Book note: The War of Art

Min Chen
2 min readNov 26, 2021

“It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.”

— Steven Pressfield

What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

That is the keyword the book “The War of Art” wants to address.

What resistance is stopping us from?

“Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth”, any from our higher nature, will elicit resistance. Examples could be education, entrepreneurial ventures, creative work.

The author provides his rule of thumb: “the more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it”.

Or if you feel more scared, the more sure we can be that we have to do it!

“Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” This kind of self-doubt indicates aspiration and reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything. The opposite of love is indifference.

Traits of Resistance

  • Resistance takes on any form, compulsive cell phone use, watching TV even reading books, taking a walk, sex, seeking support, joining workshops… it offers all kinds of options and fabricates plausible and rational reasons to justify why we shouldn’t work. Resistance is simply pushing us away from doing the thing that our hearts is calling us to.
  • Resistence is inside you and inside everyone. Among couples, close friends, or even entire families, watch out when one person is awakening to fight since the other person will try to sabotage so they can feel comfortable about themselves.
  • You must fight it every day. Saying “I’m going to start tomorrow” will lead you to nowhere. “This second, we can sit down and do our work”

Turning pro

The amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps.

“The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full time.” — Steven Pressfield

Being pro means:

  • We show up every day.
  • We show up no matter what.
  • We stay on the job all day.
  • We are committed over the long haul.

As the author said: All that matters is I’ve put in my time, and hit it with all i’ve got.

The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come. Success comes as a by-product of work.

What really matters is: We apply self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification, and hard work, to get our work done.

That’s the only way to cure our restlessness.



Min Chen

User experience designer @Ginetta, from Shanghai to Zurich