theWarofArt by Steven Pressfield focuses a lot on Resistance, which he defines as an evil force that tries to block us from getting things done. But as you probably know, creatives face a variety of struggles.
They may include accepting that you’re an artist, being true to your art and getting the work done regardless of comments or rewards. Then, there’s the matter of whether you’re acting like an amateur or a professional.
Here’s what Pressfield says in theWarofArt :
“We are who we are from the cradle and we’re stuck with it. Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.”
On Getting Things Done:
“The field is level, the professional understands, only in heaven.”
“…the most important thing about art is to work.”
“The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”
“If Arnold Schwarzenegger were the last man on earth, he’d still go to the gym. Stevie Wonder would still pound the piano. The sustenance they get comes from the act itself, not from the impression it makes on others.”
“The artist cannot look at others to validate his efforts or his calling.”
The professional learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts.
“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”
“[A hack is someone who is] scared of being authentic in front of them, scared of writing what he really feels or believes, what he himself thinks is interesting. He’s afraid it won’t sell. So he tries to anticipate what the market (a telling word) wants, then gives it to them.”
“The hack is like the politician who consults the polls before he takes a position.”
“To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.”