the war of art-steven pressfield

“What are we trying to heal, anyway? The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain-free. He has to play hurt.” (48)

“Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you’re feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there’s tremendous love there too. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.” (42)

ah, so that’s where that came from. i wouldn’t be surprised if this man was a ball fan, a lot of his references and examples lead me to believe this, and i likes it. this is a quick read, but a good one. there isn’t anything new, but the idea of resistance (aka writer’s block aka paralysis aka “whatever you call that place that you are when you’re stuck) is really succinctly defined so you don’t have to waste any more time doing it.

oh, and this occurs within the first couple pages:

“You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it an overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.”

talk about opening strong. i appreciated the insight into artists’ relationships, and relationships with artists:

“Seeking support from friends and family is like having your people gathered around at your deathbed. It’s nice, but when the ship sails, all they can do is stand on the deck waving goodbye.” (51)

“But is it love? If we’re the supporting partner, shouldn’t we face our own failure to pursue our unlived life, rather than hitchhike on our spouse’s coattails? And if we’re the supported partner, shouldn’t we step out from the glow of our loved one’s adoration and instead encourage him to let his own light shine?” (29)

“Many pedestrians have been maimed or killed at the intersection of Resistance and Commerce.” (26)

“I learned this from Robert McKee. A hack, he says, is a writer who second-guesses his audience. When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for.
The hack condescends to his audience. He thinks he’s superior to them. (152)

i mean, the basic concept (still) is, and has been: ass in chair. get it done.

“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.” (90)

unless it’s glory hole.


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