“There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
Steve Pressfield, The War of Art
Among the many rewards and pleasures of writing this daily blog are the exciting and inspiring writers and resources that I come upon in my search for ideas and tools that will nourish and sustain us all in our quest to push our work to the next level.
For me, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield is a fabulous discovery. I’m thinking of getting copies for everyone in my writing group and if I could, I’d gift all of you with one as well — that’s how valuable I think this book is: It’s brief, punchy, dynamite! It describes a rogues gallery of roadblocks to creativity, offers a game plan for combatting them, and summons up a thrilling vision of victory that is sure to get your juices flowing.
RESISTANCE: that’s the all-purpose name Michael uses to label anything that gets in the way of our doing our work and fulfilling our potential. RESISTANCE is the enemy of creativity — and it’s a sly adversary: “Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”
Procrastination, writer’s block, fear, giving in to failure, the demand for inspiration: these are just a handful of the many forms that resistance takes. It’s “the enemy within” — any and all of the self-sabotaging things we do that keep us from actually sitting down and doing the work we want to do and were meant to do. Every day we’re engaged in a battle with resistance. It’s only mission is to subvert our work and our only mission is to take whatever steps we need to to defeat it.
In Book Two of The War of Art called “Combatting Resistance: Turning Pro,” Michael lays out a step-by-step strategy for becoming a “professional” and committing fully to our work. In a nutshell, the key ingredients are: preparation, discipline, order, patience, the ability to persevere in the face of failure, and above all, mastery of our craft.
Whatever creative endeavor you’re giving your heart and soul to, you’re going to face resistance along the way. How you respond makes all the difference. The War of Art gives you a battle plan for making the shift from amateur to pro, for taking your calling seriously and inviting the muses to help you along. After reading this book twice, I’d say it’s one of the best investments in your creativity you can make. Write on!