The Pursuit of Writing

by · November 30, 20129 comments

I’m a writer. The day I figured out that was the best way to describe the essence of what I do, my craft, my calling … life made more sense.

Sure, I can blog. I can write a book. I can write silly emails to friends (and sometimes do for fun). It manifests itself in multitudes of ways, but regardless of what other labels people want to put on it, I’m best described as a writer.

As a creative type, though, I’m also quirky, often disorganized and overburdened with things I’ve said, “yes,” to. Finding the time to write, even when therapeutically the action is needed to keep me from going bonkers, is sometimes a challenge. Fortunately, I have people around me like Kat who can see when I need a kick in the pants.

She brought me Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art recently and told me I should read it. When Kat tells me I should read something, I should. So I did. And now I’m recommending it to you should you be a creative sort of any kind — writing, music, art.

The War of Art is an instructional manual for those needing to overcome Resistance. It is the force that keeps us from not only sitting down to commence work, but believing in our work, delivering it to an audience and putting that craft in its proper place — above most all else in our lives — to empower us to be more productive, fulfilled and successful.

I’ll leave the finer points to your reading, but here’s what I learned from The War of Art:

  • I am a writer first and foremost. I knew this, but the reaffirmation was nice.
  • Resistance is not just procrastination, but self-doubt, busy-ness, family needs, personal care and more. Anything that keeps you from practicing your craft and producing your art is Resistance. You have to fight it, always.
  • You can prescribe, schedule and force creativity. It’s all about developing the habit of doing so, which can’t be forced instantly. It takes time to build the habit. Once the habit is there, the creativity shortly follows.
  • Your writing doesn’t define you. You define it. The other way around and you’ll be miserable painted in that box.
  • It’s perfectly fine to spend hours, days, weeks, even months crafting something that doesn’t sell, succeed or even get consumed by another human, so long as it satisfies your need to create.
  • Success is measured best in the journey, not the destination. For the destination (sales, royalties, speaking engagements, etc.) will probably change, setting you on different journeys.

There’s a damn good chance that you have some project hanging over you. Maybe it’s professional — like the 2013 plan or that RFP for a new web design — but it could be personal — a touching short story you want to write about your mother or finally sitting down to sculpt the outline if your first novel. The only thing stopping you is Resistance.

Read The War of Art and you’ll not only understand, you’ll overcome.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Kirsten Lambertsen

    Going to get it now :)  Sounds like it could apply to any life’s “calling” regardless of the artiness of it.

  • Rolf Provan

    I think I might be one too…. a writer that is. Let me know when you have time for a coffee when you’re next in town. It’s time!

    • JasonFalls

      Shoot me a note, Rolf. I’m in town through December.

  • Ian Cleary

    Thanks Jason.  I’m on the hunt for some books to read over the holiday period at Christmas so I’ve added this to my list.  Ian

  • KatFrench

    I’m totally telling you that you have to read the Twilight books, now. #drunkwithpower

  • Emily Sandford

    I’ve been reading Pressfield’s short follow up to The Art of War, called Turning Pro. It’s about switching your mindset from that of an amateur to a pro. For example, if you always act like an amateur writer – doubting, taking months between writing, not continuously reading – you will always remain an amateur. Similar to Kobe or LeBron – they may have made it to the pros, but they still have to work at staying pro. Such a simple message, but one we often forget!

  • Jillyan Scott

    I am a writer, well not a big time writer. I mainly write when I have free time or about topics that I can relate to. Thank you for writing this article Jason it helped me understand that I need not be a published writer to consider myself a successful writer. Thank you.

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