The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

Book review by Deane Barker tags: creativity

This is sort of a “Devotional” about the art of creating anything. The chapters are very short (1-2 pages), and they’re written in a lyrical style, center-aligned down the middle of the page. Some of them are almost poem-like.

It’s main focus is to try to get you (1) to understand the subconscious force that stops you from creating (“The Resistance”), and (2) to mentally move you to the ranks of “professional,” who has an entirely different relationship to their work. Ex: the amateur is emotionally connected to the work, while the professional maintains detachment from it.

In the end, I don’t know that the book offers much new information. More than anything, it lets you commiserate with someone who creates for a living (the author is a novelist and screenwriter), and know that there are other people who suffer the same way you do. This is valuable, but if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, this isn’t it.

I did enjoy it. I closed the book more convinced that I wasn’t crazy when I struggled to write (or to even start writing). As it turns out, you’re not alone – creating anything sucks for everyone.

Book Info

Steven Pressfield
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