By Tiffany Young
For anyone looking for a swift kick in the butt to get started on their novel, painting or any other endeavor, “The War of Art—Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield delivers.
The book is broken into three books, with the first focusing on resistance. Resistance, Pressfield says, comes down to anything—good or bad—keeping you from your opus (More on finding your opus when I write my review of Thomas Moore’s “A Life at Work”—excellent!).
Many forms of resistance have appeared throughout my life: procrastination, rationalization, fear—Check!
Book two focuses on the professional aspect of creating. The number one rule, it seems, is showing up. You’ve probably heard it before, but that’s what separates the writers from non-writers—writing! Imagine that. Ever met someone that says they’re a writer, but when asked what they’ve written, they haven’t actually started?
Book three is where the book moves from reasons why you may not create and setting yourself up for creative success to persuading the reader that they were made to create and that artworks are from another realm.
This both takes some pressure off the artist, while adding to it at the same time. Relief comes when the realization hits that it’s not even our piece of art being rendered—there are muses or angels or whatever you’d like to call them whispering what to do next—hence screenwriters who say they don’t develop their plots, they just appear as scenes flashing in their mind.
The scary part, however, is in Pressfield’s final pages, “You shame the angels who watch over you and the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along on its path back to God.”
Pressfield essentially tells us we are robbing humanity of something great if we are not contributing to society with our God-given gifts—Wow! I take it back … a kick in the butt would feel better.
Though this book leans toward the spiritually driven, I’d suggest it to anyone struggling with productivity in their unique talents.
Don’t worry about some long, boring book; Pressfield keeps it to 163 pages—most of them incomplete. When he’s finished with one point, he moves on to a new page and a new point with quick and poignant stories to motivate.