Steven Pressfield's book is absolutely the best-ever realistic look at the dirty little secret shared by writers: resistance to doing what our higher creative selves want and need to do.
Creative writers tend to feel guilty and alone in their struggle against this pernicious enemy. But we aren't alone, Pressfield tells us. "Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance."
He also shares this all-important rule of thumb: "The more important a call or action toward our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it." And make no mistake, the force of Resistance means business. "When we fight it, we are in a war to the death."
Though Resistance keeps coming up with new weapons to use against us, we can learn to combat it effectively. First, we need to learn and apply the Principle of Priority. We must differentiate between the urgent and important, and do what's important first. That is the work.
Pressfield's profoundly important message is seen in lines like this. "The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art...is to you, and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it."
Yet the book is fun and easy to read. It feels light even though it's serious, and on several occasions, it made me laugh out loud with rueful recognition. Bad news: the pursuit of healing, support and workshops can all be insidious forms of Resistance, but we must face facts. "It's one thing to lie to ourselves. It's another thing to believe it."
Here's the good news: Even though "Resistance works to keep us from becoming who we were meant to be, equal and opposite powers are counter-poised against it." We all have "allies and angels" who stand ready to help as long as we invite them in.
Stephen Pressman opines that "above the entire human race is one super-angel, crying 'Evolve! Evolve!'" Angels, he says, are like muses. They want to help. Unfortunately, they're "on the other side of a pane of glass, shouting to get our attention. But we can't hear them. We're too distracted by our own nonsense."
The only cure is to begin, and then continue the work. Thus we "get out of our own way and allow the angels to come in and do their jobs."