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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