Welcome to the Read Along of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield! Last week, we discussed the introductory material and Book One. Don’t miss Belle’s thoughts on the role of trouble and rationalization in Resistance at Ms. Bookish.
Today we’re moving on to Book Two. If you’re joining in the discussion on your blog, don’t forget to leave a link in the link-up at the bottom of the post so we can all see your thoughts.
I sent the five questions below to every one who I knew wanted to participate. Here are my answers:
1. The title of Book Two in The War of Art is Combating Resistance: Turning Pro. What does Turning Pro mean to you and how does it help you combat resistance?
My notion of professional comes from my dad, who went off to work every day to do something mysterious, but it was always very important that he did it. The family’s daily structure was built around Dad’s job. We lived in plant housing, so Dad walked to work most days. Our days were governed by the steam whistle going off at 8:30, Noon, and 4:30.
Resistance is conquered by putting one front of the other when the whistle blows.
2. Naturally in a book called The War of Art, a title that plays on The Art of War, warriors of a variety of types (Marines, ancient Spartans, gunslingers in the old West) are provided as examples for the artist. How do these metaphors work for you? How about the related examples of professional athletes, especially golfers?
These examples, as well as the model of my dad are all distressingly masculine. They make me fret about whether I can be a professional while also responsible for providing healthy meals, keeping on top of paperwork, and otherwise insuring that the household functions reasonably smoothly. I feel like I would relate to this all better if I had a wife. I can say that I put my writing first, but, in fact, if the lettuce isn’t washed at lunch time, then it’s the lettuce.
All this is making me wonder, too, if this sort of model doesn’t do a disservice to modern males. Most of them have household responsibilities. Not to mention other daily tasks, like exercise and relationships, that also need to take priority at some moments most days.
Many warriors have an entire army’s apparatus to get them fed and exercised, all as part of the job.
Can one be professional and also functional in life without a great deal of support? Or, is that too much to ask?
3. The longest piece in Book Two is “We’re All Pros Already” (pages 69-72). What can you apply from other experiences of being a pro to your creative goals?
A start time and stop time. But, that doesn’t work so well for me in practice. What has been working, recently, is a plan to put in a certain number of hours each day and week — I seem to need flexibility about exactly when, but having a goal helps me do the work.
4. Starting on page 75, Pressfield describes several aspects of the Professional. Which one of these is most helpful to you right now?
Patience is a big one for me. One of the reasons my writing floundered last year was because it seemed like it was going to take forever to complete my project. But, if I’d kept going at the pace I set in February, I’d be done by now. Patience, persistence, and consistency are my watchwords for 2015.
5. What’s another aspect of the Professional that you anticipate being useful in the near future?
A Professional Is Prepared. He’s talking, here, about doing the inside work that deals with Resistance and wards off self-sabotage.
His goal is not victory (success will come by itself when it wants to) but to handle himself, his insides, as sturdily and steadily as he can. p. 82
Are you encountering Resistance to any of the projects or goals you had slated for 2015? Would taking a professional stance help?
A Twitter Chat. We’ll chat about this book, creativity, and our New Year goals on February 1 at 9PM Eastern / 8 Central / 7 Mountain / 6 Pacific / 5 Alaskan / 4 Hawaiian. Put it on your calendar! It will be a great way to start the second month of 2015 energized to continue making it a great year.
Giveaway. Check back tomorrow for another giveaway of The War of Art and other writing / creative books by Steven Pressfield.