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Old September 30, 2002, 02:53 PM
Phil Gomez
 
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Default Separation, resistance, and writing...

> in Fritz's work involves that of becoming
> "seperated from what you do"....

> Before reading Michael's report and Fritz's
> works did you grapple with this issue and
> if so how did you become objective enough to
> seperate yourself from "what you
> do" so the
> "feeling of failure"(if you will,
> for lack
> of a better definition) is reduced...

I did at one point although I didn't realize it at the time. You see, I work as a writer and a few years ago I suffered from a great, well, "resistance" to writing. It wasn't that I didn't want to write, nor that I wasn't comfortable with it. My M.A. is in writing and I felt that it couldn't be because I didn't know enough.

Well, long story short, it was due to two things: 1) I wasn't effectively getting the information I needed from my colleagues, and 2) I wasn't comfortable putting anything down on paper that wasn't "perfect."

Actually, I think my training in writing worked against me psychologically: when you have a degree in writing from a semi-presitgious school, I think there's more pressure to live up to expectations. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking is disasterous for a writer. You often have to write down some lousy material before your best work will appear.

The biggest help to me in overcoming my "resistance" was a book by Peter Elbow, called Writing with Power. I was drawn to the book because the author also went through a period of about two years where he "couldn't write." I could relate to that, so I picked up the book. It's an excellent read. The one exercise in chapter two, if practiced regularly, will do wonders for overcoming any "resistance" you may have about writing.

It was after I'd cleared that up that I realized I needed to work on my information-gathering skills. I have and am still improving that area as well.

Years later, I read Fritz's Path of Least Resistance and his discussion of separation struck a major chord with me. (By the way, I think it was a post by Michael Winiki that first sparked my interest in Robert Fritz.) He's so right: you are not your work.

I didn't realize how much of an issue this idea of separation was for many people until I'd read that book. So many people take their work and, particularly any criticism of their work, personally.

Listen, just because someone has a criticism or a comment about something you've done doesn't mean that his/her comment is worth anything. By seeing yourself as separate from your work, you can be objective (at least, much more so) about it and you can better evaluate other's responses.

Look at some of the successfully independent business-people who post on this board. Notice how opinionated they are. I don't mean that in any perjorative sense -- rather, its a reflection about how they are separate from their work. They know what they like and don't like and they don't let other's views control their perceptions of themselves or their work. You'll see the same kind of opinionated-ness in artists of all kinds.

Contrast that frame of mind with the culture of, say, academia. It's a night-and-day difference.

Best,
-Phil




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