Quite a few years ago now, I read the book the War of Art (not to be confused with the Art of War) by Steven Pressfield as required reading for one of my acting classes. The book is about Resistance. Resistance pops up whenever you're doing any kind of endeavour that means something to you - starting an exercise program, becoming an entrepreneur, writing a play...
As an actor, I experience resistance all the time: I don't want to go to class because I'm tired or not feeling 100% well; I put off learning my lines for an audition because I'm really good at memorizing so I can do it at the last minute; I don't practice in front of someone first because I don't want them to think I suck; I haven't seen person X in sooooooo long, I really should go out for a little bit and catch up; I can't focus on my work until my CD/DVDs are in alphabetical order... ect.
Resistance takes many forms and I've learned to notice it and push through it when I've got my actor hat on. But as a playwright? Resistance has shown up to my party and I didn't recognize it with its snazzy new Clark Kent glasses, so I let it in.
Panic, doubts, drama (Oh my Gawd! The DRAAAAAAAAAMA!) – Seriously, I have not experienced so much drama coming at me from all sides in a long time. And I am just eating it all up and rolling around in its miserable, unhealthy embrace instead of focusing on the work and what really matters to me: putting on a kick-ass show at the Ottawa Fringe Festival.
Fortunately, it turns out I have a secret weapon. So secret I only realized it was there today even though it’s been there all along:
Mother fucking CHEERLEADERS.
These cheerleaders are incredible! They provide snuggles and food. They give me stuffed animals. They offer comfort and encouragement. But most of all, they send me things like this:
Or better yet, this:
There are so many people in the world who will tell you you can't, including your own self. Make sure you keep around a hefty supply of cheerleaders for those times when the going gets particularly tough.