Wednesday, February 6, 2013

the War of Art

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.

Did you make a resolution this year to spend more time on your craft? And by craft, I mean that thing which you love. Whether that craft is designing art jewelry, writing,  or running a soup kitchen. What kind of progress have you made in your resolution? By February many resolutions have been given up. I'm guilty of it almost every year (except the years I don't make them).

Why do we "give up" so quickly?

There are lots of theories....most of which probably have some validity.

A couple years ago I picked up the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield on a recommendation of a friend. It took a year before I finally sat down to read it about this time last year. It was a fascinating read. At times it get a bit new age-y woo woo sounding, but overall, it's eye opening. However, I wasn't ready for the message.

Because I let Resistance get in the way. And according to Pressfield, Resistance takes many forms. Some forms are surprising and unrecognizable if you aren't aware.

Hitler wanted to be an artist.......Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat was easier for Hitler to start Word War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas. -Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Glass headpin bouquet #lampwork #glassaddictions jen cameron

I reread the book a couple weeks ago. Because I knew I was ready. Reading through it, I noticed passages I had highlighted. And ones I now think I should have highlighted instead. And there were parts I didn't remember at all.

While it is written from the point of view of a writer and talks about writing, the book is aimed at all artists, and really, every single person. The information just about Resistance and how to overcome it, is invaluable.

In a nutshell, you must show up to work every day. You must put in the time even on days you don't feel like it. Not feeling inspired? It doesn't matter. Get to work even if all you make or do is garbage.

It sounds crazy, but it's working for me. I have felt incredibly uninspired for a few months now. There are several factors/excuses (aka Resistance) However, as I work towards having regular set studio hours (maybe not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week...) the difference has been staggering. And exciting.

Pressfield sometimes tends to be a bit overdramatic about some things. And some of the points he tries to make in the 3rd part of the book seem forced, but overall it's a good read, quick, and good for a swift kick in the pants, if that's what you need.

Get to work!

-Jen Cameron
Glass Addictions


  1. I def need to set up regular hours and show up every day. Good advise. Thanks.

  2. Wonderful Jen! I just came to the same conclusion recently. I realized I needed to make my work/art a priority and not let other things get in the way. It was suggested to me set aside hours that are non negotiable, just like a "real" job. I must show up during those hours. I am finding it to be VERY transforming! I think I should take a look at this book.

  3. How spooky - I set myself the regular hours goal to get myself ready for April shows without going 'doo-lally'...started yesterday - so far so good!

  4. "80% of success is just showing up." Generally attributed to Woody Allen.

  5. This sounds like an interesting book. I do meet with resistance. I had determined, at the end of 2012 that I set my goals too broad.....and that scattered my energies. I made a plan for this year and made specific goals. Instead of "learning to work with polymer clay" my goals are ,ore specific. Learn to make polymer clay birds for one month. focus on copper or bronze clay components for anothmer month. Can't wait till I can put this into practice Unforetunately, the "resistance" is a physical one that has limited me to goals like "walk to the bathroom by myself". There is something wrong with the discs in my back and I am flat down and out. Thanks for sharing this book.

  6. I am interested to check out this book - thanks for sharing!


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