The War of Art by Steven Pressfield changed my life. No exaggeration. It goes on to keep changing my life each time I read it because it presents a view of art, creativity, the inner voice, and what it means NOT to create that goes against everything else you've heard or been exposed to, but it rings completely true: Creativity is the most important thing on the planet. It is not a little hobby, or a nice pass-time, something fun to do in your spare time. No. Your creativity is the reason you were put on this planet, your mission, your calling - it's what makes you uniquely you. It doesn't matter HOW you choose to express your creative vision! It could be through cooking, urban planning, designing new cars or bicycles, gardening, tattooing, note-taking, zen-tangling, hiking, love-making, dog-breeding, drawing, fashioning, decorating!! It doesn't matter HOW you express yourself and get your unique ideas into the world, what matters is THAT YOU DO IT. And that you never stop.
Just today I was chatting with a friend who (when she puts pastels to paper creates magical beauty, by the way) was expressing to me how often just basic survival seems more important than creating and how even for her it's a challenge to take artmaking seriously and to continue to pursue it and not let it out of her sight. I responded saying that in fact, I would not even want to survive to be alive in a world that has no creativity, no one following their inner voice, muse, passion, calling, because without this we would have nothing but barren, listless, lifeless, flat, bland, colourless, ugly, uninspiring, depressing, consumer desert wastelands. What would be the point of living? Think about it: everything you are even CONSUMING for your entertainment or enjoyment right now came from someone creating it: books, magazines the internet, websites, images on your screen, music, speakers, netflix, films, poetry, paintings, radio etc.....! Try to imagine a world without all of that for a moment. Steven Pressfield takes you there and makes you want to save the world's creativity!
The importance of the book The War of Art comes from it's highlighting of the absolute essential quality of life that comes from overcoming the blocks in your life telling you that your creative life force is not important and that you should just give up on all your dreams to just survive and exist. It's not a flimsy self-help book that tells you what you might do to live a better life. It's a frank, shoulder-grabbing/shaking, slap you across the face wake-up call to living your unlived life.
"Look in your own heart. Unless I'm crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I'm crazy, you're no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow." (from the introduction)
This book is how to take action so that you start living your beautiful, exciting, precious, unique and profoundly important life today. The first step by is recognising the life-changing, earth shattering importance of creativity, and to no longer question that as a fact.
If you'd like to read and discuss The War of Art along with me and several open-minded, creativity-philes, you can search for and ask to join my Facebook group: "Listen to Your Inner Voice".