The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The War of ArtThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield is amazing. If you deal with creativity in your work or personal life, I can’t make a better recommendation.

I don’t know why I went so long without reading this book.

I had heard friends mention it in passing, but honestly hadn’t paid much attention to it.

Last year, I finally picked up the War of Art and finished it over Christmas break. I loved it.

Pressfield’s The War of Art is a must-read for any writer or artist.

This manifesto for creatives is essential for anyone longing to overcome “The Resistance” (the name of the force that prevents each of us from accomplishing our dreams.)

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When You’re Feeling Uninspired

I’m not feeling particularly inspired today. I don’t even want to write anything on this blog.

I’ve learned two vital lessons about what to do at times like these when I’m feeling uninspired. One is from Steven Pressfield, and the other is from Anne Lamott (via Ben Arment).

The first is this: Fight through the Resistance. Author of The War of Art Steven Pressfield explains in his book that there is a force warring against your creativity. It is called “the Resistance,” and it wants to keep you from your destiny.

You need to get up every day, expecting resistance, and fight through it.

You need to not wait for inspiration, but do your part by showing up. It’s up to the Muse to do the rest. Read the rest of this entry »

Write Every Day

Don’t write a lot. Just write often.

Spending five hours on a Saturday on a working project isn’t nearly as valuable as spending one hour per day for five days straight, or even 30 minutes per day every day of the week.

The idea is repetition – developing a discipline of showing up, making this a priority, and working through the Resistance.

It should come as no surprise that habits practiced once a week aren’t habits at all. They’re obligations. If you don’t do something, you often stop doing it altogether. Read the rest of this entry »

Write Less, Not More: How to Slice and Dice

One of my favorite essays on writing is “Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott.

Lamott’s thesis is this: All first drafts suck, so get it over already. (Really. That’s about her style, too.)

The point is to dismiss the myth that you can write something amazing on your first attempt, or that you should even try. It takes all the mysticism out of writing something that could be considered a stroke of pure genius — without even trying.

Most creatives want to be geniuses. There’s no question about that. But very few want to believe that something as dull as a drawn-out, disciplined process is what will get them there. Read the rest of this entry »

Write the Things Worth Writing

One of my favorite movie lines comes from the Rob Reiner film The American President, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening.

In the midst of a bunch of political melodrama, the president (Douglas) says, “We fight the fights we can win.”

And then, in a magical moment of movie history, the subservient speech writer Lewis (played by Michael J. Fox) who has stuck to his boss’s side throughout the years, retorts with defiance: “You fight the fights that need fighting!” It’s inspiring and compelling. Read the rest of this entry »