Inspiring Lessons from The War of Art

The War of ArtIf you haven’t had a chance to read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, I can assure you it will be worth every special minute of your time. It’s incredibly motivating – like the kind that kicks you in the couch potato pants and gets you moving in the direction you were meant to travel.

In fact, this is one of my favorite passages that inspired me to write today’s post:


Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer, write a symphony, or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you, and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”


Talk about motivation. I don’t know about you, but that last line is a bone-chilling challenge. Let’s accept. What do you say?

If you’re a painter, paint. If you’re a teacher, teach. If you’re a leader, lead. If you’re a mom, mother. The people in your world need you.

For those who aspire to be writers or artists, and who fall near and dear to my heart, here’s an added challenge.

  1. Accept you’re a writer or artist. Another brilliant quote from Pressfield suggests, “If you find yourself asking, ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” The more scared you are about a calling, the more you can be sure you need to do it.
  1. Get started. Grab your computer or paper and pen. I’ll wait… Okay, now start writing and don’t stop until you’ve hit at least 1,000 words. What should you write about? Anything. It could be about a crappy day you had, your best friend in grade school who always made you laugh, or your obsession with Snicker’s bars. Need more inspiration? In the movie “Finding Forrester” the character played by Sean Connery, who is a reclusive writer, asks his student to take an existing piece of work as a starting point. The student transforms it into something unique. You could try that, too. Take lines from your favorite song and create characters and a storyline around their relationship. You may surprise yourself with where you end up. The goal isn’t necessarily in the masterpiece. What matters most is that you’re writing – and doing what you were put on this earth to do. If you’re an artist, do the same exercise, but draw or paint for at least 30 minutes. Do this every day, and the great masterpiece will be your life.

Here’s to you and your amazing talents. Now go get ’em!

-Kate

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8 comments on “Inspiring Lessons from The War of Art

    • I’m so glad you like the blog. My best advice for an aspiring writer is to believe in your own voice and keep writing. It’s easy to get discouraged – especially if you’ve suffered any form of rejection from editors, clients, or friends who have read your work. When you’re being honest and authentic in your writing, it’s never wrong. I truly appreciate your question and it inspired me to write a post this week. Be sure to stop back by and I’ll try to have more on the topic. In the meantime, I’m cheering you on! -Kate

  1. I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did,
    the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  2. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject,
    however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

    Thanks

  3. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is
    required to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks

    • WordPress is the blogging platform I use, and they have some really nice templates available. Many of them are free. You should check them out. In terms of content, I try to take as many original photos as possible so I don’t have to pay for images. If I ever use other people’s images, I always link to the source or purchase them for use. I hope that helps. Good luck with your endeavor!

  4. First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like
    to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how
    you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.

    I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts
    out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to
    figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?
    Thanks!

    • I’m glad you enjoy the blog! A couple of ways I clear my mind are to first write all of my “to dos” in my planner. If I leave these things swirling in my mind I feel too strong of an urge to get up and procrastinate versus focusing on my writing. Once I’ve had time with my planner, I spend a few moments in quiet. This can be tricky when you have kids, but if you get everyone into a daily rhythm, you can find the time to schedule this in – just like coffee breaks. Quieting your mind and even meditating is the best way to prepare yourself for writing. Once you sit at the computer or at your desk with pen and paper in hand, write whatever comes to mind – without judgement. Allow the words to flow. If you’re writing something specific, like a novel or research paper, give yourself an assignment for the day. Focus on one character or research one topic. If you do this each day, you’re sure to reach your intended goal. I hope that’s helpful!

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