Have you ever had writer’s block? Or maybe idea block? Or creative block?
In the midst of trying something new, have you ever bumped into a wall that seemed higher than you could climb?
I think everybody does at some point, whether you’re opening up a new business or trying to finish an album. I know I’ve had a creative block.
In the midst of writing my first book, I got stuck.
My creativity felt drained. My hope was gone. The project felt insurmountable. Surely someone smarter and funnier had already written the book I was going to write. Who was I to think I could write a book? I’ll never get done. Nobody will ever buy this book.
Those were the thoughts that bounced around my head, until a friend gave me a copy of a book that ended up saving my very own.
What book was it?
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
It’s hard for me to describe what a gift that book was. I’ve underlined most of it, dog-eared page upon page and constantly re-read it. Designed with short, powerful essays on the creative process and the threat of what Pressfield calls “resistance,” The War of Art is easily one of my favorite books of all time. Here’s a section I really liked:
The Artist’s Life
Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action. Do it or don’t do it. It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.
You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.
Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution.
Give us what you’ve got.
If you’re trying to do something extraordinary with your life, and you should be, I highly recommend The War of Art.
What’s one of your favorite books?