Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

You Need to Read The War of Art

The War of Art by Steven PressfieldEver wanted to write a song, a novel, a movie script? But you weren’t quite sure how to begin?

Is there something you need to create — a project you need to start, a business you need to launch — but you’re scared to sit down and actually do it?

Ever feel like something is holding you back?

Reading one, short book can change all of that.

For the longest time, I felt this way. I felt stuck and afraid and made all kinds of excuses to not do the one thing I knew I needed to do: write.

Then I found The War of Art

All my friends had read it.

All the blogs I read were talking about it.

One year over Christmas break, I finally read it.

And it changed my creative process forever.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is amazing. If you deal with creativity in your work or personal life, I can’t make a better book recommendation.

I don’t know how I went so long without it.

You need this book

This book is a must-read for any writer, artist, or entrepreneur. I’d recommend it to anyone who “thinks for a living” — meaning writers, actors, entrepreneurs, photographers, video editors, and more.

This book teaches you a truth that otherwise you’d be blind to — that we are at war.

The War of Art is a essential read for anyone longing to overcome Resistance with a capital “R”— that evil force that holds every creative endeavor back from reaching its potential.

Resistance is the enemy. It prevents us from reaching our dreams and creating timeless masterpieces. It’s what makes you afraid and anxious and causes us to sabotage our best work.

Without this field manual, you may be prone to think that Resistance is nothing more than laziness when, in reality, it is something far more personal and vindictive. And it will destroy you — if you do not fight.

You need to acknowledge the battle and your part in it.

The War of Art can help.

It’s a little controversial

This book is both inspiring and challenging, maybe even a little contentious.

Pressfield talks about God and uses four-letter words in the same sentence. He picks a fight. And for good reason: He wants to motivate you to act, to move, to do something that matters. To get off the couch and begin.

Pressfield cusses. He gets angry. He wants you to get angry, too — to get so upset you actually do something with the gifts you’ve been given.

He’s not interested in coddling; this is war, after all.

One part art, one part science

The War of Art combines the art and science of every artistic endeavor, especially writing.

Creativity, according to Pressfield, is both a mystical and practical process.  You must do your part, but not all the pressure to produce is on you.

There is a Muse — a source of inspiration, a fount of creativity, a divine spark of imagination. This is where all great art comes from. But to call oneself a writer, artist, or creative means more than sitting around waiting to be inspired.

We must show up to do the work.

Are you ready to sweat?

The War of Art is a quick read that presents the complexity of the creative process, both the inspiration and perspiration.

Reader, beware: this book is not for the faint of heart. You will get a workout reading it. Like a good general preparing his troops for battle, Pressfield will kick your butt.

If you’re ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked, to face Resistance and overcome your creative blocks, then it’s time to declare war against the blank page.

And do yourself a favor: buy this book.

Have you read The War of Art?

Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • I’m on my second reading of it. Absolutely, it is
    everything you have said. I’m actually starting to use it as a
    discipleship resource. Btw, I just emailed Pressfield and asked for
    permission to use a couple of quotes for an upcoming post on
    this.

    • Jeff Goins

      Love it, dude!

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  • I have had this book on my bookshelf for a while now. And
    as I prepare to come to recreate ’11 it is now in my bag for
    reading during the cross country flight. I can’t imagine right now
    what will come out of this combination, but I know it will be
    good.

    • Jeff Goins

      It’ll mess you up, I’m sure… in a good way, of course.

  • I’m taking it on the plane with me to Dubai Friday. I can’t wait to dig in.

    • Jeff Goins

      You’ll love (and hate) it, Jason!

  • Love it, Sarah! You need to do it!

  • This post is the final straw…I’m FINALLY going to read this book!

  • I’ve been at a reading stand still lately. Maybe this is the exact book I need!

    • Jeff Goins

      It may be! It’s hard for me to think anyone wouldn’t benefit from reading it.

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  • One of my favorite books of all time.

    • Jeff Goins

      I think it’s time for another reading of it (for me).

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with Jeff on this one. I think everyone doing ANYTHING creative needs to read this book. 

  • I just lent my well-read copy to a friend on Sunday.  I already want it back.  One of my favorites of all time.  Click one of Jeff’s links and buy it.  You won’t regret it.  

    I also really liked the companion book, Do The Work (https://www.ryanhaack.com/do-the-work-by-steven-pressfield/), so check that out, too.

  • Aly

    yes yes yes! it’s a great book and a kick up the butt at the same time – highly recommend and thanks for reminding me to go and re-read it again!

