Last time I talked about this great book I’ve been reading, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.
We left off talking about Resistance, that great force that keeps us from doing anything better with our lives. I’ve only touched the surface here. The book gave me a lot to think about. As a creative type, I’m always trying to further understand the creative process and what I can do to help it along and what I need to do to protect it from withering up and blowing away.
I’ve picked up a couple of other books lately on the subject and I’ll share my thoughts about them, too, in another post.
What impressed me most about Pressfield’s solution to Resistance is that you best battle it by what we as writers have been told over and over to do: show up. Put your rear in the chair and write. Pressfield calls it turning Pro.
When you pick up on what your particular susceptibility to Resistance is, then you can be aware of it. When you finally figure out what “turning Pro” means to you, then you can fight the battle.
Pressfield has ten items that would characterize most of our income-earning daily jobs. He then says we need to apply those same items to our creative life. Things like showing up every day whether we feel like it or not, staying all day whether we feel inspired or not. These kinds of things seem like no-brainers when we apply them to our income-earning jobs, but why don’t we take the same approach to our creative work?
I suspect you’ll find some item on the this that will make you go “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?” This part of the book particularly fascinated me. Chip MacGregor talked on his blog recently about being a professional writer and how the turning point came for him when he began treating his writing like a business. Much of his advice lines up with Pressfield’s.
Why don’t we treat our writing or whatever creative or self-improvement endeavor the same way we do a job? What is it in our minds that makes it different or an exception to the rules that we apply to other kinds of work? These are the questions that I find interesting to ponder.
And if I ponder them too long, become just another path for Resistance to attack.
Next, more books on the process of creativity.