The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Interesting take on creative minds and struggles. It is almost like a religious book, the author talks about Muses, Angels, how God has created us for a specific purpose equipped with genes/soul to achieve that purpose and how we are destined to follow it.

The idea that stuck with me though is how we have two lives, "lived" and "unlived". What stands in between is the Resistance. We may think that we lack the discipline to overcome this Resistance, but we actually have the discipline. We use it for our jobs as we show up every day no matter what, we master the techniques for our jobs, ... Why not show the same discipline for our own endeavours?


There is a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favour of long-term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.

The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don't just put off our lives for today; we put them off till our deathbeds.

That's a pro. In terms of Resistance, Maugham was saying, "I despise Resistance; I will not let it face me; I will sit down and do my work."

All of us are pros in one area: our jobs.
Are there principles we can take from what we are already successfully doing in our workaday life and apply to our artistic aspirations:

  1. We show up every day
  2. We show up no matter what
  3. We stay on the job all-day
  4. We are committed to the long haul.
  5. The stakes for us are high and real.
  6. We accept remuneration for our labour.
  7. We do not over-identify with our jobs.
  8. We master the techniques for our jobs.
  9. We have a sense of humour about our jobs.
  10. We receive praise or blame in the real world.

The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.

I'll take Xenophon at his word; before I sit down to work, I will take a minute and show respect to this unseen Power that can make or break me.

This is why artists are modest. They know they are not doing the work; they are just taking dictation. It's also why "noncreative people" hate "creative people". Because they are jealous. They sense that artists and writers are tapped into some grid of energy and inspiration that they themselves cannot connect with.

If you found this article useful, please consider sharing it with a friend.

FYI, this article includes affiliate links. If you use them, it won't cost you anything extra, but a small commission will be paid to me which will be used for this blog's costs. Thank you.