The last in The War of Art Series. The first post looked at the enemy of resistance; the second post discussed the importance of being a professional; and in this last post I’ll cover the third section that explains how to overcome resistance and produce, what I shall call for the benefit of this article, art.
The first important lesson, of the third section, that is told in Steven Pressfield’s – The War of Art is that the most important thing that you can do is start working. The whole reason that being a professional is so important is that it drives you to sit down and work every day, and this alone is the graft that then produces the craft. Pressfield uses the analogy of angels bringing with them the magic that happens when an artist sits down to work. The mysterious inspiration that appears as soon as you need it.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.” – W.H.Murray (The Scottish Himalayan Expedition)
I completely agree with his idea that its as if angels are on the other side of a pane of glass trying to talk to us but we can’t hear them, that is until we start working and our minds can suddenly hear their voices. Starting, is one of the most powerful, beautiful forces in the universe, but finishing means we’re professional.
The other stand out part of the book for me was the recognition of your authentic self. He describes how there is a difference between the ego and the self; the ego being planted in the conscious world where as the self is more ethereal and unconscious. When you act from your authentic self your actions are automatic, they are clean and resistance free, they are energised by forces that we couldn’t even start to understand.
The authentic self cannot exist in a hierarchy, an artist cannot exist in a pecking order. In order to produce the best material we can, we must be free to create what is inside of ourselves rather than be influenced by what we believe of the stuff outside.
The book as a whole is a source of wisdom and knowledge that is priceless in a world of self-doubt, inner demons, writers block, unconventional lifestyle, marketing, and opinion. This book has given me an inner strength that has helped me to understand better the forces that operate within me and how I can influence those forces for the good.
The War of Art is exceptional. It’s brief yet concise; eloquent yet simple, and I recommend it to any artist but especially to writers.