THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield

Want to better understand the inner creative battle, why writing can be so difficult?

Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It is a slender volume, 159 pages, and often only a few sentences on a page. But they are the most power-packed words you might read. Wish I had read them early on this writer’s journey, but better late than never.

For instance, page 12, headed WHAT I KNOW, states: There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

Resistance is key. We just need to recognize it and not be taken in.

Take page 22, headed RESISTANCE IS INSIDIOUS

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.


Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North—meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.

We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

Published in 2002, The War of Art was just released electronically by Fast Pencil, a new eBook publisher.

The bottom line selling points come on the last page, down to the last paragraph:

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

As a personal testimony, I am writing on one of those gut-wrenching memoirs that I believe sharing can help other women in the same situation. But there is no end of things I can find to Resist sitting down and doing the work. After reading The War of Art, I vowed to write 2,000 words a day and so far it’s working, 12,000 words in the last six days. I can do this.

Only now I have to look at my Resistance to posting on my blog more frequently.

What is your Resistance to writing daily?


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