I think it is possible to study how to do something too much, meaning at some point one must put aside the “how-to manuals” and get to work with the actual “doing” which is why there are only a few books on creativity and publishing that I recommend to aspiring authors. One of the “must reads” on that list is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield is the brilliant author of Gates of Fire, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Tides of War, The Afghan Campaign, among many others. He has also generously shared his wisdom through a series of books on creativity. The War of Art is required reading for anyone contemplating putting pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. It can be read in an hour or two so there are no excuses. It is more inspiration than “how to” and its message is exceeding clear and direct; sit down and do the work.
Among the many gems Steven Pressfield shares in this masterpiece are these:
“Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”
“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who already are and become it.”
“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is the sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is resistance.”
That’s the key: Slay Resistance!
There is a reason the Nike slogan of “Just Do It” is still remembered by those who saw the commercials back in 1988. It really is that simple: Sit down and just do it.
In the section on Combating Resistance and Turning Pro, Pressfield quotes Telamon of Arcadia, a mercenary of the fifth century B.C.: “It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”
Get this book. Read it. Then put it down and get to work!