B reak Through the Blocks
a nd Win Your
Inner Creative Battles
S TEVEN PRESSFIELD
I f you purchase this book without a cover you should be aware that this book m ay have been stolen property and reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the p ublisher. In such case neither the author nor the publisher has received any p ayment for this "stripped book."
Warner Books Edition
C opyright © 2002 by Stephen Pressfield
A ll rights reserved.
T his Warner Books Edition is published by arrangement with Rugged Land, 2 76 Canal Street, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10013
T ime Warner Book Group
1 271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
V isit our Web site at www.twbookmark.com.
P rinted in the United States of America
F irst Warner Book Edition: April 2003
T he Library of Congress has catalogued the hardcover edition as follows: P ressfield, Stephen
T he war of art : winning the inner creative battle / Stephen Pressfield; foreword by Robert McKee.—1st ed.
p . cm.
I S B N 1-59071-003-7
1 . Creative ability. 2. Creative thinking. 3. Authorship. I. Title. B F408.P74 2002 153.3*5
I SBN: 0-446-69143-7 (pbk.)
Cover design by Brigid Pearson
Cover illustration by Milton Glaser
by Robert McKee
teven Pressfield wrote The
War of Art for me. He
u ndoubtedly wrote it for you too, but I know he did it
e x p r e s s l y for me b e c a u s e I hold O l y m p i c r e c o r d s for p r o c r a s t i n a t i o n . I can p r o c r a s t i n a t e thinking a b o u t my p rocrastination problem. I can procrastinate dealing with
m y problem of procrastinating thinking about my procrastination problem. So Pressfield, that devil, asked me to write this foreword against a deadline, k nowing that no matter how m uch I stalled, eventually I'd have to knuckle down and do
the work. At the last possible hour I did, and as I leafed
t hrough Book One, "Defining the Enemy," I saw myself
s taring back guilty-eyed from every page. But then Book
T wo gave me a battle plan; Book Three, a vision of victory; a nd as I closed The War of Art, I felt a surge of positive calm. I n ow know I can win this war. And if I can, so can you.
T o b e g i n B o o k O n e , P r e s s f i e l d labels the e n e m y o f c reativity Resistance, his all-encompassing term for what
F reud called the Death Wish—that destructive force inside h uman nature that rises whenever we consider a t o u g h ,
l ong-term course of action that might do for us or others
s omething that's actually good. He then presents a rogue's
g allery of the many manifestations of Resistance. You will
r ecognize each and every one, for this force lives within us
a l l — s e l f - s a b o t a g e , s e l f - d e c e p t i o n , s e l f - c o r r u p t i o n . We w riters know it as "block," a paralysis whose symptoms can
b ring on appalling behavior.
S ome years ago I was as blocked as a Calcutta sewer, so
w hat did I do? I decided to try on all my clothes. To show just h ow anal I can get, I put on every shirt, pair of pants, sweater, j acket, and sock, sorting them into piles: spring, summer, fall, w inter, Salvation Army. Then I tried them on all over again, t his time parsing them into spring casual, spring formal,
s ummer c a s u a l . . . Two days of this and I thought I was going m ad. Want to know how to cure writer's block? It's not a trip t o your psychiatrist. For as Pressfield wisely points out,
s eeking " s u p p o r t " is Resistance at its most seductive. N o , the cure is found in Book Two: "Turning Pro."
S teven Pressfield is the very definition of a pro. I know
t his b e c a u s e I can't count the times I called the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance to invite him for a round...