May 25, 2017

How To Get Writing and Other Important Tasks Done (Even If You Feel Resistance)

Staring at a blank page is awful, isn’t it?

Writing is most likely not a natural process for you. But when you are not creating, you feel worthless.

The words don’t “just come” when you sit down and you never feel like writing.

Yet you feel the irresistible urge to create.

Writers write. Or at least, we strive to…

When, for whatever the reason, we don’t – it comes at a price. You may have had the experience of your mind punishing you for not doing that one thing that makes the most impact on you and others.

But nevertheless, many copywriters, freelance writers, and content marketers struggle to create as much as they would like. Instead, they do low impact work to distract themselves. This is “busy work”.

We would love to be confident each and every time we publish something, but there’s always a light but ever present fear that people might hate it.

We battle with a hostile force, and it’s coming from within…

Resistance: Taming The Beast

But you can’t let it stop you — because that’s when you let it win. Resistance is not a gimmick. It’s real. It’s always there, trying to make you pick the easy route. The route that’s all about instant gratification.

We all battle with it. You need to respect the enemy.

But how come some writers are super productive? Have they “killed” resistance?

No…they haven’t. But there are certain ways to deal with resistance.

And no, it doesn’t involve some next-level software that will skyrocket your biz productivity by 336% with the push of a button. The uncomfortable truth is, there’s no way to get things done without doing the work.

Resistance will never become our friend. But we can change the way we work, so resistance has less power over us.

We all know that ideal person we could be, that has the gym habit, writes consistently, eats healthy all the time and has the perfect work / life balance.

But when it comes to actually doing all those things? Well, that’s a different story. We’d rather just get the end result.

When our reality is too far apart from the ideal person we want to be, we feel friction. We want to close the gap between what we are and what we want to be. This is something we should be grateful for. Why? It’s simple. We can only change when we are aware.

When we don’t act on this friction, it might feel good in the short term. We may end up watching our favorite TV show instead of writing for an hour.

Big deal, right?


In the meantime, resistance grows, time passes. The universe is not in favor of those who don’t act. You can feel the sensation when you’re doing it. You can’t enjoy the movie for the full 100% because it’s not earned. It’s borrowed time.

We Feel Best When We Do The Hard But Meaningful Work

Wouldn’t you agree that we feel best when we contribute and strive toward something? A “scary” fact about our existence is that we are either getting better or worse. That’s good or bad news, depending on your personal situation.

But you have a choice. You choose to get better or worse every single day.

Become aware of your “ideal person” I mentioned earlier in this post. Make the image big and bright. What does he or she do differently? What would you have to do to attain that kind of success?

When most people start to think about their dreams, they make it so big and complicated in their mind that they get “paralyzed” by it.

But simple math will prove that it’s not impossible to reach your dreams. Simply focus on building the habits required to reach them.

Do you want to write a book? A lot of people do, but that seems like an impossible accomplishment, doesn’t it?

Well, not really. If you wrote just 300 words for the next 90 days, you would have 27.000 words on paper.

Want to get healthier? If you would simply do 30 push ups a day for one year, you would have done 10.950 push ups.

Small drops in the bucket add up. But it’s important to show up each and every day. Because remember, resistance is always creeping. Give in, and you’ll find yourself watching Casey Neistat on YouTube (you are warned) or something.

It’s easy to write 300 words and doing 30 push ups each and every day. The danger is that it’s also easy not to do it, dismissing the incredible power to change your life in the long run.

Focusing on building the habit first. Just show up every day. Then expand.

“Little by little one travels far”  – J.R.R. Tolkien

Expanding Is Easier When Resistance Is Off-Guard

You’ve started to build a habit. You feel good about yourself for showing up. That’s when you’ll start building momentum. And when you start to feel good about doing the meaningful things, your brain will actually start to rewire itself.

The resistance will not go away. Just when you’re on a roll and think nothing can stop you, resistance will try to get you to slack off. But if you keep at it, you’ll find that it becomes easier to get the important things done. It’s familiar now. In fact, you’ll feel bad when you don’t do it.

And once you build a habit to write 300 words daily, it’s a lot easier to expand to 500 words daily.

Similarly, if you’re doing 30 push ups a day, you’ve built up the strength to do 50 push ups a day with a lot less effort.

These small efforts repeated daily have the potential to dramatically change your life. It’s really that simple. 

Are you willing to do the work?

The Perfect Place and Time? How About Here and Now…

Here’s another sneaky strategy that resistance employs to get you to slack off: it lets you know it’s just not the perfect time to start.

It will tell you that you have to lock yourself up in a cabin in the woods for 3 months just to write a book, or whatever story your mind tries to sneak into your map of reality.

Most of us create our work in the chaos called “daily life”. We schedule time for creating and just show up.

Jane Austin wrote in a busy family room with lots of visitors. Her desk was a small piece of paper which she could easily hide to prevent that anyone beyond her family would notice her occupation.

That didn’t stop her from being remarkably productive. What’s your excuse?

The perfect time to start is always right now. It’s the only moment you have. You can’t work from the past or the future, or an imaginary perfect situation.

Letting Certain Projects Slide

You know what they say, right? You need to get out of your own comfort zone to grow.

