the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area

mostly the day to day of a professional actor in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also the home of the Counting Actors Project

Monday, July 4, 2011

The War of Art

Happy 4th!

I've just read this highly inspiring book by Steven Pressman.  He's a screenwriter and novelist and translator of classics.

It's got 3 sections: 1) Resistance Defining the Enemy, 2) Combating Resistance Turning Pro and 3) Beyond Resistance Higher Realm

It's got a lot of short sections, so it would make a great public transit read.

Here's a few places where I bent the corner down because I wanted to remember the quote.

  • 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.
  •  The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.
  • If you didn't love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn't feel anything.  The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.
  • The Principle of Priority: a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and b) you must do what's important first.
  • The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not.  He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation. 
  • The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work.
  • The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear and then he can do his work.  The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist. He's still terrified but forces himself forward in spite of his terror.  He knows that once he gets out into the action, his fear will recede and he'll be okay.
  • The professional cannot allow the actions of others to define his reality.  Tomorrow morning, the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page.  Nothing matters but that he keep working.
  • Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
  • Let's ask ourselves like a new mother: what do I feel growing inside me? Let me bring that forth, if I can, for its own sake and not for what it can do for me or how it can advance my standing.
Inspiring, yes?  

I'd love some recommendations for more inspiring reading...

P.S. also thank you thank you thank you to those who have retweeted, liked, commented Bay Area Actor in the past week in other platforms.  I've seen some big bumps in eyes on posts this week, and it's been really thrilling to hear that what I'm writing is interesting, effective, and above all, helpful to others out there.  Melissa, Marisela, Mike D, the folks at Shotgun, Cindy, Elena, Colin, Lily, Lesley, Lisa, and anyone whose name is currently slipping my mind.  Thank you!

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