There have been a three books about creativity and the work of an artist in this year’s Books of Titans reading list. They are Bird by Bird, The Artist’s Way, and this one, The War of Art. The War of Art was the shortest and packed the biggest punch. I loved it. It spoke right to my heart and covered a number of topics I’ve been thinking about for many years.
One of the main ideas in the book is that of Resistance. It’s the enemy within. We don’t pursue our greatest feats, don’t unleash our best work because of Resistance. Anyone who has sat down and tried to create knows Resistance as a close, personal, and demonic acquaintance.
Resistance is fertile.
As in the other two books on creativity, this one also delves into the spiritual. It has to. You cannot discuss art and creativity without acknowledging a source. Steven Pressfield, the author of this book, talks about true artists having a certain modesty because they know they are merely taking dictation from a higher source.
One thing I found very helpful was Pressfield’s acknowledgement that the part we create from is not the part of us that can be sullied or ruined by others. Our creative self is deeper than that. Pain from others should not keep us from creating (though it is often used as an excuse to keep from doing so).
I got through this book in a few hours and I’m a slow reader. This should be at the top of your list of you are an artist, a creative type, or are interested in healing so that you can pursue your art.