Maiju’s Teacup 1.10.2018 – The Best Book I Ever Read

So. That statement in the heading is pretty wild. But everything in life is subjective to time and situation. Everything is relative. And the book was very relative to the moment of time and the situation in which I read it.

Last year my writer friend Amber recommended me Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. I low-key looked for it when I happened into bookshops, but it was never to be found. Finally I took it upon me to get it online. Even then it took me a while to get reading.

When I finally did, it was at the most opportune moment of all. I was already well on my way into resisting the Resistance which is what Pressfield calls the force that stands between creator and creating. I had finished my manuscript in the Spring and was workig on the edits daily.

I wish I had read the book a year or two earlier, but I don’t think it would have had the same effect on me as it did this summer.

It named my enemy. That’s the thing, isn’t it. In many fantasy books, the hero isn’t allowed to know her enemy’s name, because it would give her too much power. And names have power. I think the authors of those novels have been able to name their own enemy. Because in the end, it’s most often Fear. For both the hero and the writer.

You can fear both success and failure. Most often at the same time. The everyday work of a writer shows that each chapter, each paragraph, each sentence can contain both success and failure. A story is something you have to chip away at with the patience of a saint. Or a writer. It is there somewhere. There’s a bit of it next to that awful sentence structure. Another piece is hiding under that clumsy word. It is all there, you just doubt and fear that it’s not. Believe me. Just do. For no other reason than that I tell you to.

Oh, how reluctant we are to learn of other people’s mistakes! Or even our own.

Pressfield’s book also gave me the weapons how to beat this fear, this Resistance. I absolutely love the idea of being both the employer and the employee. I have had Monday meetings with myself ever since I read the chapter where Pressfield mentions them. And I’ve never been much of an organised, list-making sort of person. Until I began to edit in earnest, that is, when it proved to be the best tact.

The first two parts of the book worked for me. The third part was only interesting, because it shows how Pressfield himself experiences his work and himself as a writer. It was more about why he writes and how he sees himself now that he’s beaten the Resistance. It’s written in the same authorative instructive voice of the first two parts. I found that a bit much, but luckily I’m a writer so I don’t believe everything I read.

war-of-artI finished my penultimate edit the week before last. I’m now waiting for the comments of a few betareaders. I have a busy week in my day job now and next week I’m at school, but after that I’ll go back to that story.

But in the meanwhile I’m using the resources of preptober and all of the writerly social media to plot and plan my next novel. I might even try to write the first draft in November for NaNoWriMo.

So this is going to be a writing filled month. I just had my Monday meeting in which Boss-me was very pleased about it and Writer-me was excited for the new project.


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