I read this book over and over again as necessary. It is the kick in the ass every artist needs, sometimes daily. Because we all face the same enemy, fight the same battle every day: Resistance. According to Pressman, this is the whole story. Every day you either win or lose your battle with resistance. All the rest is talk. Why you lost it doesn’t matter. Maybe your mother didn’t love you enough. Maybe you don’t believe in yourself enough. Maybe you think you’re not as talented as you wish you were. Well, so what? No one’s mother loved them enough, all of us suffer from self-doubt (If you don’t, you’re a sociopath and I don’t want to know you), and even Shakespeare wrote about “Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope.” If Shakespeare sometimes thought he wasn’t good enough, I think that lets the rest of us off the hook. The only answer is to get up every day and do your work to the best of your ability. That’s all anyone does.
“Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it by our very fear of it.”
I just watched a snippet of a video interview with the painter Chuck Close who said you don’t need most of what you learn in grad school ever again. You need only three things: to know where to find the information you need, to develop good work habits, and to acquire the thickest skin possible and be able to listen to and ignore the most painful criticism imaginable. You have to be able to defend your own position and criticize others as harshly as they criticize you. And then just go ahead and do your own work. Great book. I recommend this more than any other book I’ve ever read