Jan 13, 2011

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, A Review - Part II

"I can pimp the hell out of myself"

I have meet several pro climbers, including two that known for extreme self-promotion. They are great people, despite their flamboyant personae. They have helped the sport in observable and measurable ways. They separate "pimping" from work/art. They get their work/art done. They love climbing but know it is their job.

“So the Muse whispered in Beethoven’s ear. Maybe she hummed a few bars into a million other ears. But no one else hear her. Only Beethoven got it.”

All the climbs in the world already exist. Yes, I just declared that. However, they need a corporeal being, a human body with a will, to manifest them. The muses whisper in everyone's ears. The muse’s interested in creating new climbs are shouting my ears!

“The amateur plays part-time, the professional full time. … Resistance hates it when we turn pro”

Lately, I've turned pro. What is my profession? Hunting unshared climbs and sharing them. I choose not to do activities that will directly interfere with that, i.e., lift weights (which I love) or train for climbing (which I love even more). It would be easy to hide in those activities. Seeking out unshared lines and sharing them is work.

I go to work everyday. I charge my camera, put on my waders, and grab my brush. I seek out blank canvases. Sometimes they are too featured. Sometimes they are too blank. But everyday I go to work looking for the perfect line for that day.

My "work" gets in the way of my play. Recently, I went a roadtrip for fun and put myself on restriction. I was prohibited from trying unshared climbs. I saw them at every single climbing venue, even in the major areas of Bishop. All independent and quality lines wanting for the world.

“Are these angels? Are they muses? … If we forget something, they remind us. If we veer off-course, they trim the tabs and steer us back”

I have slow realized the following fact, but Steven elucidated for me - I need to get out of my own way. I have playing the game of naming climbs and claiming first ascents. Sometimes, I'm right. Oftentimes, I'm wrong. That part is not my work. My work is discovering and sharing. Let the critics and historians do the rest.


This book should be required reading for all artists, business owners, knowledge workers, student finishing dissertation, and everyone striving to be a complete human being.
Simply - If you are an artist*, you have to read this book.

I frequently do/act/create without a complete conscious, or verbalizable, understanding. Later, I find a writer that is better able to communicate the way I feel. I found that in this book. For the record, I'm as guilty of losing to The Resistance as anyone else. I occasionally win. In the future, I hope to win more often thanks to The War of Art.

Bonus: Follow the evolution of the ideas at Steve Pressfield's Writing Wednesday blog.

* Even if your art project is creating your life