“The War Of Art” – Book Review

war of art

Inspiration is the result of the timeless communicating to the timebound. Eternity is in love with creations of time.

-Steven Pressfield

What’s “The War of Art“?

It’s a book about winning your creative battles and conquering procrastination.

It spoke to me because I frequently have to deal with “resistance” both internal and external while working on my personal mission. The concepts in this book transcend the creative process – they induce patterns of thinking conducive to solid inner-game.

The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.

Fear is an indicator that tells us what we HAVE to do. If a work or calling scares us, we can be certain that we must conquer it. We are cowards for not doing our work. Putting in work gives you direction. Those who will not govern themselves are destined to find others to govern over them. You already KNOW what you must do… it is up to you whether or not you will follow through with it.

There Lies An Immense Task In Front Of You

Are you willing to overcome resistance in all its forms in order to find meaning and fulfillment?

“The War of Art” has overlap with Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Both books emphasize work as the most important thing in life. Your inner-calling gives you purpose. Following through with actions will lead to fulfillment (albeit temporarily).

This inner-inspiration is separate from our personal lives. The part of ourselves that we create from cannot be touched by anyone or anything. Personal life has nothing to do with work. It is often our personal lives that obscure our inner-vision and end up holding us back.

Focusing on your work will erode the limits of the ego and align you with your true self. Individuals who are realized in their own lives almost never criticize others because they have freed themselves from their egos by exploring the realm of creation.

It’s One Thing To Study The War Of Art, And Another To
Live The Warrior’s Life

Are you an amateur or a professional?

A professional commits to his craft for life, while the amateur keeps multiple safety nets. If you truly want something, you must burn all paths of escape to ensure that you will push yourself to your limits. The professional takes on the project that will make him expand his limits. His work brings him into uncharted parts of the subconscious. Putting in work allows him to explore the limits of the self. The professional does not focus on the reception of his work, only on his technique.

If You Focus On Technique, You Allow Your Inner Genius To Make Its Way Into Your Work

All external chaos must be eliminated in order for the mind to be clear. The professional masters the HOW and leaves the WHY to the universe. He does not view himself as superior to his craft. You must appreciate the contributions of those who came before you. Become their apprentice.

All the greatest artists constantly changed themselves throughout their lives. Re-invent yourself from time to time in order to keep things fresh.

The professional cannot take humiliation personally. Know that your core is infinite and bulletproof. Everything always comes clean no matter what shitty externalities you must endure. Being in the arena forces you to take blows. You have to be willing to feel pain if you want to move forward.

The ultimate sin is pride/arrogance… When you over-identify as an artist, you become paralyzed and hesitate to create out of fear of judgement.

What if you aren’t as great as you think you are?

There’s Only One Way To Find Out…

Don’t wait for inspiration – act first and it’ll come to you.

Fear will always exist. It is only once you get into motion that the fear dimishes and you realize that you will be ok. The playing field will never be level. You have to play hurt… You cannot wait until things “feel right”. You must be prepared to confront your own self-sabotage.

Never Let Resistance Beat You

It is always better to get stomped in the arena than to be in the stands, or even worse… in the parking lot. Focus entirely on the moment… don’t look for excuses to fail. The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight, because it causes you to let your guard down.

Critics are simply externalized forms of resistance. Both praise and criticism come and go, but you’ll always remain…. facing your arena of choice. Envy-driven criticism is the ultimate compliment.

All Your Enemies Are Nameless And Faceless

Critics attempt to undermine your path as a projection of their own inner-resistance. It is never about you.

Any person who is satisfied with himself feels no need to criticize others.

The whole point of creation is to do whatever YOU think is interesting… leave the reception up in the air. Putting effort and love into your territory of choice funnels that same energy back towards you in the form of well-being.

A Territory Can Only Be Claimed Through Work

A territory returns exactly what you put in.

Do not confine your territory hierarchically. Work should always be done for sustenance, not impression/approval.

P.S. Still curious? Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Affiliate disclaimer: If you decide to purchase this book through one of these links, I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I rarely recommend products, but when I do, it’s because I’ve used them myself and trust them 100%.


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  1. njartist49 says

    Good post.
    One of the foremost things that has driven me to remain on course was an oath I gave my college mentor that I would remain an artist despite my economic conditions: at sixty-four and bankrupt, I endure.


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