The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield is one of those books that keeps popping up on recommended reading lists that I come across. So I finally picked it up and read it. And I am so glad that I did. I loved it, it was a quick read and it feels like a kick in the ass (just like the quote on the cover says it is).
The theme throughout the book is overcoming resistance. Resistance comes in many forms and keeps us from achieving works of our art, whatever those may be.
Here are my favorite quotes from the book:
“Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”
“Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work. Don’t do it. If you’re doing it, stop.”
“The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
“The professional tackles projects that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.”
“The amateur has not mastered the technique of his art. Nor does he expose himself to judgment in the real world. If we show our poem to our friend and our friend says, ‘It’s wonderful, I love it,’ that’s not real-world feedback, that’s our friend being nice to us. Nothing is as empowering as real-world validation, even if it’s for failure.”
“A professional accepts no excuses.”
“A professional recognizes her limitations…She know she can only be a professional at one thing. She brings in other pros and treats them with respect.”
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.”
“We’re too distracted by our own nonsense.”
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
If you are having trouble getting started with anything, read this book. It is wonderful motivation to get off you ass and just get started.