Writing is hard. Actually, once you start writing, it isn’t that difficult; the words will usually flow.
But starting that word flow isn’t easy. Well, it isn’t really that tough. You start pressing or—as is often the case in the present day—touching the keys and words usually follow. After a couple words, there are dozens of words, then maybe even hundreds of words, depending upon your stamina.
What is really hard is finishing everything you need to do before you write. You are probably now thinking about the research, outlining, or maybe even coming up with an idea. And you perhaps anticipate that this article will follow through and give you some shortcuts to brainstorm, organize your ideas, or something like that.
Nothing of the sort.
Instead, I am talking about the stuff that most people feel like they have to do before writing. This is the real War of Art.
By that, I mean you must check your email, read and post on Facebook, read and post on Twitter, go to Starbucks to pick up a fancy coffee drink, use the bathroom, feed the dog, feed the cat, feed your kid, sand the floor, wax the car, paint the house, train for a Karate tournament, pick up the mail, brush your teeth (can’t write with smelly breath), make your bed (first time in a month), go to your yoga class , read and post on Twitter (again, after all the other activities), watch a cat video, read an article about the dangers of spending too much time online, throw in some laundry, wash the dishes, return a call, return another call, finish your taxes, complain to someone about your taxes, drink another fancy coffee, respond to text messages, read more blog posts on Success, Health & Lifestyle , read reviews of apps that can help you write more efficiently, check your Facebook newsfeed in case anyone has an opinion on anything, use the bathroom again (lots of coffee), go to your Crossfit workout , catch up on your favorite shows on Netflix, watch an old Seinfeld rerun (still funny), look at vacation rental options for your upcoming trip, discover that someone said something wrong on the internet and correct them in the comment section, read a book on working more efficiently , review some books on writing , respond to surprisingly angry people in comment section from before, mow the lawn, run to Starbucks for another fancy coffee, and then you can sit down and write.
(Perhaps your strategy to finish a to-do list should be to have a writing project for the day—you will do everything but write.)
So, as you can see, writing isn’t that difficult, but it is really hard and time consuming to do all the stuff you normally do before writing. It is obviously part of the process, isn’t it?
Not according to author, screen-writer, and your coach Steven Pressfield. In this thin, yet highly influential volume, Pressfield explains that The War of Art is really the war against Resistance. Resistance is anything that keeps you from actually doing your art—whether that is writing, painting, starting a business, or anything else.
Resistance tries to plague everyone and almost always succeeds, at least for a time. It comes in many shapes and isn’t always obvious. But it is almost always there, trying to stop you from your craft. You know what it is—Steven Pressfield gave it a name and tells you how to overcome it.
The answer is that you move from the amateur ranks to become a professional. You will have to read The War of Art to learn how. But Pressfield lays it out there.
It isn’t a surprise that this book is an influential classic for writers and artists and anyone else that wants to accomplish something important.
This book isn’t about how to write, but how to clear all the other stuff out that you feel like you have to do before you write. Writing isn’t that hard—it is the stuff before it that keeps people from writing.
Read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and maybe it won’t take so long for you to get started with your writing.