  • Mbetters

    Yes, and it’s a good, good, good book.  It seems that everyone worth mention in the writing and inspiration blogosphere has mentioned this book at least once.

    The greatest part about it is that it calls you out.  The reader is subjected to painful, guilt-inflicting torture that shows you where your weaknesses are, and then gives you the tools to overcome it.  Any writer wanting to crush the h* out of their Resistance should read War of Art.

    • beautiful endorsement of the book. i wholly agree.

  • Yes.  I’ve read War of Art and Do the Work.   I’ve been writing everyday ever since. 

    Actually, Steven Pressfield is how I found YOUR blog!  Found you on his facebook page.  

    Thoughts on inspiration and perspiration? –  don’t WAIT for inspiration, just get to work.

    • wow. what an honor. steve is one of my heroes.

  • Read it twice. Didn’t help. 

    • Third time’s a charm. (Note: reading it isn’t enough; you actually have to work.)

      • I also read the sequel once, which essentially reprised the same points. So the charm is complete.

        Now I must go check if any light bulbs around the house need changing and then count the buttons on all my shirts.

  • Conni Biesalski

    Started reading it a few days ago and am almost finished. Excellent stuff.
    Everyone seems to be talking about it these days, but totally justifed. I’d give a 10 out of 5.

  • Agreed. I hope people are offended by parts of the book. That mans they read it. It’s a book we all need to read. More than once.

  • I feel like I have to read this book.  I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that way about a book…except maybe the Bible

  • Joanna

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Devoured this book in a matter of hours on Sunday and was swiftly kicked up the bottom. Have spent the last few days examining how I am using my creative gifts and what changes I need to make. Things were shaken up in my heart in the best way possible.

    • Joanna, would love to hear where you land on that.

  • First book I’ve highlighted in years. Read it 3 times. He gets all metaphysical and tangled up sometimes, but he’s on to something that NObody talks about. Changed my life.

    “Ignore Everybody” by Hugh MacLeod is helping me lots, too.

  • Another book I have to read. I guess if I read it, I can put off writing that book I am working on…. Ha!

    • Jeremy, you haven’t read it?! I’m surprised. You should pick it up today. No joke.

  • *sigh* I guess I”m picking it up today.

  • Bill Huffhine

    Finished reading it just minutes before reading this post. Perfect timing between publishing my first non fiction book and beginning my novel. Definitely a must read!

  • After reading this post I’m compelled to check it out.

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  • One of my favorite reads of the year. Only thing it lacks is an index, so I wrote one for it which you can read online or download for free here: https://indexmasher.com/online/WarOfArt.html

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  • jolin

    they should pay you for this press release.

  • Michael Pharez

    a friend in L.A. just handed me this book…and i am on my way to overcoming Resistance with a capital  “R” 
    have a great THANKSGIVING bro!

    • thanks, man! you, too. you’ll love it.

  • It’s not bad but won’t be everybody’s cup of tea! Marinespeak in the creative arts is unusual to say the least. Have a scan – you may just get one or two worthwhile ideas.
    Deborah

    • Interesting review, Deborah. I think that’s what I like about it the most.

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  • Don’t forget the sequel to the War of Art, Do the Work. It is absolutely fantastic as well. It is an amazing follow up..think Godfather part 2.

  • I just ordered it :).

    Oh, and thank you for this: “you may be prone to think that Resistance is nothing more than laziness
    when, in reality, it is something far more personal and vindictive.” For the longest time, I was under the impression that I was just being lazy. And this only made me feel more discouraged and put off doing the work even longer. You have no idea how great it is to hear that that’s not it. I no longer have to blame myself. Thank you…

  • Ok, you just convinced me, I bought the book and will read it.  Thanks, Jeff!

  • Hey, Jeff, I recently blogged on The War of Art. I enjoyed your reaction. Maybe you’ll enjoy mine (or maybe you read it?) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/unmapped-country/201210/the-persistence-resistance

  • Metjam

    I’m convinced too, look forward to reading it

  • Dave

    This book is religious drivel. Real writers write. Divine intervention will not help you write if you’re not a real writer. Because…. oh yeah, there’s no such thing as divine intervention. Grow up.

  • Mandus

    Thanks Jeff for recommending this book. Your writings, inspirations, and ideas are gradually turning me into a writer.

  • This is a must-read book by any one interested in doing ANYTHING other than the average with their life. He focuses a lot on writing, but it clearly applies to anything you are called to do in your life, but seem unable to get yourself to do it.