This week on the War of Art readalong at Joy’s Book Blog we’re reading Book Two: Combating Resistance, Turning Pro. The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield, is subtitled “Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” and it’s filled with short pieces on the artist and resistance.
It’s interesting, but I didn’t find Book Two as compelling as I did the first part of the book, on recognizing resistance. It may be that I’m in a different space this week – tired, on the edge of burnout, a little frustrated – but the different pieces in Book Two aren’t sinking in the way the words in Part One did.
The piece I enjoyed the most was “We’re all pros already”, where Pressfield points out we’re all pros at one thing already, our jobs. He then goes on to identify the qualities that define us as professionals in our work life and how, when we “turn pro”, we can apply these same principles to our artistic lives.
These principles make sense me to me; they are the principles I’m already applying to my work life. Things like showing up to do the job, no matter what, staying on the job the entire day, commitment to our jobs, the high stakes of our work, the fact of remuneration, not over-identifying with our jobs, these are definitely principles I can apply to my writing – well, other than the fact of remuneration. I’d love to apply that particular principle to my fiction writing, but I’m definitely not there yet.
And perhaps that’s the crux of it for me, right now. With all the paying work deadlines I have on the table, I’m just not in the right space for this part of the book. Keeping true to my commitment to my writing has been challenging the past week or so, and even though I’ve been doing it, I’m too tired to feel the success of staying committed.
One other piece really resonated with me:
There’s no mystery to turning pro. It’s a decision brought about by an act of will. We make up our mind to view ourselves as pros and we do it. Simple as that.
Reading these words made me remember it’s all a choice. And that maybe I should just trust in the remuneration part coming, and learn to say “no” more often when it comes to my work life. Simply choose to stay committed to this writing thing that has always been what I’ve wanted to do, all my life.
And along with finishing my reread of The War of Art for this readalong, I’m also looking forward to reading the rest of Pressfield’s books for writers: see what arrived in the mail for me yesterday from Joy!
The publisher had heard about our readalong and sent along a whole set of the Stephen Pressfield books for both readalong participants and also as giveaways. Joy has already held one giveaway already – I just checked and see that my writer friend Janel Gradowski won that one! – and it looks like Joy will be holding another giveaway of a set of Pressfield’s books tomorrow, so do make sure to hop over to Joy’s Book Blog tomorrow and enter if you’d like a chance at winning a set of these books!