The War of Art is a powerful examination of the creative process focussing on how to identify, defeat and overcome the powerful internal obstacles that limit our ability to act upon our natural creativity.
The War of Art Summary
Steven Pressfield is an accomplished writer and former US Marine who has mastered the process of creation. As an author of several fiction and nonfiction as well as screenplays, he writes from the hip about what it takes to overcome the urge to procrastinate.
Speaking of creative “Resistance” to describe the metaphysical forces that hold us back from creation, Steven offers up a process for overcoming writer’s block and powering on as a professional.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- Creative resistance is an invisible, internal, insidious, impersonal and universal force that keeps us locked in a state of fear when attempting to create.
- Resistance is most powerful at the finish line and shows up in various forms throughout the process including sex, rationalisation, comparisons, self-criticism, doubt and depression.
- To overcome resistance, we must treat our artwork as a professional rather than an amateur.
- To be a professional, we need to show up consistently, create for the love of the work and treat our creation with the same attitude as we treat our jobs.
- The most important part of the creative process is simply showing up everyday as inspiration only works when you do.
- The magic of showing up unlocks the universal energy that allows us to create. Once we offer ourselves to the process, forces coalesce to enable great works of art to be written.
- We don’t have the right to the fruits of our labour, only to the labour itself. This is reflected in the Bhagavad Gita as the warrior ethos.
- Consequently, it’s important to write territorially rather than hierarchically as the universe is too expansive to allow energy-sapping comparisons.