It’s true.

But let me just say this from personal experience: sometimes the effort just isn’t worth it.

How do I know this? I fell into this trap more than once. I’d try to write about a topic that wasn’t well within my expertise and it ended up draining all of my creative energy.

This has the potential to kill your momentum, so be aware.

It’s one thing to start on a challenging project, like creating a 7000+ word guide on a topic you are well-informed on.

But if you’re going to write something about a topic you don’t know anything about, ask yourself: will this be worth it?

If the answer is yes, go for it. If not, you might want to stay within your “power zone” and look for a better-suited challenge quickly and with determination. Not to slack off, but to keep your momentum going.

Are You Ready To Tame Resistance?

I can’t do the work for you. You’ll have to do it yourself.

But I hope these simple guidelines will help you to overcome your fears and take the necessary action to steadily move toward your goals and everlasting success.

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will – W. Clement Stone

Imagine this: what would it be like to have made those changes now, in the future, as you look back and see what it was like to battle with resistance, as you think about it now?

Many people who start taking small daily actions notice that they are unconsciously shaping their life to move closer their ideal self.

After you start beginning to use more of your potential, you may just find that your limitations suddenly start to fade like a shadow.

Over To You

How do you deal with resistance?

Do you have your own strategy to deal with it, or are you going to employ the strategy in this post?

Either way, I’d LOVE to know about it.

Please leave a comment below and join the conversation 🙂

P.S. I was inspired to write this post after reading this amazing book: Do The Work by Steven Pressfield.

It’s a fabulous book and I highly recommend picking it up for those times you need some true motivation (just so you know, the link above is not an affiliate link).

Jasper Oldersom

Hey, I am Jasper and I am an authentic freelance (copy)writer and marketer. If you need time to focus on other parts of your business, while I write a quality article for your website - I'm your guy.

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Ryan Biddulph - May 25, 2017 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Love this reminder!

For me, always following my fun – even if it leads me directly into my deepest fears aka resistance – is the difference maker. This helps me develop new habits. Habits which dissolves resistance even more.

Once I could not write 300 words in a single sitting without getting writer’s block, some 8 years ago. Now I write anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 words daily between all my writing. How? I changed my habits, however uncomfortable, which changed my life.

Thanks for sharing 🙂

Ryan Biddulph recently posted…What to Do When You Aren’t Seeing Positive Results with Your BlogMy Profile

    Jasper Oldersom - May 25, 2017 Reply

    Hey Ryan,

    Following your fun is very important. if not, it will become a chore. It’s all about building the habits. We can build the muscle, we just have to keep exercising it. You must be one of the most prolific bloggers I know, so you’re all good, Ryan. Or as you mentioned in one of your books, you churn out words at a swift clip. 😉

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Glad you like the reminder!

    – Jasper

Andrea Torti - June 2, 2017 Reply

Yes – Resistance is often an enemy, but it can also show us something is going wrong: maybe that task isn’t the best one for us, for example.

Shantanu Sinha - June 8, 2017 Reply

Hey Jasper,

Great stuff here 🙂

Resistance has always been one of my worst nightmare.But I learned to catch up and began to use it as my friend
and it helped me in getting better at various things apart from writing. Once is hated writing, it was hardly
that I sit down and written 500 words without any break.Now I can write more than 2000 words without the break.

Thanks for the share

Alina Oancea - July 9, 2017 Reply

Resistance is a writer’s worst enemy but after you learn how to deal with it everything is much easier to handle. Great article and great advices.

Jayant Gosain - July 12, 2017 Reply

Hey Jasper
This is a great resource. Human Body just loves resistance. That bad feeling that pulls towards some really unproductive activity. A person having blog knows how hard it can become to write a new article on the blog. The mind is filled up with ideas but hands are not in the mood to drive on the keyboard.
Now, I don’t care about that internal feeling and just try to focus on the content of the article. I don’t give time to my mind to think about resistance.
Anyways, thank you for the post. Really enjoyed the reading.
Jayant Gosain recently posted…How to Mirror Android and Windows Devices on RokuMy Profile

Benef - July 21, 2017 Reply

An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

GS - July 31, 2017 Reply

I faced a lot of resistance while writing, and most of them are distractions.

I think the idea of building a habit is very important, as once we established it, everything becomes much easier. That’s what I’m going to do next.
GS recently posted…300 Ways To Increase Website Traffic (Free & Paid): Strategy GuideMy Profile

Donita Antashari - August 8, 2017 Reply

Resistance has always been one of my worst nightmare.But I learned to catch up and began to use it as my friend
and it helped me in getting better at various things apart from writing. Once is hated writing, it was hardly
that I sit down and written 500 words without any break.Now I can write more than 2000 words without the break.
Donita Antashari recently posted…Kelebihan Investasi Emas Dengan Price ActionMy Profile

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Ms in Germany - October 10, 2017 Reply

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piyush - November 21, 2017 Reply

this was very helpful and i shared this on my personal twitter. you cover many things in this article and it helped me a lot.i was not a good writer but this article is really inspirational.
piyush recently posted…50 Best Offline Games / No Wifi Games To Play In 2018My Profile

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