The War of Art

Recently I achieved a new status as an Austinite by finally going in to get a library card. I had a long list of books that I'd wanted to read for forever, so this was finally a good excuse to get it done. One of the first books I read was "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. If you haven't heard of it, please go to your nearest library or bookstore and pick it up NOW. I can't recommend this book enough people. It's not simply for artists, writers, and filmmakers. This book is truly for anyone who has ever had dreams or aspirations that they've never accomplished or have constantly put to the side because of this thing Mr. Pressfield likes to call "resistance". You see, resistance is a force that keeps us from doing the things that we want to do. It's a lot like writer's block, but it can really be summed up to a simple, internal struggle that prevents us from accomplishing our dreams. These dreams can be anything from artistic, to entrepreneurial, to even something as common as losing weight. Resistance loves to tell you you're not good enough to accomplish your goals and will do anything to procrastinate your efforts toward them. For me as a filmmaker, my resistance comes in the form of lack of self-discipline (I can't bring myself to sit down and do the work I know I need to do to become a better filmmaker), and in lack of self-confidence (I doubt my skills as a filmmaker, so I'm afraid of putting myself out there and failing).

Pressfield himself is a spiritualistic person, and even goes so far as to imply that resistance is of a spiritual nature. This point grabbed my attention. The concept that maybe resistance is not even simply my lack of self-discipline, but an actual outside force that is trying to keep me from using the skills and talents that God has given me. Satan loves to do whatever he can to prevent the kingdom of God from growing. What if part of that included keeping believers from using their God given talents for his glory? What if that lie from Satan that my work isn't good enough, kept me from making films that point people to Jesus and proclaim his gospel to people around the world? It seems that resistance isn't just a theory then. It's an actual, spiritual battle.

In his last page, his last push of encouragement to the artist, he reminds us of this:

"You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got.”

And so that is what I'm trying to do right now. It's hard, and I'm still sucking at it, but I'm trying to pursue the gifts that God has given me. If he shuts that door and leads me to a different career, then so be it. But until that door is shut, locked, and dead bolted, I'm going to work at this because it would be a waste not to.

David and I recently had a conversation about our personal dreams, and our dreams for our future together. I felt kind of pathetic sharing with him because I ultimately didn't have any unique, personal dreams. My only dreams were to have kids, adopt, and eventually own a home. Nothing that out of the ordinary. I didn't have any idea what I wanted to do with my career, if I should continue to pursue film, or if there was even a point to having a career if we were going to have kids in a few years anyway. My sweet husband was so empathetic hearing me tell him all of this, he even started to tear up hearing me tell him how I had felt like a failure for not knowing what to do with my life. He told me he thought I was an amazing filmmaker, that he wasn't just saying it because he was my husband, but that he felt like I needed to pursue my passion for storytelling (which, truth be told, after so many months of unemployment and doing nothing, doesn't really feel like a passion at the moment). But hearing him say that and encourage me, after such a long battle of trying to find a job and not knowing what to do with my life, meant the world to me and really made me feel like it was the thing I needed to be doing.

So I'm going for it. Starting with these small goals:

1. Create a reel of my work (I have one done, I'm kind of just sitting on it now, wondering if it's finished and waiting to hit "export").

2. Learn Adobe Premiere and After Effects. Even though I'm a Final Cut snob, I'm tired of finding jobs I can't apply for because they require knowing Premiere over Final Cut (stupid as that might be).

3. Work on my resume. I want my resume to be a little more graphically appealing. It's not a priority, but something that I want to put the effort into at some point.

4. Write more. I used to write here all the time. Heck, I loved writing so much that I was accepted to UT's journalism program before immediately switching to RTF!

5. Get out of the house. I'm tired of letting unemployment kick my butt. It's taking a physical and emotional toll on me, and I can't live like this. If I can't find a job, I can at least find a purpose to get myself out the door each day.

That's it. Just a few small goals. I'm not going to let resistance win without a fight, because even though I know my goals are small and limited, God's plans are so much bigger if we're up for it.