I finished The War of Art (Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles) by Steven Pressfield a couple of days ago. I wish I could quote a few things, but I had to return it to the library. So this will be some thoughts from the book.
First of all, I don’t think I would have picked this book if it hadn’t been recommended to me by David duChemin. I should clarify that. First, I was certain that David had recommended it, but it was actual recommended by another of Davids blog readers on the previously linked post. David then commented that he was currently reading it. I then reserved it at the library, and a few months later, it was my turn. It is either popular, or someone had “lost” it for awhile.
So why wouldn’t I have picked this book? Well, I don’t really like “self help” type books, and I would have pegged it as one of those. Even when I got the book and glanced over it, I thought “oh crap”, not one of those. In the end, I was wrong to be wary of the book. First, it doesn’t seem so “self help” like. To me a self help¬† book would be about looking at the past, or even looking at what you will do in the future. This book is all about the present. The biggest take away I got from this book is asking myself the question “What am I doing right now that keeps me from my art?” Substitute for art: photography and goals.
I don’t have the page right now, but there was somewhere towards the end of the book where it hit me: I had let resistance overtake me. It took me quite awhile into the book before I finally figured it out. I remember commenting on blogs about not understanding how people could be worried about how their photographs were perceived, or how they could be so critical about themselves and their work, and how they could get into a creative funk.
That was before I decided that I was a photographer. Now I wanted to make money at this. Now I have a website. Now I wanted everyone to like my pictures, and feared that no one would. Now I have doubts. It was while reading some of the later parts about the difference between amateurs and professionals that it hit me. I am not doing this full time yet, but I was trying to make money at it, and much of the stuff he wrote about resistance felt true. I was surprised wen I realized it, both because I hadn’t thought that resistance was something that applied to me, and also because I had got something out of a “self help” book.
Other than examining your battle with resistance, there are many quotes in here that relate to photographers. Lots of material that can provide you with at least one take away. For such a short book, it is a no brainer to recommend.