Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.
Did you make a resolution this year to spend more time on your craft? And by craft, I mean that thing which you love. Whether that craft is designing art jewelry, writing, or running a soup kitchen. What kind of progress have you made in your resolution? By February many resolutions have been given up. I’m guilty of it almost every year (except the years I don’t make them).
Why do we “give up” so quickly?
There are lots of theories….most of which probably have some validity.
A couple years ago I picked up the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield on a recommendation of a friend. It took a year before I finally sat down to read it about this time last year. It was a fascinating read. At times it get a bit new age-y woo woo sounding, but overall, it’s eye opening. However, I wasn’t ready for the message.
Because I let Resistance get in the way. And according to Pressfield, Resistance takes many forms. Some forms are surprising and unrecognizable if you aren’t aware.
Hitler wanted to be an artist…….Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him……it was easier for Hitler to start Word War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas. -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
I reread the book a couple weeks ago. Because I knew I was ready. Reading through it, I noticed passages I had highlighted. And ones I now think I should have highlighted instead. And there were parts I didn’t remember at all.
While it is written from the point of view of a writer and talks about writing, the book is aimed at all artists, and really, every single person. The information just about Resistance and how to overcome it, is invaluable.
In a nutshell, you must show up to work every day. You must put in the time even on days you don’t feel like it. Not feeling inspired? It doesn’t matter. Get to work even if all you make or do is garbage.
It sounds crazy, but it’s working for me. I have felt incredibly uninspired for a few months now. There are several factors/excuses (aka Resistance) However, as I work towards having regular set studio hours (maybe not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week…) the difference has been staggering. And exciting.
Pressfield sometimes tends to be a bit overdramatic about some things. And some of the points he tries to make in the 3rd part of the book seem forced, but overall it’s a good read, quick, and good for a swift kick in the pants, if that’s what you need.
Get to work!