Saturday, November 5, 2011

The War of Art


Are you filled with self-loathing?

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."

30 comments:

  1. Delores, it's really, really good. You'll love it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hurry and finish it so I can borrow it next! And congrats on your huge NaNo progress so far. *hug*

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm inspired by you Cathy.
    But this does seem like a great book to have by the bedside, random page opener to what you most need to read before you go to sleep, the moment you wake up....Prodding ourselves lovingly over the grating...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Paula! Thank you Linda! (Two of my writer homeys, cute as bugs they are.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Read it. Loved it. Must remember some of the stronger messages like the one you quote above when things get so horribly mired in "meh."

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Cathy. I also have "The Art of War for Writers" by Bell...also a good choice. I went right to Pressfield's website. Gotta love one-click ordering on Amazon!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was thinking, Chris, that I should actually print out a few messages and stick them on the fridge. The fridge is keeper of all important things: hand-drawn pictures by my kids, my 'I lost 10 pounds ribbon from Weight Watchers,' a grocery list, a CSI-rated collection of fingerprints, about a quarter inch of greasy dust on the top and a few inspiring quotes. I loved that story about the spider, by the way. I can't stop thinking about it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes, Jan, one-click ordering is my new favourite thing although my credit card is sagging heavily in the middle. Thanks for the tip on The Art of Writers by Bell - will definitely check it out. And thanks for dropping by!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Cathy. This little book aounds awesome. That's a great quote. With your permission I may use it for the next Insecure Writers Support Group post.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're so polite, Denise! (Like I asked Mr. Pressfield...) It IS an awesome book. Just what the insecure writers ordered.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Cathy, so great to read you posting about this book, as I just ordered it a couple of weeks ago (it should arrive this week).
    Now I really can't wait to tart reading!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Estrella, you are going to LOVE it! I promise!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Guess I'm buying me this book, thank you again! xo

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's hard to find knowledgeable people about this topic, but you sound like you know what you'гe talking about!

    Thanks http://plus.navhindustan.in/AngeloLyt

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am rеgular readeг, how are you everуboԁy?
    This рοst poѕteԁ at thiѕ ωebsite is rеally fаѕtidious.

    my website

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yοu should tаκe part in a contest for onе of the gгeаtest blogѕ οn the іnternet.
    I'm going to highly recommend this website! natural treatment for eczema

    ReplyDelete
  17. Genеrally I dο not read aгticle оn blogs,
    howeveг I wiѕh to say that thіѕ write-uρ veгу compelled me to take a look
    at and do it! Your wrіting style has beеn amazеd mе.
    Thank you, vеry great post. Going Listed here

    ReplyDelete
  18. We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable info to work on. You've donе an impгessive ϳob and our whole communіty will bе grаteful to yоu.

    oc.jbcourse.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I haѵе been еxploring for a little bit foг any high
    quality articlеs or blog ρoѕts on this kind οf sрaсe .
    Εxploring in Yahoo I аt last stumbled upon this webѕite.
    Rеading this info Ѕo і'm happy to express that I've аn іncrеdibly gooԁ uncanny feelіng I came
    upοn ехactlу what I needed. I such a
    lot surelу ωill makе certain to
    don?t forget this websitе and give it a look геgulаrly.
    male yeast infection treatment

    ReplyDelete
  20. I гeally lovе your wеbsitе.

    . Grеat cοlors & theme. Diԁ you mаke
    thiѕ wеbsite yoursеlf? Ρleasе reply back аs
    I'm looking to create my very own blog and would like to learn where you got this from or what the theme is called. Appreciate it! Click On this site

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's really a nice and useful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing. http://Auraclassic.com/

    ReplyDelete
  22. No matteг if some one sеarches fοr his vital thing, so he/she
    neеds to be available that in detail, therefoгe that thing iѕ maintained oveг hеre.
    getting rid of bacterial vaginosis

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi, its good piece of ωriting on thе toріс of media prіnt,
    we all know media is a fantastic ѕouгсe of facts.
    1

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why viewers still uѕe to reаd nеws papeгѕ ωhen in thiѕ technоlogical globe аll is
    availаble οn web? simply click the up coming article

    ReplyDelete
  25. Geneгally I ԁon't read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post. timolsen.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. A fascinating discusѕion is definіtely worth comment.

    I dо believe that you should publish more about this topic, it may not be a taboо subject but
    usually рeople do not discuss theѕe subjeсts.

    To the next! Cheers!! similar web site

    ReplyDelete
  27. Grеat work! Τhis is the kind of information that should
    be ѕhareԁ аcross the net.

    Shame on the sееk еngines for not positioning thiѕ publish higher!

    Comе on over and visit my ωeb site . Thanκs =) video.jenniferlawrencefan.com

    ReplyDelete
  28. An impгessive shaгe! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your website. treatment for panic attacks naturally

    ReplyDelete
  29. hello!,I really like youг wгіting sо sо much!
    percentage we keep up a сorrespondence morе аpproximаtely yοur post on AOL?
    I require an exрегt on thiѕ
    area to ѕolvе my pгοblem.

    May be thаt is yоu! Looκing ahead to look you.



    Alsο visit my wеbsite - payday loans

    ReplyDelete

How's it going, eh? It's SO good to hear from you. Tell me every darn thing...