This is Resistance's PR campaign. It wants you to think Resistance is Noble, when really, it's much more like being the Borg.
Steven Pressfield in The War of Art says, "Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."
But caveats aside, The War of Art is well worth the read. And Resistance is a real and deadly (to your creative work) thing.
My Resistance mostly manifests as fear (see my recent internal dialogue with Fear as it attempted to stop me from writing my most recent NaNo novel). Resistance also pushed on my brain as I contemplated outlining my next SF series. It's always, always, there whenever I'm ready to start a new project, or finish an old one, or push the "publish" button. But Resistance doesn't reserve its deadly charms for when I'm attempting large, ambitious things. It wages a relentless war even at the smallest scales, most recently when a blogger asked me to write a guest post, topic: How would you explain Christmas to someone who has never experienced it before?
Me: Uh... what?
Resistance: You can't write about that! What if people get offended? I mean, you're going to explain Christmas?? That's like religion. Taboo topic. Walk away slowly.
Me: Oh good grief, it can't be that bad. Surely I can talk about Christmas without igniting some kind of religious war.
Resistance: I wouldn't be so sure.
Me: It's really that I don't like writing prompts.
Resistance: Me either! So... stifling. I mean, why would we care about this topic anyway? We should only write things when the mood strikes us, when something strange and mysterious wells up deep from within us, setting our muse on fire...
Me: Ok, I know that's complete bunk. I mean, I'm a writer. I should be able to make a grocery list interesting. Why would something like this stop me? I just need to be creative about it.
Resistance: Sure, creative. Like we have time for that. Don't you see all those emails clogging your inbox? Creativity takes energy. We ran out of that before we even got up today.
Me: Now you're just depressing me. So, let's think. What kind of person would never have experienced Christmas before?
Resistance: Jews, Muslims, Hindis... pretty much everyone who isn't Christian.
Me: That's the obvious angle. I want to be creative. Hey! Robots! I bet they don't have Christmas! Being immortal and all...
Resistance: That sounds really cheesy.
Me: Except that I happen to have a really non-cheesy androids-of-the-future story all plotted out already.
Resistance: You haven't even written that story yet!
Me: Yeah, but I already have the characters banging around in my head. It wouldn't be hard to let them loose for a while...
Resistance: Wait, no, don't do that!
Me: Why? What are you afraid of?
Resistance: Those characters... you love those characters...
Me: I know. It will probably get me excited about writing the novel too.
Resistance: Nooooo! *sobs* *slinks away*
Me: *writes furiously, grin on face*
The funny thing about Resistance is that whenever I overcome it, I invariably create things that I love. (Like this little bit of flash fiction - scroll to the bottom.) I've come to recognize Resistance of a harbinger of great work waiting to happen, if I just let go of my fear and tackle it head on.
In this Christmas season, I hope you take time to enjoy your family, friends, and Holiday Celebrations of Choice. And I hope you also find time to let your creative energies loose and bring something new and wonderful into the world.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Series, which includes two novels, three novellas, one novel-in-waiting, and a trailer. She's currently writing her NaNoWriMo novel, a steampunk fantasy romance, and has plans to embark on that androids-of-the-future story as soon as Resistance gets out of her way.