25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Q&A | August 19, 2014

Richard Kadrey: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Richard Kadrey



Describe your latest book. The Getaway God is the sixth book in the Sandman Slim series. In it, the very unholy nephilim, James Stark, aka Sandman... Continue »
  1. $17.49 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$9.50
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Self Help- Creativity

This title in other editions

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Cover

ISBN13: 9780446691437
ISBN10: 0446691437
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $9.50!

 

 

Excerpt

From the Introduction

Robert McKee

Bestselling Author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting

On The War of Art

Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art for me. He undoubtedly wrote it for you too, but I know he did it expressly for me because I hold Olympic records for procrastination. I can procrastinate thinking about my procrastination problem. I can procrastinate dealing with my problem of procrastinating thinking about my procrastination problem. So Pressfield, that devil, asked me to write this foreword against a deadline, knowing that no matter how much I stalled, eventually I'd have to knuckle down and do the work. At the last possible hour I did, and as I leafed through Book One, "Defining the Enemy," I saw myself staring back guilty-eyed from every page. But then Book Two gave me a battle plan; Book Three, a vision of victory; and as I closed The War of Art, I felt a surge of positive calm. I now know I can win this war. And if I can, so can you.

To begin Book One, Pressfield labels the enemy of creativity Resistance, his all-encompassing term for what Freud called the Death Wish-that destructive force inside human nature that rises whenever we consider a tough, long-term course of action that might do for us or others something that's actually good. He then presents a rogue's gallery of the many manifestations of Resistance. You will recognize each and every one, for this force lives within us all-self-sabotage, self-deception, self-corruption. We writers know it as "block," a paralysis whose symptoms can bring on appalling behavior.

Some years ago I was as blocked as a Calcutta sewer, so what did I do? I decided to try on all my clothes. To show just how anal I can get, I put on every shirt, pair of pants, sweater, jacket, and sock, sorting them into piles: spring, summer, fall, winter, Salvation Army. Then I tried them on all over again, this time parsing them into spring casual, spring formal, summer casual... Two days of this and I thought I was going mad. Want to know how to cure writer's block? It's not a trip to your psychiatrist. For as Pressfield wisely points out, seeking "support" is Resistance at its most seductive. No, the cure is found in Book Two: "Turning Pro."

Steven Pressfield is the very definition of a pro. I know this because I can't count the times I called the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance to invite him for a round of golf, and although tempted, he declined. Why? Because he was working, and as any writer who has ever taken a backswing knows, golf is a beautifully virulent form of procrastination. In other words, Resistance. Steve packs a discipline forged of Bethlehem steel.

I read Steve's Gates of Fire and Tides of War back-to-back while traveling in Europe. Now, I'm not a lachrymose guy; I hadn't cried over a book since The Red Pony, but these novels got to me. I found myself sitting in cafés, choking back tears over the selfless courage of those Greeks who shaped and saved Western civilization. As I looked beneath his seamless prose and sensed his depth of research, of knowledge of human nature and society, of vividly imagined telling details, I was in awe of the work, the work, all the work that built the foundation of his riveting creations. And I'm not alone in this appreciation. When I bought the books in London, I was told that Steve's novels are now assigned by Oxford history dons who tell their students that if they wish to rub shoulders with life in classical Greece, read Pressfield.

How does an artist achieve that power? In the second book Pressfield lays out the day-by-day, step-by-step campaign of the professional: preparation, order, patience, endurance, acting in the face of fear and failure-no excuses, no bullshit. And best of all, Steve's brilliant insight that first, last, and always, the professional focuses on mastery of the craft.

Book Three, "The Higher Realm," looks at Inspiration, that sublime result that blossoms in the furrows of the professional who straps on the harness and plows the fields of his or her art. In Pressfield's words: "When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us...we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete." On this, the effect of Inspiration, Steve and I absolutely agree. Indeed, stunning images and ideas arrive as if from nowhere. In fact, these seemingly spontaneous flashes are so amazing, it's hard to believe that our unworthy selves created them. From where, therefore, does our best stuff come?

