alt="book cover for the war of art

Review: The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield

Reviewer: Ubamara Ezenobi

“The Writer will take on any job when he is running away from writing”.

The War of Art focuses on the enemy of the writer, and how to tackle him. This enemy is resistance.

Steven Pressfield displays mastery in this book particularly in the simplicity with which he conveys his message. He uses movies and well-known creatives to enhance his descriptions. A victim of Resistance for a good number of years – has been able to master the phenomenon. He is quick to point out, however, that Resistance is an enemy that turns up daily, it is internal, one that never goes away.

By Resistance, Pressfield means the force that makes us put away our work, our calling, to a later date. Procrastination is only a part of it. Fear of failure and even fear of success are also legitimate concerns for the creative. Pressfield goes in-depth.

He also distinguishes between the amateur and the professional. The amateur creative doesn’t know there’s an enemy trying to stop her from becoming all that she really is. Or perhaps she knows Resistance but underrates him. The professional, on the other hand, does not underrate Resistance. She keeps a watch on him. She knows that Resistance has the power to cripple her career, her calling, her life.

The pro shows up every day and on time, unlike the amateur who treats it as a hobby. The pro treats her work as a business, unlike the amateur who treats it as a passion. The pro is in it for the money, but she’s also in it for the sake of the art itself; who better to write what has been handed down to her by the heavens, if not her?

So in everything Pressfield says, he says one thing in particular: Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

“There’s a secret that real writers know that the wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.

What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”