The War of Art
Captain's Blog - Stardate 60410.2
One of the more influential books on my adult life as a professional artist is "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. It came highly recommended by LA casting director and teacher Bonnie Gillespie as a resources for perspective on being in this business. She was absolutely right.
It's been a year or two since I have read this book and I decided now was the time to revisit the text. It's a short read...165 pages and each "chapter" is really only between two and twelve paragraphs. But, I've decided also that the lessons and reminders in this book need regular repetition, so I'm working on a little "side project."
Each day, I'm taking an hour or so to record some of these chapters as an audio book. I'm sure there is one, but not recorded in my voice and certainly not underscored with the score from a variety of Star Trek episodes. In addition to the reread, its a bit of voiceover and production practice as well.
Why is this helpful? Well...rereading it is always helpful. But, I'm planning on making a playlist of the highlights that I think are most applicable to me and incorporating them into my meditation or my daily commute as a reminder or mantra.
The first section, which I've almost completed, is about Resistance. Simply put, Resistance comes in many forms and is a force, usually and primarily internal, that gets in the way of us doing our creative work.
On this particular read through, after my recent digestive discomfort (which came with a fair amount of fear connected to it), one particular section stood out to me more than before.
Doctors estimate that seventy to eighty percent of their business is non-health related. People aren't sick, they're self-dramatizing....The acquisition of a condition lends significance to one's existence....The condition becomes a work of art in itself, a shadow version of the real creative act the victim is avoiding by expending so much care cultivating his condition.
- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
As I look back on the last few months, I realize that I have allowed this form, and several others, of Resistance to block my work. Of course, it never feels that way at the time, but that's why I revisit this book from time to time. It's nice to check in and make sure that the focus is always getting back to doing my work.