Book Review - The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield
I had seen the book The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle by Steven Pressfield recommended by quite a few experts in the field of creativity and productivity. I finally got around to putting it on hold at the library, and I eventually worked my way to the top. That should tell you something considering the book was released in 2002, and it still had a hold backlog. After finishing it (it's not very long), I'll be buying my own copy for reference. I felt as if I was looking at myself on most of the pages.
Book One: Resistance - Defining the Enemy
Book Two: Combating Resistance - Turning Pro
Book Three: Beyond Resistance - The Higher Realm
Pressfield's premise is that resistance is our enemy that fights and prevents us from living the life and becoming the person we want to be. Most observations occupy just a page or two, with titles like Resistance and Trouble and Resistance Never Sleeps. The style is reminiscent of the book The Art of War (hence, the title...), and the flow progresses from identifying how resistence affects your creativity and progress, to how being a professional means going to war against resistance every day, to accepting the existence of "muses" that will appear and help you create if you put in the time and effort to be professional and fight resistance. Since Pressfield is a writer, you often see examples centering around that particular creative outlet. But in reality, these concepts apply to all creative pursuits.
Since I tend to relate well to the concept of "going to war" with elements in your life that hold you back, The War of Art resonates with me. Add to that a real problem I have with resistance, and this book felt like it was written explicitly for me. On top of understanding and relating to the effects of resistance, I also thoroughly understood and accepted the concept of "going pro". Think of it being a soldier who doesn't whine and complain about how things are. They simply do their jobs, commit to excellence in their core skills, and know that the creativity muses will show up if they've done their part in the process.
This is another example of a book addressing an area of my life at the exact time I'm struggling with it. I'll be ordering my own copy of The War of Art and internalizing many of the concepts. I'll then be able to close the gap between the life I live and the life I could be living, if only I didn't succumb to resistance on a regular basis.