A book Review
Written by Steven Pressfield. Published 2002. 192 pages. It is conveniently available as an e-book on Amazon for about R65.00.
Ever considered dusting off the easel or ever wanted to start writing but never got around to it? Had yourself talked out of a creative pursuit? You have been taken out of the game by Resistance. This is the term used by Pressfield in his excellent book. The author divides his book into three sections. First is focused on Resistance. Second: Defeating Resistance and third: Accepting your muse.
Pressfield, a writer by profession, asks what stands between the life we live and the unlived life within us. The answer is Resistance. It is the toxic force that defeats us every time. It is that which stands between our calling or any creative endeavour that does not involve instant gratification. Resistance repels, it is negative, distracting, cunning, a liar and self-generated. The enemy within. You cannot bargain or reason with it. It is like a shark with you as its main course! Resistance is supported by its henchmen, Rationalisation and Procrastination. Be aware of them every day Pressfield warns or you will not stand a chance. This section of the book struck many chords with me and I must confess that I could not put the book down. Knowledge is power as they say and it helps to recognise the enemy within.
Part two was equally compelling. The author proceeds to tell us how to defeat Resistance. Go pro! By becoming a professional we can win the battle and pursue the creative process. By professional the author means that we have to change our mindset and approach. Failing that you will remain a hobbyist. A professional gets to work every day. It is full time. It is about committing for life because you love your calling so much. Resistance hates it when you turn pro! A pro does not wait for inspiration - he gets to work because that is when inspiration arrives. It is a daily process. I like what Pressfield says about the difference between what is urgent and what is important. Important comes first. Urgency is often Resistance in disguise. Your work is important so do that first.
Part Three is about listening to your muse. "The noble effect of heaven-sent madness". (Socrates)
The artist, relying on technique alone, will not succeed without the inspired madness of the muse. Without this mysterious heaven-sent inspiration would there be the Parthenon, a Fifth Symphony or Nude Descending a Staircase? Time can only harm our body, but not the immutable spirit within that inhabits the space between nucleus and electron - the universe beyond the material. Listen and answer. It is this third part of the book that will test your resolve. If you persist you will succeed.
Read this book. After three months read it again.