Stay motivated with The War of Art

Having a hard time staying motivated? Finding yourself endlessly distracted by … the news … your investments … social media … or thoughts? Well, join the crowd—we all feel the same.

We’re working from home and suddenly have extra time we previously spent on activities like commuting and socializing. We ALL have a list of creative activities we could be pursuing. Taking an online class. Beginning meditation. Contributing to an open source project. Writing a book or blog. Learning a new skill. Drawing.

Allowing yourself to be endlessly distracted only delivers additional misery. Most of us can’t DO anything to change the situation. The best way to help our communities is to do nothing—to stay home. You’re living in the perfect moment to begin a new creative endeavor. And for some reason you just can’t get started.

This might be a good time for you to read (or, like me, listen to) The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield. Pressfield is best known for his 1995 book, The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was adapted into a film starring Will Smith and Matt Damon.

The subtitle of The War of Art aptly summarizes the book: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. The book provides self-help advice for writers and other creatives who need a kick-in-the-pants to begin doing their best work. 

I decided to listen to it again. Like you, I’m struggling to make the most of my additional free time. It gave me the perfect kick I needed.

The book’s format and flow is its biggest asset. The War is an easy listen and broken into punchy, simple chapters of 2 minutes or less. He characterizes creative blocks as “The resistance” and describes ways to recognize and overcome it. The substance itself isn’t original—Greek philosophers gave the same advice 2000 years ago.

The War also isn’t without its flaws. I agree with other reviewers who find Pressfield’s supernatural and pseudo-science rants to be an unnecessary distraction. Much of Part 3 didn’t resonate with me.

But I still find it to be the right book for this moment. My phone is in my pocket, the news is off, and I don’t know what the market is doing. I’m happier as a result, and banged out this essay in 30 minutes.

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