No, I didn’t type that backwards and actually mean “The Art of War”… I mean The War of Art* – a fabulous book all artists should have on their nightstand.  Written by Steven Pressfield, this book is an insightful, easy to read look at … The War of Art.

I bought this book about a year and a half ago when someone at a conference recommended it.  It sat on a shelf in my studio, staring at me, wondering when I might actually open the pages.  Then a few weeks ago I was talking with the fun and talented artist Elisabeth Bell and she asked if I’d ever read the book.  I replied, “No, but it’s right here on my shelf staring at me!”

She couldn’t say enough good things about it so I finally picked up The War of Art*- you should too.

The War of Art talks all about resistance – or the inner struggle we as artists have to actually get the work done.  The principles can apply to all sorts of things we are putting off or procrastinating about, but it’s written with writers and artists in mind.

The book is divided into three sections –

  • Book 1: Resistance – Defining the Enemy
  • Book 2: Combating Resistance – Turning Pro
  • Book 3: Beyond Resistance – Higher Realm

The books are divided into short, easy to read and absorb chapters with catchy titles like “How to Be Miserable” and “Resistance Recruits Allies”.  Some of the chapters are 1/2 page long – others are a whopping 3-4.  I have found myself reading a few topics when I’m feeling resistance – the urge to watch tv or take a nap when I have work to be done.  Or sometimes I read a bit before falling asleep – hoping to absorb the lessons in overcoming resistance.

Steven Pressfield contends that it is resistance that is keeping us from the life we want.  Read it and see if you agree – I do.

I’ve been feeling a lot of resistance in different areas of my life lately – resistance to change the way I eat and exercise, resistance to stay inside and get my work done when it’s actually sunny in Portland and looks like perfect walking weather… sometimes the resistance is to go on the walk, I’d rather watch tv or talk on the phone.  One of my strategies to overcome this resistance when it seems it might get the best of me is to go read a section or two of The War of Art*.  It’s sometimes funny, it doesn’t sugar-coat things and it always makes sense.  Most importantly, it helps me to see that I’m just experiencing a little resistance and if I don’t give in, I’ll be better off in the end.

So if you sometimes struggle to get started or make changes or stay on the right path, I highly recommend you check out this book!

Here’s to your creative – low-resistance – success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  To see more books I turn to time and again, be sure to check out the RESOURCES page on this blog.