The War of Art

One year ago, I asked my brother for two little books.

He came through — and I spent the couple of days after Christmas reading The War of Art and Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.

Like plenty of people before me, those books changed my life.

Steve’s big insight is that there’s a force in the world that opposes creative energy, which he calls Resistance. And, since we’re not taught to see or name it, we struggle to fight it: we go on building castles in the air without getting down to the hard work of laying their foundations.

The gift of these books is the naming of Resistance. For once it’s described so clearly, it can be named. And once it’s named, it can be called out.

And that turns out to be the simplest and most effective way to fight Resistance: “Oh, it’s you again. I know who you are and what you want. But I don’t want what you want. I’m getting back to work.”

That’s the simple-but-difficult work of turning pro. As Steve himself says, it’s free and available to everyone, but it’s sure not easy.