It's on this point, however, the cause of Inspiration, that we see things differently. In Book One Steve traces Resistance down its evolutionary roots to the genes. I agree. The cause is genetic. That negative force, that dark antagonism to creativity, is embedded deep in our humanity. But in Book Three he shifts gears and looks for the cause of Inspiration not in human nature, but on a "higher realm." Then with a poetic fire he lays out his belief in muses and angels. The ultimate source of creativity, he argues, is divine. Many, perhaps most readers, will find Book Three profoundly moving.

I, on the other hand, believe that the source of creativity is found on the same plane of reality as Resistance. It, too, is genetic. It's called talent: the innate power to discover the hidden connection between two things-images, ideas, words-that no one else has ever seen before, link them, and create for the world a third, utterly unique work. Like our IQ, talent is a gift from our ancestors. If we're lucky, we inherit it. In the fortunate talented few, the dark dimension of their natures will first resist the labor that creativity demands, but once they commit to the task, their talented side stirs to action and rewards them with astonishing feats. These flashes of creative genius seem to arrive from out of the blue for the obvious reason: They come from the unconscious mind. In short, if the Muse exists, she does not whisper to the untalented.

So although Steve and I may differ on the cause, we agree on the effect: When inspiration touches talent, she gives birth to truth and beauty. And when Steven Pressfield was writing The War of Art, she had her hands all over him.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Abby A, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by Abby A)
This book is like a force of nature- it will pick you up and move you out of your entrenched beliefs, emotional blocks and into action as an artist.

Buy it and Read it, daily.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
rlertzman, September 9, 2011 (view all comments by rlertzman)
This book is essential for any creative being! Writer or not, it's about staying the course. Brilliant, lyrical, direct. Tough love in a book. You cannot read this book too often.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
man0mule, April 24, 2009 (view all comments by man0mule)
This is an amazingly inspirational book. This book hits very close to home for me as I've been struggling to create art for over 8 years now. After reading this book I had a new drive to persue my dreams.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780446691437
Foreword by:
McKee, Robert
Publisher:
Warner Books
Foreword by:
McKee, Robert
Foreword:
McKee, Robert
Author:
Pressfield, Steven
Location:
New York
Subject:
Creativity
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Creation
Subject:
Creative writing
Subject:
Creative Ability
Subject:
Creation (literary, artistic, etc.)
Subject:
Creative thinking
Subject:
Resistance.
Subject:
Authorship -- Psychological aspects.
Subject:
SELF-HELP / Creativity
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Warner Books ed.
Edition Description:
Warner Books
Publication Date:
April 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.18x4.98x.53 in. .38 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path...
    Used Trade Paper $9.00
  2. Walking in This World: The Practical... Used Trade Paper $8.50
  3. Story: Substance, Structure, Style,...
    Used Hardcover $25.00
  4. Last of the Amazons Used Trade Paper $4.50
  5. The Art of War Used Trade Paper $6.95
  6. The Afghan Campaign Used Trade Paper $3.95

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Creativity
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Creativity

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Warner Books - English 9780446691437 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Someone finally tells it like it is — you can write that book, you can paint that picture, you can live your dreams. But first you've got to shatter the Resistance that's got you stymied, and that takes (you won't want to hear this) work. In The War of Art, accomplished screenwriter and author Steven Pressfield delivers a no-nonsense pep talk for creative types stuck twiddling their thumbs. He outlines the symptoms of Resistance and details a strategy to banish it. No psycho-babble. No loony tunes. Just practical and succinct advice on achieving success in your creative field. It's a good first step towards a rewarding career and happier life.

"Review" by , "Whether one wishes to embark on a diet, a program of spiritual advancement or an entrepreneurial venture, it's most often resistance that blocks the way. To kick resistance, Pressfield stresses loving what one does, having patience and acting in the face of fear."
"Synopsis" by , The Art of War meets The Artist's Way in this no-nonsense, profoundly inspiring guide to overcoming creative blocks of every kind.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.