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Resistance and Forms of Art

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Image by klimkin from Pixabay

I've just finished The War of Art. I'll write a review later this week, but for now, I wanted to talk about a fascinating thing Pressfield talks about: Resistance with a capital R. Resistance is a force fuelled by our fear of change. It will do anything to keep us from fulfilling our potential, from following our calling as artists. Resistance comes in many forms, according to Pressfield. We talked a little bit about procrastination as a form of Writing Block, but of course, it's true for all forms of art. It can come in the form of "I don't have time" or "I'm not good enough". It can come in the form of "my life is too messy right now" or "once I've done x I'll be available for my art" (where x can be anything from earning enough money to the kids will be grown up to overcome my daddy issues first). Resistance is very sneaky.

Pressfield argues that Resistance and fear can actually use as a reversed compass. The more afraid you are of something, the more likely this something is good for your soul and your art. He says professional artists take projects that scare the hell out of them because they scare the hell out of them. If you're not scared of something, you're staying in your comfort zone. And learning only happens outside of your comfort zone.


Here's a thought that came to me as I was writing about how petrified I am of my music project. If you asked me which project I'm more scared of, my album or my book, I'd be hard-pressed to pick one. Most days I think I'm more scared of the album, and music as an occupation. But I'm still not willing to give up my writing. I love my writing. I much prefer to write from the comfort of my home, hiding behind my laptop. The thought that came to me is this. What if my writing is another form of Resistance to the music? What if it's a way for my brain to prevent me from putting myself out there, emotionally naked? It's entirely possible.

But now, here comes the kicker. What if this line of thinking is Resistance trying to veer me away from writing? Because I think I'm getting better at writing. I think I'm getting better at understanding my strengths and weaknesses and working with them. I think I'll be ready to send out my book soon. And that scares me too because that book hits very close to home. And what if I write it the best I can and it still won't be enough for people to understand? By the way, self-doubt is also a form of Resistance.

It's complicated, this art thing.


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