Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The War of Art

While on my latest Artist's Date at Barnes and Noble Booksellers I came across a book I've been hearing about titled The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.  Since reading and using The Artist's Way series to try to figure out why I have such a hard time going to the studio, this other book kept popping up.  Seeing it at the book store felt like it was meant to come home with me.  Even though I really enjoy borrowing books from the library, this one in particular was one I wanted to own.  I know this kind of book is the kind that I need to go back to pages to re-read, crease the spine, pencil in notes in the margins, a well used book.

When I opened the book to skim through at the store I knew it was for me.  Same idea as in The Artist's Way, but more in the style of New York City street talk.  Tough and to the point language.  The Artist's Way is a more cerebral, ethereal, methodical, useful course, which I am totally enjoying and it's working for me.  The War of Art is plain in the sense that in way fewer words and pages, it lays it all out in straight out English.  It's a quick kick in the pants to get you in the creative mode, fast.  Boom!

The author, Steven Pressfield, has written The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Gates of Fire, among other books.  In this book he's talking about the artist having a hard time sitting down to do their art.  He calls it Resistance and his book is about the secret to overcoming it.  Resistance is what keeps us separated from our calling, whatever that happens to be.  He asks why do we have to hear the doctor say "You have six months to live" to do all the things we always wanted to do in life?  

Why "does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence?" 
"If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business.  Prisons would stand empty.  The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmeceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom.  Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addictions, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff."
Mind you, this is just the introduction!  This is going to be a fun read I can tell you that right now.  It's a take no prisoners, no B.S., sharp as a tack approach to the artist's block. 

Taking these two different approaches together, I think, is going to be powerful.  I'll let you know how it goes as I continue reading this.  Wish me luck!


  1. This book sound great and bracing! I'll see if I can find it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I like books without the mystique and the bullshit.

  2. Hi Lrc! Yeah, no BS in this book and it's short and sweet. Everything has it's time and place. After doing the Artist's Way course this is another swift kick in the butt, for sure!


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