Resistance is the enemy of your creativity and sets out to kill your art. So says Steven Pressfield author of The War of Art, a low down on the psychology of the creative process and a mini power pack for anyone committed to their art.
Pressfield is a screenwriter and author, most well-known for the Legend of Bagger Vance. He believes: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance. To yield to resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.”
Once I’d finished reading Part One of The War of Art, which is dedicated to the nature of resistance and naming and shaming every ‘cheating, lying, scheming’ example of resistance I was so done with it and so fully charged that resistance will never win another battle over me again.
I found myself laughing out loud at the examples of resistance, bang bang one after the other so familiar to me, and Pressfield’s distaste for them. However, he did miss out my personal favourites that include serving other people’s visions at the exclusion of my own and convincing myself that I don’t have anything original or worth creating in my own heart.
I recall when the seeds of The Imagination Game were sown. I was in the middle of a two-year leadership training and we had to present the theme of the workshop we were going to give. My theme was: ‘Play in your Imagination’. It prompted such resistance in me when I shared it out loud with the group that I had to stick my head out the window and gasp for air.
Pressfield works on the premise, the greater the resistance the more love there is behind it. And I have to agree. Now a year on I’m not suprised at my reaction. Imagination is one of the key vehicles to take you beyond out of date patterns and structures to create the life of your true nature. Basically it kicks resistances’ arse!
Part Two of The War of Art covers the actions you can take to move from amateur hour to a professional with your art. And as I read it I commit to show up and write for at least one hour every day this year.
Part Three covers creating from your higher self and the invisible forces that come in to play as you master your creativity. Within this section arises a poignant question for me: Are you writing as a hack, i.e. for the audience, or from the heart unfolding what you want to express naturally?
In my professional life of media and communications, particularly in the early days, the pressure is often to write as a hack. Now, I endeavour to write from the heart and unfold what I want to express naturally (for at least an hour a day).
The ultimate message of The War of Art is loud and clear. Don’t let resistance run away with you and end up with a life unlived inside of you.
I thank the combination of my heart, will and imagination to send resistance on its way.
You can buy The War of Art here.