Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The War Of Art

I am frequently on the lookout for books about art and creativity and especially for books about art AND creativity. I have previously written a fairly extensive post about the book entitled Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by Bayles and Orland here, here, and here . In my mind, this is the standard to which all books regarding art, creativity and the harnessing of creative energy should be compared. Art and Fear is a five star book if ever there was one and if you are interested in the arts, or in producing art, you should definitely get a copy.

Recently, I began reading another book dealing with the same type of issues of creativity and the production of artwork entitled The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Mr. Pressfield’s thesis is that there are an innumerable number of hindrances that one can find to inhibit the production of their artwork. He lumps them together as so called Resistances. The ability to identify these Resistances is an important first step in overcoming them, and overcoming them we must if we are to live a creative life and produce work that lives up to our inner potential. In fact, we can, by understanding these Resistances, learn to work through the things that would normally keep us from moving forward.

Overall, I feel there are some excellent and thought provoking ideas discussed in the book. At times I feel that Pressfield goes just a bit overboard but, nonetheless, after reading the book I do feel that I have a better understanding of how to get myself to move forward artistically and for that reason alone would recommend the book to anyone interested in these types of issues. Just understand that you might not agree with all Pressman’s ideas and conclusions (ie I found myself disagreeing with the premise that only when doing something professionally can you be fully committed to it). However, I guarantee that you will find many useful insights in this relatively short and quick read.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Pressfield's little gem of a book:

In regards to self-doubt about one's ability...

"Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are.

The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death."

In regards to fear...

"Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign.

Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do."

In regards to rejection....

"The professional keeps his eye on the doughnut and not on the hole. He reminds himself it's better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot"

Definitely a worthwhile book....I give it 4/5 stars.

by Howard

© Howard Grill