There are plenty of books out there about writing. In fact, there’s an unlimited amount of advice on every possible platform. Stephen King has done a particularly influential book, and I wonder if the market on ‘how to write’ doesn’t make up half the publishing world’s revenue. However, what Steven Pressfield’s book does is deal with the way creative minds deal with self-sabotage. He examines the strange behaviour of those close to people attempting to create, and discusses the mindset and sheer force of will required to make a success out of inner talent. Basically, something called ‘Resistance’ is out to stop you freeing your muse.
War of Art is a quick read, but contains some excellent advice and a very different perspective on being creative. The best part involves how to break through the dreaded ‘resistance’ but it’s a good study of the mental seizures that can hit once you try to create anything. Knowing what to look out for is definitely a good portion of the battle.
While in places it drifts into fairly spiritual musing, it also makes some very VERY good, very solid points about creating. The most important to actually CREATE. Gaining the mental discipline required to achieve this, building up the hard-headedness, summoning the sheer strength to continue creating, and making the time to make it happen is all dealt with. While it isn’t exactly a step by step guide, War of Art exposes the mental blocks that pop up, and it takes a strong line on dealing with fear and procrastination.
Best of all, it reminded me what was important in order to get the writing done, and that no matter how hard it is, the final result is always worth the fight and sacrifice. If you’re looking for inspiration when creating, or wondering why you can’t quite bring yourself to type a few words for that novel you’ve been planning, then War of Art is perfect to give yourself a healthy mental push.