The War of Art

Posted by on Jul 1, 2020 in Creative Process | No Comments

I recently finished reading The War of Art, a great book written by the talented Steven Pressfield about his creative process and how he fights the good fight every day. If you are expecting something similar to his usual writings like The Legend of Bagger Vance, this is not it. 

This book was a game-changer for me. 

No matter what your day job is, this book offers a lot of wisdom to be heard. Every project, career, or new venture is a journey that comes with ups and downs, and a thing called resistance. We might think that we are unique and the only person in the world that feels resistance, but no, it is something we all share. 

Steven points out how to recognize resistance, how it expresses itself as self-sabotage, procrastination, and fear, to name a few, and how to push past it. He does this by sharing personal examples and other tricks that you can use in your everyday life. 

“Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” 

In the book, Steven describes how we all have a beautiful gift from a higher place that calls to us, but hearing it and acting on it is the challenge. All the outside voices and distractions telling your inner voice that you can’t do something is a constant battle. Hence the title “war of art.” Having that dream is one thing. The challenge is getting up and facing resistance every day, and the only way to stand up to it is to put in the work. That’s the life hack that makes it a reality.

Creative work isn’t about waiting for the perfect moment, or until inspiration hits you. It’s about showing up and doing the work. It is tempting to avoid the work or accept excuses like later will be better, but once you step into it and do the work, you find that you feel better. Some might even call it joyful.

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be but to find out who we already are and become it.”

Pressfield also talks about sharing your passions. Not only to share the joy you create but also to act as inspiration for others. Once you start to follow your passions for the pure pleasure of it and not the outcome, everything starts to work together in harmony. 

“We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”

That is one of my favorite lines in the book, but I question the word work because if you are following your passion, you will flow with it. Flow does not feel like a chore; it feels like bliss. I chase that dragon every day, and it is what keeps me going. If you have been in the flow, you know what I mean. Getting into the flow is where authentic joy lives, and you realize the journey itself is the big payoff. 

If you get a chance to check out the book, leave a comment below or give me a buzz,  it will be great to hear what YOU got out of it.