War of Art

April 29, 2010 at 10:19 am 2 comments

Quatre Muses: Euterpe, Polihímnia, Clio, Melpòmene, Museu de Cirene

Originally uploaded by Sebastià Giralt

Euterpe (muse of music and lyric), Polyhymnia or Polymnia (muse of sacred song and rhetoric), Melpomene (muse of tragedy), Museum of Cyrene, Libya.

Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles.

Steven Pressfield is a writer, best known for The Legend of Bagger Vance.  In the book, War of Art,  he talks about writing as a metaphor for the work that you do and all work can be called art.


Writing isn’t the hard part – sitting down to write is the hard part. And yet, if our lives or those around us are on the line, we develop the focus and the drive to get the work done.

“Is that what it takes? Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance?”

Overcoming Resistance

It takes work everyday to overcome resistance.  We all have that voice in our heads telling us our ideas are stupid, that people will laugh, that we shouldn’t even bother because we should read another book, clean the house, check our email or some other very important task.

I’ve heard many strategies to overcome the resistance.  Some people name their voice and talk to it, some recognize the voice and just work through it and some people accept the voice as a needy part of themselves and comfort it.  In all cases, to overcome the resistance, people do it.  Whatever they are afraid of, they do it, anyway.  Whether the reason, ignore or comfort that voice, they go ahead and do it – whatever the it is that they want to do.

Beyond Resistance

Steven talks about invoking the muses – the creative force.

One can call them forth, focus on them, clear one’s mind for them whether through prayer, meditation, ritual or going into the flow.

Some believe that all creation is just waiting to be recognized and brought to life, much like Michaelangelo releasing the statue from the marble.

Steven talks about “effacing your human arrogance and humbly entreating help from a source we cannot see, hear, touch or smell.”

The War of Art is a slim volume of pure motivation to just do it – whatever the it is that we want to do.  He talks about the resistance that Seth and Martha Beck also call the Lizard Brain.  He gives us the tools and the inspiration to move beyond that voice in our heads and into the work that calls us.

Entry filed under: 3. Do It, Book Report. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kamil Ali  |  May 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Great sharing Frances. Thanks!

    I think I should read that book now. Do you think reading Linchpin is enough?

    Writing isn’t the hard part – sitting down to write is the hard part.
    Yes, the mood is a lizard brain here!

    Keep writing and sharing great stuff!

  • 2. Frances Schagen  |  May 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks Kamil
    I really enjoyed Linchpin and I’m such a book geek that I’m making my way through the recommended reading in the back. War of Art was number 1


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