Author: Steven Pressfield
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Summary: Not brilliant, but worth the read
The War of Art (the tittle being a nice spin on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, which I will have to review next) is a gripping story about the authors own struggles with writer’s block.
According to Pressfield, the perhaps biggest problem every writer faces is resistance towards getting any actual writing done.
Resistance can show its ugly face as a fear of judgement (by peers, readers etc) or through a wealth of other reasons for not picking up the pen, including procrastination and laziness.
If you’ve got problems with finding the inspiration to get your work done, as a writer or in any career, this book is for you!
Social context: Written for writers and other creatives
Writing style: Popular psychology
I picked up this book because it seemed accessible and tackled a theme that I care about. While not (yet) an expert on writing style, the book kept me interested, at least for the first two parts. Most people will get through it without too much effort, making it a good first book to read for any aspiring writer who wants to become an actual writer with time.
My thoughts: Read the first two parts; skip the third
Part one will teach you why you aren’t currently writing your ass off; part two will teach you how to get started with writing you ass off.
That just about sums up everything you need to know about this book before getting started with reading it.
Part three is more abstract, philosophical, and spiritual of nature than the other two parts, and to be honest, I didn’t like it at all.
After having read the first two parts I would have given the book a rating of 5 out of 5. It ends at a 3 out of 5 because of the anti-climatic conclusion.
While I am sure many people will enjoy the third part more than I did, it doesn’t make sense to me to attribute your success (or your failure) as a writer to something outside of your own mind and body.
I am perfectly fine with people believing in a supreme being in the heavens (I don’t), but just because god created us (going with this view) it doesn’t mean that he or she is responsible for everything you do – YOU are!
The first part (on identifying resistance) and the second part (on battling resistance) does a fine job out of making us aware of our own responsibility for how we fare in life.
You really don’t need more than that from this book.
It doesn’t, however, offer much concrete advice on becoming a better writer.
I think that is okay, though, seeing as our main goal here is to get started with writing on a regular basis.
Indeed, this book will (hopefully) get you past any resistances you may have towards getting some writing done.
In terms of becoming better writers, we will have to look elsewhere for advice (and I will, soon enough!).
That is all. Despite my somewhat negative remarks, I think this book is one you should consider checking out. It was by no means a waste of my time and it won’t be of yours either if you decide to spend the couple of hours on it that it takes to get through it.
This being my first book review, I would like to note here that I am aware of the fact that I make some grammatical and linguistic errors throughout my writings! English is not my native language but with every post I seek to become a better writer. My time being limited, I have to choose between writing lots of posts or writing fewer posts that I take more time to go through for errors and such. Most of the time I do the former because I, like Pressfield, believe in improving through practice.