The War of Art
Notes by David E. Goldberg
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
[email protected]
The Text
• Pressfield, S. (2002). The war of art:
Winning the inner creative battle. New
York: Rugged Land.
• Pressfield is author of The Legend of
Bagger Vance and other books.
What Pressfield Knows
• Writing isn’t hard.
• Sitting down to write is hard.
• Resistance prevents us from sitting down
to write (or design, or start a company, or
invent, or ???).
The Unlived Life v. the Life We Live
• Resistance is the distance between the
two.
• Ever
– Quit a diet?
– Stop exercising?
– Give up on a dream?
• The “what if I got cancer tomorrow?” test.
Resistance’s Greatest Hits
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Writing, painting, dance, music.
Entrepreneurial activity.
Diet or health regime.
Program of spiritual advancement.
Program to overcome addiction.
Education.
Act or moral or political courage.
Commitments of the heart.
Internal vs. External Opponents
• Resistance is internal.
• Often blamed on others.
• Pat Riley calls them “peripheral
opponents.”
Resistance is
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Insidious: it lies.
Implacable: like Jaws.
Impersonal: Just business.
Infallible: More important, more resistance.
Universal: Happens to all.
Fueled by fear: Like Star Trek episode.
More powerful at the finish line:
Manifestations
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Procrastination is job one.
And it can become a habit.
Sex?
Trouble (seeking attention).
Self-dramatization.
Self-medication.
Victimhood.
Resistance Feels Like
•
•
•
•
Unhappiness.
Unalleviated.
Clinical: depression
Buy stuff to overcome.
Criticism of Others
• Sign of resistance.
• Can’t stand thought of others succeeding
while we are blocked.
Isolation as Necessary
• Solitude with your thoughts is not being
alone.
• Writer with reader.
• Artist with viewer.
• Entrepreneur with customer.
Combating Resistance
• Turning Pro: Sit down regularly to do what’s
necessary.
• Difference between urgent and important.
• Do the important.
• Pro’s already: At our jobs.
–
–
–
–
–
–
Show up everyday.
Show up no matter what. Don’t over-identify with
Stay all day. Learn technique
Committed for long haul. Have sense of humor.
Stakes high and real. Accept remuneration.
Accept praise or blame in the real world.
Pros Love Their Work
•
•
•
•
•
Do it out of love.
Are patient.
Seek order.
Demystifies.
Endures adversity.
Beyond Resistance
•
•
•
•
Making a start.
Keep going: Improvement and revision.
Authentic self: Tabula rasa’s are not us.
A hack: someone who second guesses his
audience.