Last week I posted a blog on How to Become a Professional Writer detailing the importance of writing consistency. Over the next few weeks I’d like to share some specific tools that have helped me and others overcome the self-sabotage, resistance and inertia that can sometimes make consistency difficult.
The first tool I would suggest is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
A quick warning on the book. The last third gets pretty spiritual with discussions of angels and muses and such. Some people find this compelling; others find it a bit weird. Either way, the first two-thirds of the book is worth its weight in gold (and then some).
A very wise person, Rachel Sondag, told me about the book several years ago. After reading it, my only regret was why the hell hadn’t someone told me about it when I was first starting out. It should be required reading for all writers.
I talk to so many people who want to be writers but aren’t writing. Or they write in spurts, or when in a class, but can’t keep it up over the long haul. They have tried various ways to motivate themselves but nothing seems to work. I always tell them to read The War Of Art. It’s the first book I’ve ever found that clearly defines the enemy (resistance). It details where resistance comes from and gives practical advice on what writers can do to avoid getting our asses kicked by procrastination, self-doubt, self-pity, creative compromises, and all the other forms resistance can take. The book provides a battle plan to help us combat the forces that conspire to keep us from writing, or from doing so to the very best of our abilities. It’s a field manual in courage and dedication.
The following is an email I just received from a writer. I share it because I often get similar emails from people who read the book.
Corey, I think The War of Art will change my life. First of all, it is like the author is inside my head and has watched me my whole life. This book and its definition of resistance fit me like skin… My resistance is WAY beyond procrastination. It is greater than anything I’ve ever experienced. The book says the greater the resistance, the more you know you have to do it. Somehow, innately, I knew that… The War of Art basically says, “not only is it real, but EVERY artist goes through it”. That is big for me. It means I’m not the only one, I’m not evil, I’m not bad, I’m not lazy, I don’t have ADD… The mere fact that the book knows me so well and has called me out on EVERYTHING I do to avoid what I need to do… The mere fact that the book has given it a term and tells me where it comes from… The mere fact that I now know what it is, HAS ALLOWED ME TO SIT DOWN AT MY COMPUTER AND WORK ON MY SCREENPLAY. How about that, huh? And I feel more relaxed in doing it… the book is a HELL of a find! Thanks!
Posted in Corey’s Blog | July 08, 2010