The War of Art (henceforth tWoA) by Steven Pressfield is a necessary kick in the butt for all of us that consider ourselves creatives and yet don’t regularly ship out creative work. Shame on us.
Pressfield spends a while early on defining all the ways we let procrastination and life duties keep us from doing our work. Not our day jobs, but the painting, writing, or entrepreneurial concerns that we need to nurture and grow our souls. The characterizes this inertia as Resistance (capital-R) and cautions that, to defeat your enemy you must know them well.
The first third of the book is all about identifying Resistance and all its wily efforts to keep you from your work. The next third of the book gives strategies on how to get your work done, and the last third is a somewhat new-agey section on how to attract a muse.
It was at this point when I started to tune out a little, but I stuck with tWoA and it paid off well. Pressfield goes a bit into woo-woo territory here, especially when he offers up the prayer to the muse from The Odyssey but it becomes apparent quickly that his mentions of muses and angels range from symbolic to literal and back again to symbol.
I think I will come back to this short book over and over again, much in the same way that I normally read The Screwtape Letters during Great Lent each year. There are a lot of gems here for anyone that does creative work. Highly recommended!
Photo credit: Nida Chowdry