too strong. For me, there are parts of a book that feel like knots in a plank of wood. They’re bears. They refuse to yield. I can surround them like a besieging army ringing a city—and I still can’t find a weak spot.

On those days, you have to take what the defense will give you.”

Read Pressfield’s full Blog “Take What the Defense Will Give You” here:

As far as I can tell, he posts ruminations about his work at the keyboard every Wednesday. I highly recommend you check it out…

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