Do you feel uncomfortable calling yourself a writer? Or a painter? Or whatever creative activity it is you want to try but you're numb with indecisiveness and paralyzed with fear?
That's my hand up in the air, waving furiously. Yours too?
Then you need to read the book I'm reading. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (author of The Legend of Bagger Vance) is the best, skinniest, smartest smack in the face I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It's like a cuff upside the head. It's like Cher in Moonstruck slapping Nicholas Cage in the face and yelling
"SNAP OUT OF IT!"
I was angsting, as usual, at my writers' group meeting when my friend Dawn suddenly stood up and said, "I have a book you need to read," and she went and fetched The War of Art.
Wow, Dawn, I owe you big, my friend. This was exactly the common sense kick in the arse I so desperately needed.
The point of the book is that we human beings constantly battle Resistance, a soul-sucking internal device that stops us from doing the creative things we were born to do. This tiny tome is not a typical self-help book, which I would loathe. This is just straight talk from someone who knows what he's talking about.
Here's one of my favourite sections, entitled Resistance and Self-Doubt:
"Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), 'Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?' chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death."