Thursday, October 13, 2011

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

I just finished reading this powerful little book after recently finding myself devoid of any desire to paint for several weeks.

Steven Pressfield writes that "we don't tell ourselves, I'm never going to write my symphony." Instead we say, "I am going to write my symphony; I'm just going to start tomorrow." I can relate. 

Pressfield is better know as the writer of The Legend of Bagger Vance, (which was made into a movie with Matt Damon and Will Smith).  In this book about winning the inner creative battle, he talks about the major creative block we will ever encounter, Resistance, with a capital 'R' and how that keeps so many of us from doing that which we were destined to do.  Not exclusively as visual artists, writers, or creative types but those who have a "mission", or who aspire to "evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually" and for whatever reason, don't pursue it, as they know they should. 

This little absorbing book is divided into three sections. In the first section Pressfield describes Resistance in its many varied forms. The second part is spent on ways to combat it.  And the third is the most controversial part of the book where he talks about his muse, angels, and the  New Age type of mysticism  that many people believe in, but I personally can't relate to. However, I don't think you should let that detract from the important message he conveys.   

At 165 pages, I read it in no time but I plan on a second reading. Pressfield packs a lot of wisdom in his little tome and I highly recommend it, particularly if you know that you need a kick in the pants to do that "thing" which you are neglecting in your life. Read it!

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