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

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

Suzann recommended this one as something that’s helped her with her writing, but I found little of interest beyond the clever title. It hardly qualifies as a book, some of the sections only a few lines long, lots of white space. The first part of the book is all about Resistance, e.g. procrastination. Not sure why so much time needs to be dedicated to describing and wallowing in it. Later there are a few bits that resonate, like the fact that a writer views her work as craft, not art, “the professional shuts up. She doesn’t talk about it. She does her work.” And the emphasis on practice, the professional masters technique not because technique is a substitute for inspiration but to possess a full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come.

The author relies heavily (at least 3 times) on mentioning how important it is for him to invoke the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey (“O Divine Poesy, goddess, daughter of Zeus, sustain for me this song…”). Probably the best thing I got from this was a book recommendation to read The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, since a quote from it was included in the book:

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness had genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”