Last week I wrote an article about protagonists. More specifically, about the fact that each one of us is the Protagonist of our own story.
So this, in a sense, is part two.
Because every good story has all of its parts, and for every Protagonist, there is an Antagonist.
Only, in real life, every single one of us, every different protagonist, each has the same Antagonist.
You might know who I'm talking about
He's got a lot of names, but I prefer to call him the Antagonist.
Because that's what he is. Because he antagonizes us (the protagonists).
We call it writer's block. We call it being in a bad mood. We call it anything we want to, except what it is.
It's the Antagonist.
When we do anything good, (especially if it's for His glory), it immediately sends up a red flag for the Antagonist. And how is he going to stop us if we're so devoted to this? If we eat, breathe, and sleep fiction, and we love every bit of writing?
He sends us barriers. That book won't come to any good unless it's finished. So he has the solution.
You won't finish it. He'll make sure of it.
You've experienced the barriers. The blank page. The fear. The writer's block. The self-doubt. The perfectionism. The feeling that creeps up and makes you want to scream if you stare at those words for another second.
Yep, that's the Antagonist. At his best.
This is something that resonates with me, because it's something I've recently been going through. Seriously. Like, I haven't touched my manuscript in almost two weeks. Why? Every one of those excuses, and more.
Yes, life gets in the way, but we sometimes take it further than it needs to go. For example, if you didn't write anything yesterday because the car broke down on your way home from work, and those two hours that were set aside for chapter twelve are now spent in the mechanic's lobby, then I can understand why you didn't meet your goal for that day.
But what about the next day, when you find yourself in front of the screen with all your momentum lost? One day is one thing, but we let that dictate our tomorrow, and our next day, and the day after...
And pretty soon, we realize that we haven't touched our manuscript in two weeks.
And we make our excuses. And we get up from that screen, and instead browse Facebook, watch Netflix, and do absolutely anything except write. That momentary loss of momentum turns into a lost manuscript, a story forever doomed to be confined to the walls of a microsoft document, never seen, never read.
And the Antagonist won.
I know, you probably think I'm getting a little extreme right now. You're probably thinking, “No, that's overreacting. I'll be back at it tomorrow.”
But stop and think.
You said that yesterday.
And you know who's sending you onto Facebook? And who's giving you those excuses? The Antagonist.
Let's bring this back to fiction.
Every good book has a protagonist and an Antagonist. The Antagonist's job is to do all that is in his power to make life difficult for the protagonist.
And how does the story always (well, usually) end?
The protagonist overcomes those difficulties, perseveres, and defeats him.
Real life shouldn't be any different.
We have to stop letting the Antagonist win. Yes, for some time in the book, all seems lost, the Antagonist prevails, and it seems hopeless. Maybe that's what you feel right now. Maybe you feel as if you've met your match, and the Antagonist has won, and there's no way you can rise above it.
But you can.
Because you were meant for this.
You were meant to write, and just because you don't feel like writing right now does not mean all is lost. What we need to do is stop giving the Antagonists these victories. We need to stop using his excuses, and letting him stop us from doing what we were called to do.
One other thing that every good novel has? A climax scene. That moment where everything is crystal-clear, the pieces fit, and although there are still obstacles to overcome, nothing seems impossible.
Maybe you've had that moment. Maybe it's yet to come. Or maybe that moment is right now. Maybe right now is the time to stand up to the Antagonist, and show him that He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. And maybe right now is the time for you to pick up the pen, put your fingers to the keyboard, and do what you were made to do.
And prove the Antagonist wrong.