This is one of those books that, as a creative, you really need to read. Because it is just a swift kick in the pants accompanied with the question of “Why aren’t you pursuing what you REALLY want out of life? What you were put on this earth to do?”
I love that, in life thus far, I’ve made my 20s the decade to discover what it is I love—and want to pursue–with the time I have ahead of me. Sureee, I face Resistance every day in the form of bills that need paid, responsibilities aplenty, and a brain that loves to over-rationalize everything, but at 29, I’ve safely determined that I was born to be a creator. An artist. Sometimes the creation is in photographs. Other times, in words…but there is no question what-so-ever that I am happiest when I am either behind the camera or writing.
There is a passage in “The War of Art,” about what Resistance feels like, that really resonated with me because, having gone months and months without shooting this winter, it reminded me so much of the way I was feeling as the season wore on:
“We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the source. We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party. We feel unloved and unlovable. We’re disgusted. We hate our lives. We hate ourselves.”
I wasn’t depressed per say, but a few of Pressfield’s descriptors (bored, restless, unsatisfied) were pain points for me, something that, now that I’m back to shooting again, I feel falling away with the satisfaction of once more doing something I love.
Reading “The War of Art” at the time I did was also good for me because it’s been a reaffirming way to pause and consider why I haven’t pursued a few other dream goals in life——chiefly the ideal of writing more. So, as the author writes, the best thing to do is just to start. Start writing. Start getting serious about the craft. And if you do, the Muse will come.
A few more nuggets I wrote down to retain:
• The more scared we are of a calling, the more we have to do it.
• There never was a moment, and there never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.
• If you believe in God, you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.
• The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that. he recognizes it as reality.
• If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends) “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are.
And I realize that not all of these books I’m reading and slugging “business” are really business, but more creative-focused. Yet, for the purpose of what I like to read them for (ie, a creative business), I think there’s merit to lumping them into this genre.