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Photo of a woman writing in a notebook with the words "What is Writer's Resistance" overlaid.

What is Writer’s Resistance?

Writer’s block gets a whole lot of attention but writer’s resistance can be even more insidious. 

Our founder, Kelly Notaras, defines writer’s resistance as “any false obstacle, known or unknown, that is standing between you and writing your book.”

Yes, there are some legit obstacles you will likely encounter along your book-writing journey, but resistance is all about the false ones. 

Here are some common varieties of resistance: 

  1. I don’t have enough time. 
  2. I need more preparation. 
  3. I have to do ___ before I write. 

Did you notice that these might not feel false to you? That’s part of the sneakiness of resistance. Let’s break each one down a bit.

Writer’s Resistance #1: I don’t have enough time.

There never seems to be enough time, and certainly not in large chunks. Part of the falseness of this variety of resistance is in thinking that you need a lot of time to write your book. 

What would happen if you searched for spare minutes throughout your day to write your book? You could:

Leave yourself voice notes as you wait to pick your kids up from school. 

Type in the Google Docs app on your phone while you sit in the doctor’s office waiting room. 

Use the last 15 minutes of your lunch break to write down a story. 

If your book is a priority, it may be helpful for you to evaluate how you are choosing to spend your time, and see what moments you can carve out for writing. 

Sidenote: Another option is to work with a collaborative writer (a.k.a. ghostwriter)

Image of a quote from Ruth Rendell: “I get a lot of letters from people. They say, "I want to be a writer. What should I do?" I tell them to stop writing to me and get on with it.”

Writer’s Resistance #2: I need more preparation.

If you think you need to have a particular certification before readers will take your nonfiction book seriously, you may want to think again. 

Are most of the self-help books you’ve read written by licensed therapists? Probably not. The wildly popular health book, Zero Sugar Diet, is not written by a nutritionist or doctor. Susan Cain, author of the bestselling book on introverts, Quiet, does not list any particular qualifications in her bio other than the fact that she is an introvert herself. 

What about learning how to be a good writer before you write your book? We would argue that actually writing your book is the best way to become a better writer. From there, you can work with a coach or editor to hone your writing skills. 

Writer’s Resistance #3: I have to ___ before I write.

  • Fold the laundry
  • Find a new job
  • Wait until my kids are out of the house
  • Lose 10 pounds

The list is never-ending! There will always be things you can or feel like you should do instead of writing your book. Think about that. There will never be a time when the only possible thing for you to prioritize is working on your book. 😯

It happens if you make it happen. 

Do one or all of these varieties of resistance resonate with you? 

It can be frustrating, but your writing resistance is probably a subconscious version of yourself trying to protect you. To lovingly address your misguided protector, follow the steps laid out in this blog post

We know you’ve got this.


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