On Finishing “The War of Art”

So 24 hours later, I’m through Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.  Without looking back at my notes and highlights, here are the take-aways for me, the specifics the little voice inside me is urging me to pay attention to.

  • Stop speculating about art’s mysteries.  Be a craftsman.  Make the work.  Every day.  The mysteries will show up.  
  • Be a pro, and be ruthless about it.   You may or may not get paid, but that’s beside the point.  Really beside the point. 
  • Resistance” is ever present and you can count on it being ruthless about what its up to.  It is out to destroy you. 
  • Criticism is not the enemy.  Humiliation is not the enemy.  Failure is not even close to being the enemy.  “Resistance” is the enemy. 
  • Learn to enjoy being miserable.  Pro athletes know they will play with pain every day.  You thought it wouldn’t hurt?  Dumb. 
  • If I don’t work, inspiration won’t bother.   If I do, power gathers around, hovering, nudging, gifting, pouring out. 
  • Question: who do I cheat if I don’t answer the call of what I’ve been given?  The only when is now.  “I’ll start tomorrow” is a lie. 
  • Transcend Ego.  The Self you were given by God isn’t there.  
  • Be territorial, not hierarchical.   That means work for the sustenance it brings, not to compare and assess against others. 
  • Would you do what you’re doing if you were the last person on earth? 
  • We have allies on earth and in heaven.  Make worlds they want to walk in. 
  • Do what you’ve been given to do.  Spending time figuring out what the market wants is the hand of Resistance encircling your neck. 
  • This work is not selfish, it is serving the earth and its people by playing your role in the inch by inch movement back to God. 
  • Finish.  Finish.  Finish.   
Do I agree with everything Steven Pressfield says?  No.  Are there theological problems?  Well, for lots of folks there will be, especially in the last section.   But not for me (not really, though if you complained, I’d understand); I don’t read it as a religious text, but as a powerful, right-between-the-eyes riff on the nature of how art making really works.   We kid ourselves if we think Pressfield is far off.
Pretty thrilling read, really.
Rebooted me, for sure… 

4 Replies to “On Finishing “The War of Art””

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